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 Carnegie. Soon, the bond between Clara and her employer deepens into love. But when Clara goes missing, Carnegie's search for her unearths secrets and revelations that lay the foundation for his lasting legacy. With captivating insight and stunning heart, Carnegie's Maid tells the story of one lost woman who may have spurred Andrew Carnegie's transformation from ruthless industrialist into the world's first true philanthropist.

Carnegie's Maid Details

TitleCarnegie's Maid
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseJan 16th, 2018
PublisherSourcebooks Landmark
ISBN-139781492646617
Rating
GenreHistorical, Historical Fiction, Fiction, Adult Fiction

Carnegie's Maid Review

  • James
    January 1, 1970
    4 out of 5 stars to Carnegie's Maid, a historical fiction novel set to be published in January 2018 by Marie Benedict. Why This Book 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 Carnegie's Maid, a historical fiction novel set to be published in January 2018 by Marie Benedict. Why This Book 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. Plot, Characters & Setting 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. Approach & Style 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. Strengths 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. Concerns 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. Author & Other Similar Books 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. Final Thoughts Good read. Quick. Informative. I liked the style. Characters well-drawn. Matches the style of the time period. Overall, better than average. About Me 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 @ http://mybook.to/WGS. 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 https://thisismytruthnow.com, 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. Note: 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.
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  • Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader & Traveling Sister
    January 1, 1970
    4 Steelers’ Stars to Carnegie’s Maid ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ 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 4 Steelers’ Stars to Carnegie’s Maid ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ 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.Carnegie’s Maid was published on January 16, 2018.*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.
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  • Liz
    January 1, 1970
    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.
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  • Melisa - Traveling Sister
    January 1, 1970
    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.
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  • Elizabeth of Silver's Reviews
    January 1, 1970
    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. 5/5This 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.
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  • Suzanne Leopold
    January 1, 1970
    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.
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  • Erin
    January 1, 1970
    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 The Other Einstein 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 The Other Einstein 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.
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  • Marialyce
    January 1, 1970
    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 Carnegie's Maid, 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.
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  • Magdalena aka A Bookaholic Swede
    January 1, 1970
    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. I'm sorry to say, but this book was just not for me... I want to thank Sourcebooks Landmark for providing me with a free copy through NetGalley for an honest review!
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  • Diana
    January 1, 1970
    3-1/2 Stars Will the real Clara Kelly please stand up?I’m finding that I am enjoying historical fiction more and more as of late. I am always curious as to which aspects of the book are true. Which is funny because I was never interested in history during school!Carnegie’s Maid is a fictional love story that was fun to read. I never knew much about Andrew Carnegie before reading this but after reading it I looked up a few things and he had an interesting life. I recommend this when you are in th 3-1/2 Stars Will the real Clara Kelly please stand up?I’m finding that I am enjoying historical fiction more and more as of late. I am always curious as to which aspects of the book are true. Which is funny because I was never interested in history during school!Carnegie’s Maid is a fictional love story that was fun to read. I never knew much about Andrew Carnegie before reading this but after reading it I looked up a few things and he had an interesting life. I recommend this when you are in the mood for a historical love story.
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  • Hirdesh
    January 1, 1970
    Wonderful storyline ! ! Thanks to Netgalley and respective publishers for providing copy for me.Comprehensive, exceptionally written book.Great HISTORICAL FICTION AND ROMANCE.I've not read any good Historical fiction after prolong time period.A novel, merely described about life of Immigrants especially about leading characters and how they flew with their masters.I like whole description of each and every character as well as flow of story.So many wishes for the Author.
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  • Stephanie Anze
    January 1, 1970
    Clara Kelley was onboard a ship from Ireland to America. As many families in Ireland, Clara's family was struggling to support themselves so Clara was chosen to travel and work overseas. Upon arrival, Clara hears her name being called at the port. Realizing that this other miss Clara Kelley died onboard, she takes a chance and takes her place. Clara is told that she is to be a lady's maid, a position that she has no prior knowledge of. She winds up in the household of Andrew Carnegie, being the Clara Kelley was onboard a ship from Ireland to America. As many families in Ireland, Clara's family was struggling to support themselves so Clara was chosen to travel and work overseas. Upon arrival, Clara hears her name being called at the port. Realizing that this other miss Clara Kelley died onboard, she takes a chance and takes her place. Clara is told that she is to be a lady's maid, a position that she has no prior knowledge of. She winds up in the household of Andrew Carnegie, being the lady's maid to his mother. Clara must become indispensable to Mrs. Carnegie as her family is counting on her.Set in Pitttsburgh, Pennsylvania in the 1860's, this narrative was a nice and pleasant read. Clara Kelley hears her name being called out in the port and realizes this could be her opportunity to gain goood employment. Sent over to America with the explicit purpose of earning money and sending it back home, Clara takes a chance by pretending to be someone that she is not. Clara learns on the job how to be a lady's maid, a job more complex than initially expected. As she tends to Mrs. Carnegie, Clara is introduced to Andrew Carnegie. She quickly learns of Mr. Carnegie's business and takes an avid interest in it. Soon both, Andrew and Clara, find themselves drawn to each other but social conventions dictate that they not have a close bond. I have read Benedict's previous work "The Other Einstein" and have to say I enjoyed this book so much more. The tone was light but informative. It was also an easy and quick read. Overall, I enjoyed it.Clara Kelley is the author's invention. In reality, she was a means to give an insight into Andrew Carnegie's life. The name Carnegie is synonymous with steel and iron. An industrialist, businessman and one of the world's first philantropists, Carnegie has a vast and complex history. An immigrant from Scotland, Andrew Carnegie is a "self-made" man. Working his way up from a telegragh messenger to the superintendent of the Western Division of the Pennsylvania Railroad Company to an investor and ultimately owner of several businesses, Carnegie became one of the richest men. I had previous knowledge of his business but had no idea how vast his philanthropy went. Andrew Carnegie has a special place in reader's hearts as it was this man that funded the public library. In total, about 3,000 libraries were built and funded by Andrew Carnegie both in America and abroad. Having had the opportunity to visit Colonel James Anderson's private library as a teen, Carnegie wanted everyone to have this experience. As there is no telling what exactly made Carnegie turn to philanthropy, Benedict created Clara.
