“Carnegie’s Maid” by Marie Benedict.
Published by Source Books Landmark. This book is available in various formats and is available to purchase from Amazon US . I received an eARC via NetGalley of this book. My thoughts expressed are my own and are unbiased.
From the author of The Other Einstein, the mesmerizing tale of what kind of woman could have inspired an American dynasty.
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 he 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..
Clara Kelly steps of the boat Envy, from Ireland and now emigrating to America. A woman of the same name and from the same area of Ireland is also expected, our Clara takes the initiative and travels to Pittsburgh to become a Lady’s maid to Mrs. Carnegie, mother to Andrew a business man who will go on to become the wealthiest man in the world.
While the initial premise of this book sounds great, I did find that the idea of a Irish farmers daughter being able to pull off the skilled role of a lady’s maid somewhat unbelievable, but I actually put that aside and just enjoyed the story, this was quite interesting. Clara spends a lot of time with her employer and builds up a friendship with her son. I found a lot of details on the Carnegie family that I was unaware of in this book. I didn’t know much about the family before I started this story, but by the end I found a huge amount of detail had been added as part of the story. It did spark an interest and I found myself reading further on the internet, so I can also now add that the author has done her research well.
So, as well as the research and information given on the Carnegies, there were also some other nice details for social etiquette and status of the time especially when on a visit to New York. The characters of Clara, Andrew and Mrs. Carnegie have been developed very well. This book has a nice steady pace, and has some inclusion of famous historical events that help keep the feel of the era it is set in.
This is a good read that would appeal to readers of historical fiction, American History with social and economic elements from 1860’s America and Ireland included. I did feel there were some discrepancies with the way Clara could have got this job, but I read this as more of a fiction book than a historically accurate fictionalised one.
About the Author:
Once a New York City lawyer, Marie Benedict had long dreamed about a fantastical job unraveling the larger mysteries of the past as an archaeologist or historian — before she tried her hand at writing. While drafting her first book, she realized that she could excavate the possible truths lurking in history through fiction, and has done so in THE OTHER EINSTEIN, the story of Mileva Maric, Albert Einstein’s first wife and a physicist herself. Writing as Heather Terrell, Marie also authored The Chrysalis, The Map Thief, and Brigid of Kildare. She is a graduate of Boston College and the Boston University School of Law, and lives in Pittsburgh with her family.
- Hardcover: 288 pages
- Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark (January 16, 2018)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 149264661X
- ISBN-13: 978-1492646617
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