Carnegie's Maid

Carnegie's Maid

From the author of The Other Einstein comes the mesmerizing story of love, power, and the woman who inspired an American dynasty In the industrial 1860s at the dawn of the Carnegie empire, Irish immigrant Clara Kelly finds herself in desperate circumstances. Looking for a way out, she seeks employment as a lady's maid in the home of the prominent businessman Andrew Carnegi...

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Title:Carnegie's Maid
Author:Marie Benedict
Rating:
Edition Language:English

Carnegie's Maid Reviews

  • Elizabeth of Silver's Reviews

    Clara Kelley needed to help her family financially since their 20-acre farm in Ireland was slowly being sold to pay their bills.

    The best place her father thought she could be of help was in America. Since she was educated and not really suited to be a farmer's wife, off to America she went in search of work, but she was not sure why it was to be in servitude.

    Clara made it across the ocean and into the household of the Carnegie family in Pittsburgh. She became the lady's maid for Mrs. Carnegie.

    W

    Clara Kelley needed to help her family financially since their 20-acre farm in Ireland was slowly being sold to pay their bills.

    The best place her father thought she could be of help was in America. Since she was educated and not really suited to be a farmer's wife, off to America she went in search of work, but she was not sure why it was to be in servitude.

    Clara made it across the ocean and into the household of the Carnegie family in Pittsburgh. She became the lady's maid for Mrs. Carnegie.

    While there, Mrs. Carnegie's son, Andrew, became enamored with Clara because of her intelligence and love of reading. They always talked about books and having a library that is free to the public and the working man.

    CARNEGIE'S MAID takes us through the everyday life of Andrew Carnegie, his brother, Tom, and their mother as they build their fortune. Andrew Carnegie was very philanthropic in his latter years.

    This was the first book I have read by Ms. Benedict. Ms. Benedict has a beautiful, pull-you-in writing style. I enjoyed her prologue explaining why she wanted to write about the Carnegies.

    CARNEGIE'S MAID flowed smoothly and had perfect detail. I live in Pittsburgh and enjoyed hearing the names of towns and streets.

    CARNEGIE'S MAID kept me interested and engaged in the story line. It was an excellent read even though the maid Andrew fell in love with and the woman who influenced him is fictitious.

    A thoroughly enjoyable book for historical fiction fans and those who want to learn about Andrew Carnegie. 5/5

    This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher and NetGalley in return for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

  • James

    4 out of 5 stars to

    , a historical fiction novel set to be published in January 2018 by

    .

    I saw this show up on NetGalley and wanted to read something about the Carnegie family. I've been on a hunt to read/learn more about all the "tycoons" of America, curious about all the connections between them. I enjoy both fiction and non-fiction, so I requested this one and was approved. I picked it up last month because of a trip to the Vanderbilt Estate, eve

    4 out of 5 stars to

    , a historical fiction novel set to be published in January 2018 by

    .

    I saw this show up on NetGalley and wanted to read something about the Carnegie family. I've been on a hunt to read/learn more about all the "tycoons" of America, curious about all the connections between them. I enjoy both fiction and non-fiction, so I requested this one and was approved. I picked it up last month because of a trip to the Vanderbilt Estate, even though it's a different family. Wanted to immerse myself in the culture before the trip.

    Andrew Carnegie, a leading member of one of America's tycoon families, has settled in Pittsburgh with his mother and brother. A woman who leaves Ireland to help earn money to send her family back home, learns that the lady's maid hired for Mrs. Carnegie has died during the Atlantic voyage. She takes her place and becomes Clara Kelly, despite not having all the knowledge a lady's maid should have. She learns quickly, befriends some of the other staff, even fights with a few. Over time, she convinces everyone she is a good maid, but there is much more to her than they realize; she's got strong business acumen and become a confidante of sorts to Mrs. Carnegie's son, Andrew. Their relationship grows and begins to cause a few folks to question what is going on in the Carnegie household. This is a story about the relationship between the Carnegie family and their staff, love between two unexpected souls and the vicious rules of society.

    I read the Kindle version on my iPad over 3 days. It is about 250 pages with short chapters, told from the perspective of Mrs. Carnegie's maid during the 1860s in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, America.