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  • Deanne Patterson
    January 1, 1970
    Having been born in Pittsburgh, PA I am very familiar with the name Andrew Carnegie. I was pleased as punch to be approved for this book. Very fascinating story of a young girl, one of the many Irish immigrants coming to America to find work after the potato famine. Having a very common name of Clara Kelly she poses as the Clara Kelly who dies on the ship on her way to America. That Clara Kelly was on her way to a well paying position as a ladies maid for Mrs. Carnegie, Andrew Carnegie's mother. Having been born in Pittsburgh, PA I am very familiar with the name Andrew Carnegie. I was pleased as punch to be approved for this book. Very fascinating story of a young girl, one of the many Irish immigrants coming to America to find work after the potato famine. Having a very common name of Clara Kelly she poses as the Clara Kelly who dies on the ship on her way to America. That Clara Kelly was on her way to a well paying position as a ladies maid for Mrs. Carnegie, Andrew Carnegie's mother. She became that Clara. Times were desperate in Ireland and she does what she must to survive . Mrs. Carnegie may suspect she was not really a ladies maid for the finer homes in Ireland but being a recent immigrant herself she is still feeling her way around proper society. Clara learns her duties as she works and tries not to let on how impressed she is by the opulence in the Carnegie home. Andrew Carnegie catches her reading in the library of his home several times and is impressed with her mind and they read poetry together. He starts to have feelings for her but she can not act on the feeling she may have for him. After all she is his mother's maid, a lowly servant in her own eyes. She can not risk anything happening to her station in life. Her family depends greatly on her sending money back home to Ireland so they can even eat. Her father has lost his job and her sister's take in sewing barely keeping food on the table and now they have lost their farm. A relationship with her employer is just out of the question. None of the other servants besides a Mr. Ford like her in the Carnegie home. Andrew's feeling burn for her for years and he is ready to marry her and tell his mother. But......... Mother spends hours away from home without Clara and she always takes Clara with her when she goes out so Clara can help her. Secrets are uncovered.lies are unearthed and miseries rise to the surface. This I was so sad to see I really wish it could have had a different outcome. I loved reading about all the many Pittsburgh towns and streets that I am familiar with. I do wish more depth was put into the writing about the Carnegie Free library . This was hardly spoken of and it is such an important part of who Carnegie was and what Pittsburgh is. Overall I am so glad to have read this fascinating book.Pub Date 01 Jan 2018 Thank you to NetGally and SOURCEBOOKS Landmark for a eview copy in exchang for my honest opinion.
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  • jendlo
    January 1, 1970
    2.5 starsHailing from Pittsburgh's East End, I was eager to read this book — overeager, after having loved the author's previous historical novel, The Other Einstein.The central theme is the same (the man's legacy is due to the woman), but the basis of the plot differs: the other stems from debate; this one is invented.I would not have minded, if it were realistic, but it isn't. At the 78% mark, I was done suspending disbelief.It took me several sittings just to get that far. After a strong star 2.5 starsHailing from Pittsburgh's East End, I was eager to read this book — overeager, after having loved the author's previous historical novel, The Other Einstein.The central theme is the same (the man's legacy is due to the woman), but the basis of the plot differs: the other stems from debate; this one is invented.I would not have minded, if it were realistic, but it isn't. At the 78% mark, I was done suspending disbelief.It took me several sittings just to get that far. After a strong start, (1) the narrative becomes as monotonous as Clara's job (I laughed when I thought to myself, How many times must I read of her darning?!, and then saw, "Sometimes I felt like needlework was all I did."), and (2) the author doesn't weave the facts into the story but rather tosses them in — often in conversations that one almost needs to chart as Clara does, in order to follow.Perhaps it's my bad for anticipating the author would deliver another story revolving around historical figures, not one in which they serve to frame what's more the story of immigration (and slavery) during the Fenian era (at the end of the American Civil War) using made-up characters.For anyone interested more in Andrew Carnegie than in fictional characters under his mother's employ, there is a host of nonfiction books. Here is my short list (the latter half are personal faves): Carnegie's autobiography Nasaw's biography of Carnegie The Tycoons The World's Richest Neighborhood The Johnstown Flood Fallingwater Rising Thank you to Sourcebooks and Netgalley for the ARC.
