Carnegie’s Maid by Marie Benedict
Publication Date: January 16, 2018
From the author of The Other Einstein, the mesmerizing tale of what kind of woman could have inspired an American dynasty.z
Clara Kelley is not who they think she is. She’s not the experienced Irish maid who was hired to work in one of Pittsburgh’s grandest households. She’s a poor farmer’s daughter with nowhere to go and nothing in her pockets. But the other woman with the same name has vanished, and pretending to be her just might get Clara some money to send back home.
If she can keep up the ruse, that is. Serving as a lady’s maid in the household of Andrew Carnegie requires skills she doesn’t have, answering to an icy mistress who rules her sons and her domain with an iron fist. What Clara does have is a resolve as strong as the steel Pittsburgh is becoming famous for, coupled with an uncanny understanding of business, and Andrew begins to rely on her. But Clara can’t let her guard down, not even when Andrew becomes something more than an employer. Revealing her past might ruin her future—and her family’s.
With captivating insight and heart, Carnegie’s Maid tells the story of one brilliant woman who may have spurred Andrew Carnegie’s transformation from ruthless industrialist into the world’s first true philanthropist.
Praise for Carnegie’s Maid
“[an] excellent historical novel.” –Publishers Weekly
“Feels like Downton Abbey in the United States…Benedict demonstrates the relevance of history to the present day in this impeccably researched novel of the early immigrant experience. Deeply human, and brimming with complex, vulnerable characters, Carnegie’s Maid shows the power of ambition tempered by altruism, and the true realization of the American Dream.” -Erika Robuck, national bestselling author of Hemingway’s Girl
“In Carnegie’s Maid, Marie Benedict skillfully introduces us to Clara, a young woman who immigrates to American in the 1860s and unexpectedly becomes the maid to Andrew Carnegie’s mother. Clara becomes close to Andrew Carnegie and helps to make him America’s first philanthropist. Downton Abbey fans should flock to this charming tale of fateful turns and unexpected romance, and the often unsung role of women in history.” -Pam Jenoff, New York Times bestselling author of The Orphan’s Tale
“With its well-drawn characters, good pacing, and excellent sense of time and place, this volume should charm lovers of historicals, romance, and the Civil War period. Neither saccharine nor overly dramatized, it’s a very satisfying read.” –Library Journal
“…engaging. The chaste romance will draw readers of inspirational fiction, while the novel is constructed to appeal to those seeking a tale with an upstairs-downstairs dynamic and all-but-invisible female characters who are either the impetus for or the actual originators of great men’s great ideas. For Fans of Liz Trenow, Erika Robuck, and Nancy Horan.” -Booklist
“Marie Benedict has penned a sensational novel that turns the conventional Cinderella story into an all-American triumph. Young Clara Kelley steps off the boat from Ireland into Andrew Carnegie’s affluent world, where invention can transform men and women into whatever they dare to dream.” -Sarah McCoy, New York Times and international bestselling author of The Mapmaker’s Children and The Baker’s Daughter
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Rating : 4 out of 5 Stars
The story is told with a quick and vivid narrative style from the perspective of Clara Kelley, an Irish immigrant. The author’s writing really brings her characters to life, and both Clara Kelley and Andrew Carnegie became interesting characters to follow and root for. This book is a work of fiction, Clara never existed but historians have theorized that Andrew Carnegie’s impetus for philanthropy was caused by a personal relationship. The author has created Clara, the woman who becomes a catalyst in the life of the business tycoon. There is a lot to like about this book, as it is a real page tuner.
The portrayal of America during this historical period seemed relevant, in regards to the the cultural and societal restraints placed upon the characters. Clara Kelley is an Irish immigrant sent to America to save her family. Clara is determined to take her destiny in her own hands but her choices are limited, her family’s survival depends upon her, the wages she sends over to Ireland are their lifeline.
After a case of mistaken identity, Clara gets the opportunity to start working as the Lady’s maid of Mrs. Carnegie, Andrew’s mother. The Carnegie family brings the American dream to fruition. They were destitute when they immigrated to America, but thanks to Andrew’s business savvy, drive and ambition, they are on the verge of becoming major players in the industry. Andrew is the definition of a self-made man and has educated himself about the way of the American business world. Education and research are key to his success.
Clara and Andrew are attracted to one another, they are like-minded and they both have a strong sense of duty to their families. But their relationship is considered inappropriate. Their dilemma was heartbreaking, yet I felt that the author did not convey enough emotion in this part of the story.
This kind of story is the reason why I love well-written historical fiction. This book was an absorbing and captivating read. Even if you don’t get all the minute details, you get a general understanding of Carnegie’s character and motivations, and then you can dive into the non-fiction resources with a greater sense of passion.
Thanks for visiting and happy reading!
An advanced copy of this book was generously provided by the publisher, via NetGalley.
About the Author:
Marie Benedict is a lawyer with more than ten years’ experience as a litigator at two of the country’s premier law firms and for Fortune 500 companies. She is a magna cum laude graduate of Boston College, with a focus in history and art history, and a cum laude graduate of the Boston University School of Law. She is also the author of The Other Einstein. She lives in Pittsburgh with her family.