    The story is simple and complex, quite beautifully told from the maid's perspective. Only she's so much more than a maid, and you can hear every bit of pain and love in her voice. Benedict does a fantastic job at transporting us to the setting of the story, which makes it a strong connection. It's a slow-build to see and feel the love, but quite believable.

    I learned a bit about how Carnegie grew to fame and fortune. The book has made me curious to know how much of this story is true, hence why I am on the lookout for a biography on him and the family. A good author makes that happen... thanks, Ms. Benedict!

    We only see a glimpse (less than ten years) of the life between these characters, then it jumps to when they are much older. I loved seeing a future glance rather than everything that happened over the years after Andrew and Clara met. Usually I don't like missing details, but in this story, it worked quite well.

    The writing is a little clunky at times; sometimes it's as it should be, given the story takes place 150 years ago. But on a few occasions, I thought simpler phrases or imagery would have helped with the complexity in the differences between the time period and today.

    This is the author's second book, as she has a debut titled 'The Other Einstein.' I don't know a lot about it, but I am curious to check out the description to see if it's something I'd want to read.

    I read a bunch of historical fiction and have encountered books like this before; however, seeing it about a famous American family, and learning of a potential 'hidden' relationship, was different and exciting.

    Good read. Quick. Informative. I liked the style. Characters well-drawn. Matches the style of the time period. Overall, better than average.

    For those new to me or my reviews... here's the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My debut novel, Watching Glass Shatter, can be purchased on Amazon @

    . I write A LOT. I read A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at

    , where you'll also find TV & Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I've visited all over the world. And you can find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Vote in the poll and ratings. Thanks for stopping by.

    : All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

  • Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader & Traveling Sister

    ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

    The Author’s Note at the beginning by Marie Benedict set the stage. In a letter, supposedly steel-hearted Andrew Carnegie professed that he would do more for the immigrants and working class in America. After that time, he founded his famous library, which later led to him being a full-fledged philanthropist. Why was he inspired to change his ways? Marie Benedict has some ideas based on her own family’s experience.

    The writing was smooth, and the pict

    ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️

    The Author’s Note at the beginning by Marie Benedict set the stage. In a letter, supposedly steel-hearted Andrew Carnegie professed that he would do more for the immigrants and working class in America. After that time, he founded his famous library, which later led to him being a full-fledged philanthropist. Why was he inspired to change his ways? Marie Benedict has some ideas based on her own family’s experience.

    The writing was smooth, and the picture painted had me firmly in Pittsburgh during the time period. It reminded me a bit of Downton Abbey with an upstairs/downstairs feel due to the live-in help and the gossip that ensued. The only drawback I found with the book is that I wasn’t sure if I bought into the theory completely (which I don’t want to give away).

    Overall, I found the story to be vivid and detailed. I loved what I learned about Carnegie’s life and time.

    Thank you to Marie Benedict, Sourcebooks Landmark, and Netgalley, for the opportunity to read and review an ARC.

    *Why Steelers’ Stars? Because I married a Pittsburgh Steelers fan and anything Pittsburgh related makes me think of the Steelers, and also because of Carnegie’s relationship to the steel mills and the Steel City.

  • Suzanne Leopold

    Clara Kelley leaves for America seeking employment to help her family in Ireland. She hopes that she will earn enough to keep her family from losing their farm. Her journey by ship was tough and many fell ill and died on the voyage. When she arrives at the dock she hears her name being called by a gentleman seeking a different Clara Kelley. Deciding to take a risk, she follows him to Pittsburgh to take a job as a lady’s maid.

    Clara finds herself working in the home of the Carnegie family. She has

    Clara Kelley leaves for America seeking employment to help her family in Ireland. She hopes that she will earn enough to keep her family from losing their farm. Her journey by ship was tough and many fell ill and died on the voyage. When she arrives at the dock she hears her name being called by a gentleman seeking a different Clara Kelley. Deciding to take a risk, she follows him to Pittsburgh to take a job as a lady’s maid.

    Clara finds herself working in the home of the Carnegie family. She has no training or experience about the responsibilities of a lady’s maid. She learns her role quickly and becomes indispensable to Mrs. Carnegie. She keeps her true identity a secret and one day catches the eye of her employer’s son. He becomes interested in her advice and eventually, a romance starts to form.