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  • Karen
    January 1, 1970
    Clara Kelley, a recent immigrant and newly hired ladies’ maid in the Carnegie household captures Andrew Carnegie’s heart and captured mine almost immediately with her ingenuity and reinvention. The two of them together? Magic and fireworks. Clara is a wonderful character - smart and industrious. She and Andrew first meet in the family library and based on their love of books, a mutual respect and admiration grows. According to the author, historians had theorized that a personal relationship may Clara Kelley, a recent immigrant and newly hired ladies’ maid in the Carnegie household captures Andrew Carnegie’s heart and captured mine almost immediately with her ingenuity and reinvention. The two of them together? Magic and fireworks. Clara is a wonderful character - smart and industrious. She and Andrew first meet in the family library and based on their love of books, a mutual respect and admiration grows. According to the author, historians had theorized that a personal relationship may have changed Carnegie so she took that thought and ran with it, creating the fascinating Clara.Another highlight of the book for me was Clara and her sister Eliza’s series of written letters. Clara’s poor Irish family had only enough money to send one of their children to America to make a new life and Clara is chosen. Through the course of the book, the girls’ back and forth letters are peppered into the story. Beautifully written and tugged at my heart. Clara’s helplessness was palpable.Benedict did much research in creating this book, providing an honest look at the lives of ‘domestics’, the challenges of hardworking immigrants and the clear division of poor vs. wealthy, old money vs new money. The historical details are fascinating and has made me more curious about business magnate and philanthropic Andrew Carnegie’s life, a man who himself was once a poor immigrant who began work at the age of 12 as a bobbin boy in a cotton factory and went on to change the lives of many thousands of people and become arguably the richest man in the world. Thanks to SOURCEBOOKS/Landmark and Netgalley for the ARC in exchange for on honest review.
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  • Nisa
    January 1, 1970
    Wow... This was a great read for me. :))) I really want to talk about this book's ending and if I talk about it I would give spoilers so I won't say anything about that. :)) I would recommend to everyone who likes historical fiction. And this book was the first book that goes on my favorites list that published this year or will be published. Don't miss it. It isn't published yet but will be published on 01 Jan 2018.The story happens in 1860's (fixed :). This story begins with giving us the litt Wow... This was a great read for me. :))) I really want to talk about this book's ending and if I talk about it I would give spoilers so I won't say anything about that. :)) I would recommend to everyone who likes historical fiction. And this book was the first book that goes on my favorites list that published this year or will be published. Don't miss it. It isn't published yet but will be published on 01 Jan 2018.The story happens in 1860's (fixed :). This story begins with giving us the little glimpse of how it will end and just with this first and last time we will see from Andrew's POV how he feel about all the things happened. The way he thinks was enough for me to like him from the beginning. Even though Clara was gone and he didn't have any idea why she left him and why she didn't say anything to him, he seemed to keep his words. This is one of his thoughts make me feel like this. "This is precisely the sort of status-seeking, greedy thinking that Clara would have loathed. He had vowed to her that he would carve out a different path from those materialistic industrialists and society folk, and he would keep that vow, even though she was gone."This was what he think to himself. After this, we go to the beginning of Clara's story and we just read the story from her POV. I would love to read time to time from Andrew's (Mr. Carnegie) POV. Well, it doesn't matter I loved it anyway. Clara leaves her country for America because of family's financial difficulties and her over cleverness for a farm girl so she wasn't suitable for to be farmer wife. After the journey on the ocean, she arrived in America and with luck (this come to me little too much luck to be believable but I think it can happen not impossible) she began working as a Mrs. Carnegie's Maid even though she didn't have any clue how she can be one. Even though she struggles with her duties as a maid she handles it with luck (her Mrs. doesn't have any clue too about how a maid should act :)), with a great effort and cleverness. After a while, she began to talk with Mr. Carnegie (Andrew) and then the story goes on with they began to like each other (even though she doesn't accept he was really direct about it with words). I loved Andrew and Clara as a person and the way they act towards each other. There was a lot of side characters even though they weren't well known for us with the way they act in the story they were real for me. I don't know anything about how was America in 1960's (history not my province) but the story makes me feel like it was real. I loved how she handles with problems by observing everything. She was a lovely character and strong girl who doesn't satisfy with just what she has but always search a way improve herself and saves her family. Even when she was angry towards Andrew she shows empathy towards him and judges herself too. I loved the way Andrew talk with her and care what she feels about anything he does how they improve each other and how easily he accepts her cleverness. In shortly I loved anything about this book, I just wanted it to be longer and to read from Andrew's POV too :))))NetGalley and SOURCEBOOKS Landmark provided me an advance copy of the book in exchange for an unbiased review. Thanks for making this available! :))
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  • Karen
    January 1, 1970
    I received this from netgalley.com in exchange for a review.1860's, Clara Kelley immigrates to America to work and help support her desperately poor family back in Ireland. She is employed as a lady's maid in the home of the prominent businessman Andrew Carnegie. As a relationship develops between Clara and Andrew, the glaring differences between their two classes eventually spur Andrew to become the philanthropic figure that we know.As in "The Other Einstein", the author writes about a very str I received this from netgalley.com in exchange for a review.1860's, Clara Kelley immigrates to America to work and help support her desperately poor family back in Ireland. She is employed as a lady's maid in the home of the prominent businessman Andrew Carnegie. As a relationship develops between Clara and Andrew, the glaring differences between their two classes eventually spur Andrew to become the philanthropic figure that we know.As in "The Other Einstein", the author writes about a very strong female character who rises above adversity. 3☆
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  • Betty
    January 1, 1970
    "Carnegie’s Maid”, set in the late 1860’s, takes us into the home of one of the richest men in the world and one of the greatest philanthropists of all time – Andrew Carnegie. The story is revealed through the first person account of Clara Kelley, an Irish immigrant who becomes the “lady’s maid” to Mrs. Carnegie, Andrew’s mother. Clara, strong and determined, has come to America on the chance of finding a job that will allow her to send much needed funds back to her family in Ireland. Clara lear "Carnegie’s Maid”, set in the late 1860’s, takes us into the home of one of the richest men in the world and one of the greatest philanthropists of all time – Andrew Carnegie. The story is revealed through the first person account of Clara Kelley, an Irish immigrant who becomes the “lady’s maid” to Mrs. Carnegie, Andrew’s mother. Clara, strong and determined, has come to America on the chance of finding a job that will allow her to send much needed funds back to her family in Ireland. Clara learned quickly to adapt to a country and a position that were totally foreign to her. We also see the disparities among the economic classes – the lavishness and extravagance of the wealthy against the suffering of the poor – through Clara’s unique position in both worlds.Ms. Benedict’s writing drew me into Clara’s life and her determination to put her family’s needs over her desires. The writing allowed me to feel her loneliness from being away from her family and her isolation in the Carnegie’s home by the servants. The moments of kindness from her only friend in the house - the cook, Mr. Ford – were touching and showed her depth of compassion for others. Clara’s astuteness is revealed when through observation of Mrs. Carnegie’s stained and chapped hands obtained through decades of hard work, she realizes that Mrs. Carnegie is also trying to fit into a society foreign to her. When Clara visited cousins already living in Pittsburgh, I felt her utter despair and frustration over the poverty they were forced to live in; and I applauded her grit and determination to face social injustices head-on. The role of Clara in Andrew Carnegie’s life is fictional; however it made for a lovely romantic story – the master of the house falling in love with the maid. Clara took an interest in his business dealings, and he listened closely to her ideas and opinions. And in the end, she changed his total view of the world. I was left curious as to what really did change his view. He came to America determined to make his fortunes and did so through the steel industry. Then in the end, he realized that was not what life was about and devoted his life to philanthropy. He established more than 2500 public libraries around the world and made endowments to research in science, education, and world peace, among others. And we can’t forget the fabulous Carnegie Hall. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and was totally engrossed in it. It is educational in its presentation of the social classes at the time. At the end I went back and re-read the Prologue which made Andrew’s change of heart so much more powerful.
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  • Sandra Bunino
    January 1, 1970
    Downton Abbey meets History Channel's The Men Who Built America!I picked up the ARC at BookExpo and I'm so glad I did! Carnegie's Maid is a fictional tale based on the rise of the Carnegies during the industrial revolution. Benedict's forward explains how she pondered the reasoning behind iron magnate Andrew Carnegie's philanthropic endeavors. Perhaps, his passion was spurred by someone who saw life in America in a different light. Benedict used inspiration from her own family tree to develop th Downton Abbey meets History Channel's The Men Who Built America!I picked up the ARC at BookExpo and I'm so glad I did! Carnegie's Maid is a fictional tale based on the rise of the Carnegies during the industrial revolution. Benedict's forward explains how she pondered the reasoning behind iron magnate Andrew Carnegie's philanthropic endeavors. Perhaps, his passion was spurred by someone who saw life in America in a different light. Benedict used inspiration from her own family tree to develop the wonderful character of Clara Kelly. This well-written story will sweep you into the the streets of 1800s Pittsburgh and New York City where you'll visit the lives of both the very wealthy and poor but proud during this rich story. I highly recommend this book!
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  • MaryannC.Book Fiend
    January 1, 1970
    This was a tale focusing quite a bit on class distinction in the 1860's that involves a young woman immigrating to America. Clara Kelley arrives in Pittsburgh in hopes of securing employment that will help her impoverished family back home in Ireland. After assuming the identity of another young woman who died at sea on her way to America she finds work as a lady's maid in the prestigious Carnegie family, a family that has made their own mark in society rising up from abject poverty to becoming This was a tale focusing quite a bit on class distinction in the 1860's that involves a young woman immigrating to America. Clara Kelley arrives in Pittsburgh in hopes of securing employment that will help her impoverished family back home in Ireland. After assuming the identity of another young woman who died at sea on her way to America she finds work as a lady's maid in the prestigious Carnegie family, a family that has made their own mark in society rising up from abject poverty to becoming one of the richest families in their time. Working as the lady's maid to Andrew Carnegie's mother Clara begins to develop a subtle relationship with Andrew but fearing the loss of her job and income she desperately needs for her family she refuses to cross the line between master and servant. This was nicely written and atmospheric of the era when immigrants were trying to escape the poverty of their homelands seeking a better life for themselves and their families.Thank you to author Marie Benedict and NetGalley for providing this in exchange for my review.