    I enjoyed Marie Benedict’s first novel, The Other Einstein, so I could not wait to read this book. This was an engaging historical fiction novel about individuals whose lives are dictated by social classes.

  • Melisa - Traveling Sister

    If ever there was a market for this book, it would be me - a born and raised Pittsburgher who has read nonfiction works about Carnegie's life, is a massive historical fiction fan, has visited the former house museum of his arch enemy, Henry Clay Frick, (twice) because I am so fascinated with the era...I even got married at Carnegie museum. So a fictional account of a love story involving Andrew Carnegie? Sign.me.up.

    However.

    I can't be sure if it's this bias that left me disappointed with this b

    If ever there was a market for this book, it would be me - a born and raised Pittsburgher who has read nonfiction works about Carnegie's life, is a massive historical fiction fan, has visited the former house museum of his arch enemy, Henry Clay Frick, (twice) because I am so fascinated with the era...I even got married at Carnegie museum. So a fictional account of a love story involving Andrew Carnegie? Sign.me.up.

    However.

    I can't be sure if it's this bias that left me disappointed with this book; if my expectations were too high. So please take my review with a grain of salt, and please pick this one up to make your own opinion - you may love it much more than I did.

    This is a fictional account of "what would have happened had Andrew Carnegie's mother had a lady's maid who he fell in love with and changed his view of the world?". An interesting concept for a romantic soul as myself.

    I believe it's strongest point was how this book highlighted the social injustices of the time. It gives factual, historical evidence of how those in the lower classes were treated and forced to suffer during these times, all from the perspective of someone who is experiencing these injustices yet is thrown into the world of luxury and opulence. This juxtaposition of her two worlds lays heavily on her heart and truly demonstrates the difference between the upper and lower classes of the gilded age.

    For a relatively short book, this took me an awful long time to complete. It's slower pace left me feeling a bit underwhelmed and I believe I read two other books from the time I picked this one up because I kept putting it down. As I mentioned before, my expectations may have been too high based on my personal experience. I would recommend this to historical fiction fans.

    Thanks to Netgalley, the author and the publisher for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

  • Marialyce

    Andrew Carnegie, originally an Scottish immigrant grew to be the most powerful and richest man in America. He was assuredly a self made man, one who grew to control the steel industry in America and later became a philanthropist and is given credit for the concept of a free library where all could educate themselves through the reading of books. Having little formal education, he grew up in a family where education through books was valued. Andrew carried this throughout his life and believed th

    Andrew Carnegie, originally an Scottish immigrant grew to be the most powerful and richest man in America. He was assuredly a self made man, one who grew to control the steel industry in America and later became a philanthropist and is given credit for the concept of a free library where all could educate themselves through the reading of books. Having little formal education, he grew up in a family where education through books was valued. Andrew carried this throughout his life and believed that "There is no use whatever trying to help people who do not help themselves. You cannot push anyone up a ladder unless he be willing to climb himself."

    The book

    , is a fictitious account of a maid, Clara Kelly, and Irish immigrant who was supposedly the impetus behind Carnegie's philanthropy and the finding of free lending libraries. Clara assumes the name of another traveler to America who perished on the journey and becomes the personal mail to Mrs Carnegie, Andrew's mother. Clara is a noble soul, happy for the position in the household while worrying about the conditions at home faced by her family. Andrew befriends her seeing a woman who is both brilliant and true, not knowing her secret identity. He and Clara fall in love and of course the social strata between them prohibits this relationship. Mrs Carnegie, forgetting from whence she has come, is full of herself. She looks down upon the help and when she senses something between Andrew and Clara, she takes it upon herself to investigate Clara with dire consequences for Clara.

    Told through Clara's point of view, this story tells us of the struggles of immigrants and the rise of the wealthy class in America. It portrays this society as elitist and at the opposite end shows the struggles of those in both Ireland and America who are dirt poor. Thankfully, Mr Carnegie after amassing his wealth, did whatever his money and fame brought him to help those in need.

    Thank you to NetGalley and Sourcebooks Landmark for an ARC of this novel in exchange for an unbiased review.

  • Liz

    This book starts with an unbelievable premise, on which the whole plot hangs. Clara Kelly assumes the identity of a dead girl with the same name who happened to be traveling on the same boat to America. It gives you a good taste of the trials of the Irish immigrant and is a reminder how American prejudice used to be directly squarely at the Irish Catholics.