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  • Theresa
    January 1, 1970
    Thanks to Netgalley for an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.I like this book and the story of Clara Kelly. It highlighted many issues immigrants faced coming to America during the late 19th century and still face today. I think it highlighted social justice issues of the time, but it had no basis in fact. Yes, Andrew Carnegie was a very rich man who helped build the iron and steel industry from the ground up, but I don't think he was as charitable at the end because of Thanks to Netgalley for an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.I like this book and the story of Clara Kelly. It highlighted many issues immigrants faced coming to America during the late 19th century and still face today. I think it highlighted social justice issues of the time, but it had no basis in fact. Yes, Andrew Carnegie was a very rich man who helped build the iron and steel industry from the ground up, but I don't think he was as charitable at the end because of a lady's maid his mother hired. Besides that, I found this book to be rather charming.I love Pittsburgh and anything about it. If I didn't live in NYC, I would be living in the Steel City. This book kind of just popped out to me when scrolling through to see what advanced copies were available. The cover is beautiful, and who doesn't want an insight into the rich and powerful from 150 years ago?What I loved about this book was the innocence of Clara Kelly. Fresh off the boat from Ireland, Clara finds herself in Philadelphia with only enough money to get her to Pittsburgh, which even today is a hike. When a man asks her if she's Clara Kelly, she can't lie, and ends up on her way to Pittsburgh to be a maid to Mrs. Carnegie. No one is any wiser that this Clara Kelly isn't the Clara Kelly they were expecting. But our Clara Kelly plays her role perfectly. She tries her hardest to make her mistress happy, because she doesn't have a choice. Her family back home is depending on her success.I wasn't expecting a love story in this, and I definitely wasn't expecting Andrew Carnegie to be portrayed as such a lovable character. Business tycoon with a heart and sympathetic to the plight of poor immigrants? Not exactly the image you would get when you think of a man monopolizing an entire industry. But I loved it. He was my favorite character. He treated everyone like an equal, unlike Mrs. Carnegie and others in her circle of Pittsburgh's elite. He even helped one of the servants, Mr. Ford, find his wife and daughter after the end of the Civil War. This book sheds a lot of good light on Andrew Carnegie, whether or not he was this good of a man in real life. I wish I could say I read up on his life, but other than what had been written in my history textbook my knowledge is limited.The other great thing about this book is it took real events in history and put the story around that. The end of the Civil War came, and we learned about the Freedman's Bureau. Lincoln's assassination was addressed, as was his Gettysburg Address. For me, this is an important part of historical fiction. It's not so much about the time period or the historical figures it's centered around, it's how events in history are reacted to by the characters.The book is short and concise, despite taking place over several years. To be honest, I thought I would like this book more, but it didn't leave with that satisfied feeling at the end. I had originally given it four stars, but I just finished it an hour ago and already find myself forgetting details. If you like this book, but didn't love it, try The Hired Girl by Laura Amy Schlitz. I think it is a better portrayal of some of the same social justice issues and, overall, a better story.
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  • Susan Johnson
    January 1, 1970
    I was excited to read this book as I think Andrew Carnegie is one of the most influential Americans ever. The Carnegie libraries are so important to the growth of our country. We had a Carnegie Library in our little town of 5000 and I spent a lot of time in it growing up. One of the most important events in my life took place there. I was in junior high and had just graduated to the adult floor. I had just selected "Desiree", the story of Napoleon's first love who goes on to marry the King of S I was excited to read this book as I think Andrew Carnegie is one of the most influential Americans ever. The Carnegie libraries are so important to the growth of our country. We had a Carnegie Library in our little town of 5000 and I spent a lot of time in it growing up. One of the most important events in my life took place there. I was in junior high and had just graduated to the adult floor. I had just selected "Desiree", the story of Napoleon's first love who goes on to marry the King of Sweden. What could be better than that to a 13 year old? The librarian told me it was too adult for me and called my mother (the miracle of small towns). My mother said, "My daughter can read whatever she wants." I smirked at the librarian and floated home empowered by my mother. I still have a copy of that book on my shelves, not for the literary value but for the lesson it taught me. I digress. This is the story full of improbabilities. An Irish farmer's daughter sails to America so she can support the family at home. She knows no one but takes the place of a girl that died on the voyage as the lady maid for Carnegie's mother. Already hard to believe. Hard to believe that she was so polished that the mother turned to her for advice on European fashion and manners. I would have thought that someone concerned about European customs would chose an English or French maid instead of an Irish one. She develops a quasi-friendship with Carnegie and eventually advises him on business matters. She even develops several business plans and he rewards her with stock in the company. She becomes wealthy although how she helps her family in America and Ireland is left a little vague. It's this relationship that gives Carnegie his moral code that leads to his founding of libraries in her honor. It really was not my cup of tea. I had to leave too much reality behind to buy the story. It's a good book for people who enjoy romance more than I do. Thanks to Net Galley for a copy of this book in exchange for a review.
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  • Dawnie
    January 1, 1970
    This review, as well as many others, can be found on my book blog BooksBeautifyLife A bit over the top historical romance with nice writing, good plot points but sadly lacks something overall to make me love it completely. I think that everyone that enjoys a slower paced historical romance and can overlook the moments that are a bit over the top will defiantly love this book.The writing is good, the characters alright and the plot itself is nicely done. So all in all overall a good book in my op This review, as well as many others, can be found on my book blog BooksBeautifyLife A bit over the top historical romance with nice writing, good plot points but sadly lacks something overall to make me love it completely. I think that everyone that enjoys a slower paced historical romance and can overlook the moments that are a bit over the top will defiantly love this book.The writing is good, the characters alright and the plot itself is nicely done. So all in all overall a good book in my option. For my personal taste there were a handful of things that just didn't quiet fit to make it a great book, but depending on the type of reader you are, this will either be something you can overlock without problems or be something that bothers you to no end (it bothered me)For example there is this little coincidence that on the ship from Ireland to America there is not just one girl named Clara Kelly but two. Isn't that just a perfect coincidence? And why not just take that identity if its so easy to slip into it with the same name and all that? Who cares that a poor irish immigrant without the right education should not actually be able to fulfil the role she takes on without problem? its FICTION! (me... it bothered me!)Its not a huge thing and if you are someone that doesn't mind a bit of a... lets call it stupid start? To a story to get the entire plot moving and rolling and add a bit of a drama into it than you will LOVE this!Personally didn't work that great for me. Especially since those little moments of overdoing it kept piling up throughout the story. Who wouldn't expect Clara to be a business mind? I mean, sure! Who in her situation isn't? And which rich guy does NOT listen to his mothers maid in business ideas??As i said... the actual book itself is good. I just thought the author sometimes got a bit... over enthusiastic with some of her ideas that where rather far fetched. Still there is the perfect audience out there for the book since even for me- and my tastes and over specific ideas of what my perfect historical fiction has to have- this book was fun and a good read. So if you want to give this book a try? Defiantly do!*Thanks to NetGalley, the publishers and the author for providing me with a free e-copy of this book in exchange for a free and honest review!*
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  • Alissa Haley
    January 1, 1970
    I'd like to thank NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with a digital ARC of this book! DNF at 41%. It started out with a really well written Downton Abbey (which I LOVE!!) vibe, but is too slowly paced for me to focus on. Giving it a 3 star rating on NetGalley so as not to lower the books overall rating (as I said it's well written - it's just not for me), but will leave the Goodreads rating blank.
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  • Reeca Elliott
    January 1, 1970
    Set in the late 1800 in Pittsburgh, this book takes you back in time when the rich had maids and servants, when they traveled in private train cars and made an obscene amount of money.Clara is fresh off the boat. She lies her way into a position as Lady’s Maid for Mrs. Carnegie, Andrew Carnegie’s mother. Clara is smart and quick on her feet. She must be to create the life her parents intended. However, she has an attraction to Andrew Carnegie as a mentor. This attraction grows stronger the more Set in the late 1800 in Pittsburgh, this book takes you back in time when the rich had maids and servants, when they traveled in private train cars and made an obscene amount of money.Clara is fresh off the boat. She lies her way into a position as Lady’s Maid for Mrs. Carnegie, Andrew Carnegie’s mother. Clara is smart and quick on her feet. She must be to create the life her parents intended. However, she has an attraction to Andrew Carnegie as a mentor. This attraction grows stronger the more they are together and could possibly bring down Clara’s house of cards.The setting of the book is fabulous. The wealth, the poverty and the struggle to survive life, I felt like I was inside the pages with Clara. I also loved how much I learned reading this tale. I was researching Carnegie, Pittsburgh and NYC. I love historical fiction because I always learn something.I am having trouble with this review. Basically, because I enjoyed the book so much, but there are some problems. I think the author glorified Carnegie a little too much. She created a very sincere and kind man and I am not sure he was as kind as she made him out to be. He did make his fortune on the backs and deaths of many workers. This is briefly touched on but I felt it should be expanded on more. Yes, it is a fiction book and he was a great philanthropist, but he also treated his factory workers poorly.Marie Benedict is an expert on research. Her stories are vivid and memorable. I do love this book, I just felt it could have been more realistic.Check out my post about the author’s other book The Other Einstein.I received this novel from the publisher via Netgalley for a honest review.