    The book reminds me in some ways of Jane Eyre and other books from the period that looked to have love bridge the social gap between rich an

    This book starts with an unbelievable premise, on which the whole plot hangs. Clara Kelly assumes the identity of a dead girl with the same name who happened to be traveling on the same boat to America. It gives you a good taste of the trials of the Irish immigrant and is a reminder how American prejudice used to be directly squarely at the Irish Catholics.

    The book reminds me in some ways of Jane Eyre and other books from the period that looked to have love bridge the social gap between rich and poor. But it’s not giving anything away to say there’s no happy ending here.

    While the story here is interesting, I didn’t find the main character to be compelling or believable. I just didn’t engage fully with Clara. We’re meant to believe that a ladies maid is the impetus behind Carnegie’s funding of the public libraries he founded. We’re also meant to believe that some of Carnegie’s business ideas were actually Clara’s. I found her character to be more device than real.

    Carnegie’s story is interesting, however, especially how he made his money. Benedict doesn’t try to whitewash his tactics, including insider trading. At times, I wished the story were more directly about him. Benedict does her best job at painting Mrs. Carnegie. A true rarity in her day, she was a shrewd businesswoman but socially insecure.

    The parts in enjoyed most are the details about the times and social mores. The necessity of a chatelaine to help ladies prone to fainting because of their tight corsets is an excellent example. And Benedict shines when she contrasts the wealth of the Carnegies and their friends to the lot of the poor in Ireland and Pittsburgh.

    This book will appeal to those who favor historical romance.

    My thanks to netgalley and Landmark Sourcebooks for an advance copy of this novel.

  • Erin

    All I knew about Andrew Carnegie was that he had a hall named after him. This novel does intrigue me to know more about him. I was very lukewarm over the whole stretch of a dalliance with a maid. Having read

    I do like that Marie Benedict enjoys bringing strong minded women to the forefront of her novels. I certainly enjoyed Clara Kelley's determination to support her family in Ireland and in the USA. It was a good fast read, but because it slowed down in the middle I am givin

    All I knew about Andrew Carnegie was that he had a hall named after him. This novel does intrigue me to know more about him. I was very lukewarm over the whole stretch of a dalliance with a maid. Having read

    I do like that Marie Benedict enjoys bringing strong minded women to the forefront of her novels. I certainly enjoyed Clara Kelley's determination to support her family in Ireland and in the USA. It was a good fast read, but because it slowed down in the middle I am giving it a 3 star.

  • Magdalena aka A Bookaholic Swede

    I was thrilled when I got the chance to read this book long before it was released. I mean as I write this review is it more than half a year left before the book is released. But, I just had to read it!

    So, by the two stars rating have you probably figured that I did not truly love this book. Now, before I start to explain what worked and what did not work for me will I just tell you that I'm sure many will love this book. It's not badly written or anything. It's just that I'm pretty picky when

    I was thrilled when I got the chance to read this book long before it was released. I mean as I write this review is it more than half a year left before the book is released. But, I just had to read it!

    So, by the two stars rating have you probably figured that I did not truly love this book. Now, before I start to explain what worked and what did not work for me will I just tell you that I'm sure many will love this book. It's not badly written or anything. It's just that I'm pretty picky when it comes to romance, and that what in the end made this book fail for me.

    Now, the book had potentials. The beginning was intriguing and I was eager to see how the story would develop. Now, I did know that this was a romance story. The blurb clearly stated it, but, despite not being a fan of romance books, do like to read romance in a historical setting. Clara is imagined characters, but that I didn't mind that even though I prefer reading historical romance stories between real-life characters. I did enjoy reading and learning more about Andrew Carnegie. Such a fascinating man. And, here is the problem, I would have loved the story to have been more about Andrew Carnegie's life and career and less about Clara, her tribulations and the romance between them. It just didn't work for me, I felt no sparks between them. To put it bluntly, Clara was not an interesting character and that made the romance pretty uninteresting.

    And, the ending. I can't give it away of course. But, it felt very unbelievable. The beginning of the book clearly shows how it all would end. But, for my life can't I fathom that ending. It just doesn't make sense for me. Love always finds a way, and that ending was such a letdown to a story that already felt like a letdown.

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