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  • Barbara (The Bibliophage)
    January 1, 1970
    As the great-granddaughter of Welsh immigrants to the Pittsburgh area, I enjoyed Carnegie's Maid by Marie Benedict, about a young Irish immigrant working for a highly successful Pittsburgh family of Scottish immigrants. Benedict’s heroine, Clara Kelly, is a strong woman endeavoring to make enough money in America to save her family from the plights of Irish tenant farm life.She lands in Philadelphia, planning to head to family in Pittsburgh and immediately gets caught up in some unexpected untru As the great-granddaughter of Welsh immigrants to the Pittsburgh area, I enjoyed Carnegie's Maid by Marie Benedict, about a young Irish immigrant working for a highly successful Pittsburgh family of Scottish immigrants. Benedict’s heroine, Clara Kelly, is a strong woman endeavoring to make enough money in America to save her family from the plights of Irish tenant farm life.She lands in Philadelphia, planning to head to family in Pittsburgh and immediately gets caught up in some unexpected untruths. However implausible this situation might be, it gets Clara to the Carnegie household as the matriarch’s lady’s maid. Considering her lack of experience in this work, Clara is plucky and resourceful.Benedict follows the historical events of Andrew Carnegie’s career and personal life, detailing his early accomplishments through the eyes of Clara. Clara and Andrew strike up their unlikely friendship, and the story progresses from there.Clara stays in touch with her family through infrequent letters. But those letters and the ensuing dramatic moral dilemmas give Benedict a chance to highlight the perils of the time. It was quite normal to face unrest, poverty, risky jobs, and rich men who controlled other men’s lives. Some families never climbed out of their difficulties, and many descended deeper into despair.And yet, even a recently emigrated family such as the Carnegies tended to forget these realities. Clara tries to keep Andrew aware, even though telling her truths is hard. Benedict imagines that perhaps this is why he began his extensive philanthropy.My Conclusions:In so many ways, Carnegie’s Maid is a typical historical fiction romance. The younger woman and older man meet, no matter unlikely the meeting seems. They have mild to moderate conflict, but over time develop feelings of love and desire. That’s when they start sneaking around to see each other! He teaches her things, and she makes him into a better version of himself. The relationship might work, or it might not. Carnegie’s Maid certainly follows this pattern.I don’t mean to sound overly critical, because I did enjoy Clara’s story. She’s a pleasant heroine who’s easy to admire. The story’s well-paced and not overly long. The audiobook is well-narrated by Alana Kerr Collins. But it didn’t have any characters or plot lines that I found unexpected or groundbreaking. I liked it quite a lot, but I doubt that I’ll rush to read more Marie Benedict.Acknowledgements:Many thanks to NetGalley, Sourcebooks Landmark, and the author for access to the digital ARC in exchange for my honest review.
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  • Zsofi
    January 1, 1970
    Before reading this book, I hardly knew anything about Andrew Carnegie. He was one of the most influential and richest man in American history. This book is about the relationship between him, and his mother’s maid. Clara, an immigrant from Ireland, is much more than she seems. As their relationship develops, we also get a glimpse of the relationship of the family and their servants. The story is told from Clara’s perspective. It was intriguing at first, but I had a hard time finishing this book Before reading this book, I hardly knew anything about Andrew Carnegie. He was one of the most influential and richest man in American history. This book is about the relationship between him, and his mother’s maid. Clara, an immigrant from Ireland, is much more than she seems. As their relationship develops, we also get a glimpse of the relationship of the family and their servants. The story is told from Clara’s perspective. It was intriguing at first, but I had a hard time finishing this book. It story was unrealistic, her thoughts repeated themselves, and also, I didn’t like the conclusion. I would have liked to see some character development, but there wasn’t much. However, I liked the description of social injustices of the time, the difference between rich and poor, and the struggle that the not wealthy had to endure. Three stars.My thanks to Netgalley and Landmark Sourcebooks for an ARC.
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  • Lady Alexandrine
    January 1, 1970
    I loved this book! It was an engaging, fascinating and emotional read! The book follows Miss Clara Kelley from the moment she crosses the Atlantic. She is a poor passenger travelling in the third class. Her Irish family spent all their funds for her passage in hope that she will secure a good position for herself in America and will help support them. They face difficult times because Clara’s father’s past involvement in the Fenian movement led to his persecution and lose of property. Upon her a I loved this book! It was an engaging, fascinating and emotional read! The book follows Miss Clara Kelley from the moment she crosses the Atlantic. She is a poor passenger travelling in the third class. Her Irish family spent all their funds for her passage in hope that she will secure a good position for herself in America and will help support them. They face difficult times because Clara’s father’s past involvement in the Fenian movement led to his persecution and lose of property. Upon her arrival to America Clara has to make a hard choice when unexpected opportunity arises. She can pretend to be somebody else and land a better position than she ever dreamed of – a position of Mrs. Carnegie’s lady’s maid. Could she do it? And for how long could she keep the pretences of being someone she is not? That’s a hard decision to make for an honest Catholic girl, but her family’s well-being is at stake. Her life becomes even more complicated when she develops unexpected feelings towards Mr. Andrew Carnegie - the elder son of Mrs. Carnegie, feelings that he seems to reciprocate. Then her family’s situation back in Ireland becomes dire and she has to choose again between what her heart wants and what the duty to her family dictates. How can she make the right choice? New York in 1867 by John Bachmann - Vincent Virga: Historical Maps and Views New York. Black Dog & Leventhal, 2008At the beginning of the book I was worried that it would be a simple Cinderella kind of story, but it proved to be much more than that. I thought that the first part of the book showed Mr. Carnegie in too much favourable light. But later Clara sees more of him, understands his character better and stops being naïve. She had her Cinderella moment, but it was well thought and I enjoyed how it was written. Clara transforms through the book. She learns a lot about herself and becomes her own person. Without doubt Mr. Carnegie should be admired for his philanthropic activity, for which he is remembered. But at the same time it should be borne in mind that many of his actions were fuelled by greed. The novel shows clearly his ruthless business machinations, that caused unemployment and grief for many people. It also reveals amoral means he used to earn a fortune. Above all he was a man ruled by ambition and greed, so it is even more admirable how he managed to better himself and at the end how his philanthropic actions helped so many people. “Had Andrew forgotten who he was and from where he came? He was an immigrant, no different from the thousands of impoverished immigrants inhabiting this country but for his recent success.”I especially loved how perils of the immigrants’ lives were described. When they arrived to America they faced deceit, starvation, homelessness, unemployment and unfair working conditions. This novel was a fascinating account of the possible immigrants’ fates. Andrew Carnegie circa 1878"... was like the narrative of his life Mr. Carnegie was crafting. I sat back and watched him wield his 'words' like a painter wields his brush, each masterly stroke in the creation of a seamless whole. Except I was not witnessing the creation of an average painting, I realized. I was watching a masterpiece in progress."I received "Carnegie's Maid" from the publisher via NetGalley. I would like to thank the author and the publisher for providing me with the advance reader copy of the book.
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  • Cleo Bannister
    January 1, 1970
    Andrew Carnegie is best known for being one of the richest men in America having made his fortune by leading the expansion of the steel industry, and towards the end of his life he was a leading philanthropist. Marie Benedict’s book has been written as a fictional account of how this man was moved to better the lives of others when his early years had been spent focussed on lining his own pockets. To do so she looked at her own ancestors and imagined a young, bright Irish girl becoming a Lady’s Andrew Carnegie is best known for being one of the richest men in America having made his fortune by leading the expansion of the steel industry, and towards the end of his life he was a leading philanthropist. Marie Benedict’s book has been written as a fictional account of how this man was moved to better the lives of others when his early years had been spent focussed on lining his own pockets. To do so she looked at her own ancestors and imagined a young, bright Irish girl becoming a Lady’s Maid to Margaret Carnegie, Andrew’s mother.We first meet Clara Kelly in December 1868 as her journey across the Atlantic is coming to a close and she’s got to find a way to get to her relatives in Pittsburgh. Clara despite being the second child of her parents has been sent to America to provide a ‘Plan B’ for the family since their leased farm is being carved up following the potato famine and now there are real concerns that the Landlord has it in for Clara’s father.The premise to the book where a farmer’s daughter ends up being a Lady’s Maid is a great vehicle for studying the man at the centre of the book, Andrew Carnegie. It don’t think it’s a spoiler to say that there is a relationship of sorts between Clara and Andrew, after all both were immigrants, Andrew moving the US from Scotland when he was barely in his teens. With the Carnegie family coming recently to wealth the need to never descend into poverty again is one of their key drivers for continued success. I’m pleased to say that the author doesn’t skimp on the less than moral and perhaps legal actions of this great business leader either before his later transformation into someone who champions the education of all.It’s also nice that this book is populated by strong and intelligent women. Margaret Carnegie, whilst maintaining a tight grip on her household is also very much involved in her son’s business and Clara is also keen to learn more about business as the book progresses.This is a heavily fictionalised account and shouldn’t be read as anything other than that but that doesn’t stop it being a fascinating insight into the lives of immigrants to America during and after the American Civil War. The descriptions of life both in Ireland and Pittsburgh make for illuminating reading especially the lives of Clara’s distant relations Patrick and Maeve who bring up an ever growing brood in a small and dirty ramshackle home. Patrick working at the Iron foundry whilst Maeve takes in needlework to be completed by poor light in the evenings. By contrast Clara’s efforts to become indispensable in the Carnegie household may mean long hours brushing hair, cleaning and darning clothes but she lives in luxurious surroundings although I pitied her the lack of friends apart from the former slave Mr Ford within the almost prison-like existence.A fascinating historical tale which is indeed one explanation for Andrew Carnegie’s transformation into one of the best known philanthropists with the book ending with the opening of the free library in Boston built by Andrew Carnegie.
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  • Olga Kowalska (WielkiBuk)
    January 1, 1970
    „Pokojówka miliardera” nie jest ckliwym romansem, ale fascynującą powieścią z wielką historią w tle, o które Marie Benedict zadbała w każdym szczególe. W końcu co jak co, ale potrafi łączyć fakty z fikcją literacką w wyjątkowy sposób. Wzruszająca opowieść o sile motywacji, o prawdziwym amerykańskim śnie, który nie był w tych ciężkich, niepewnych czasach jedynie mrzonką, ale realną alternatywą, gwarantem niewyobrażalnej, stabilnej przyszłości. O poświęceniu, ciężkiej pracy i odpowiedzialności. Al „Pokojówka miliardera” nie jest ckliwym romansem, ale fascynującą powieścią z wielką historią w tle, o które Marie Benedict zadbała w każdym szczególe. W końcu co jak co, ale potrafi łączyć fakty z fikcją literacką w wyjątkowy sposób. Wzruszająca opowieść o sile motywacji, o prawdziwym amerykańskim śnie, który nie był w tych ciężkich, niepewnych czasach jedynie mrzonką, ale realną alternatywą, gwarantem niewyobrażalnej, stabilnej przyszłości. O poświęceniu, ciężkiej pracy i odpowiedzialności. Ale także o kobiecie, która z nadzieją i zaangażowaniem poruszyła niebo i ziemię, by odmienić los swój i swojej rodziny. Pokojówce miliardera.
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