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Carnegie's Maid

by Marie Benedict

11 Reviews

Carnegie's Maid
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Overview

Overview

Carnegie's Maid by Marie Benedict

From the author of The Other Einstein, the mesmerizing tale of what kind of woman could have inspired an American dynasty.

Clara Kelley is not who they think she is. She's not the experienced Irish maid who was hired to work in one of Pittsburgh's grandest households. She's a poor farmer's daughter with nowhere to go and nothing in her pockets. But the other woman with the same name has vanished, and pretending to be her just might get Clara some money to send back home.

If she can keep up the ruse, that is. Serving as a lady's maid in the household of Andrew Carnegie requires skills he doesn't have, answering to an icy mistress who rules her sons and her domain with an iron fist. What Clara does have is a resolve as strong as the steel Pittsburgh is becoming famous for, coupled with an uncanny understanding of business, and Andrew begins to rely on her. But Clara can't let her guard down, not even when Andrew becomes something more than an employer. Revealing her past might ruin her future -- and her family's.

With captivating insight and heart, Carnegie's Maid tells the story of one brilliant woman who may have spurred Andrew Carnegie's transformation from ruthless industrialist into the world's first true philanthropist..

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Product Details
ISBN-13:
9781492646617
9781492646617
Publisher:
Sourcebooks
Sourcebooks
Publication date:
01/16/2018
Pages:
288
288
Sales rank:
14,436
Product dimensions:
6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.20(d)
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About the Author

About the Author

Marie Benedict is a lawyer with more than ten years' experience as a litigator at two of the country's premier law firms and for Fortune 500 companies.
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Editorial Reviews

Editorial Reviews

10/09/2017
Andrew Carnegie’s impetus to take up philanthropy is explored in this excellent historical novel. Benedict (The Other Einstein) begins with Carnegie’s letter to himself from December 1868, in which he pledges most of his fortune “for benevolent purposes.” The story then turns to farmer’s daughter Clara Kelley, who travels in steerage from Ireland; upon landing in Philadelphia in 1863, she is mistaken for an identically named fellow passenger who has died during the passage. Desperate to improve her family’s fortune, she assumes the other Clara’s place as a lady’s maid to the formidable Margaret Carnegie, mother to brothers Andrew and Tom. Clara’s education and sharp wit allow her to carry off the deception and, indeed, her intellect brings her to Andrew’s attention. She earns his respect and even affection, but differences in status make any prospect of a relationship unlikely. While there are elements of Cinderella, Benedict doesn’t let herself or her characters stray from historical realities. The true reason for Carnegie’s transformation from industrialist to builder of libraries for all remains a mystery, but Benedict’s imagination supplies a delightful possibility. Agent: Laura Dail, Laura Dail Literary Agency. (Jan.)Correction: An earlier version of this review misspelled the name of the author's agent.

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Customer Reviews (11)
Here we are again, with a book breaking the stereotypes of history ...
Here we are again, with a book breaking the stereotypes of history classes. All throughout high school we are inundated with men: presidents, inventors, business proposals. Reading these historical fiction books however, gives me hope that ideally, women are the backbone of everything these men did. Goading them on in lucrative business proposals, pushing for presidency because they had a good heart, making friends in that inner most circle to gain a vantage point. What if, most (I’m giving men the benefit of the doubt here) men’s brilliant ideas, stemmed from a simple pillow talk with their wife? In a time where women were more for tea parties, and social events, it’s encouraging to think that woman were just as forward thinking as we are today. It angers me to know that in the past people like me, who are openly opinionated, and not full of decorum, would be looked down upon because I couldn’t keep a comment to myself. Granted, that comment would be dripping with cynicism, but that’s who I am. And I know for a fact I wouldn’t last long in that time period. Just like in “The Other Einstein”, it feels that for far too long men have been running with ideas stemmed from women and reaping the benefits. All the while women have been scraping nothing but bottom, trying to carve out a place for themselves. I love hearing untold stories of women, even if they are historical fiction. Again, Marie Benedict knocks it out of the park with “Carnegie’s Maid”. I earnestly hope that he continues her work with untold stories of great women hidden in the monstrous shadows of men.
- Quitterstrip
January 24, 2018
I generously received a digital ARC in exchange for an honest revi ...
I generously received a digital ARC in exchange for an honest review. This is the story about a young Irish immigrant named Clara Kelley who just happened to be in the right place at the right time and finds herself taking on the roll of Lady's Maid to Mrs. Carnegie and finds herself drawn to her son Andrew. Over the course of two years, Clara works hard to ignore her feelings for Andrew as the money from the job is a help to her family in Ireland while also trying to keep it a secret as to where she really came from. Clara learns a lot about herself, some of the business aspects of the Carnegie world in Pennsylvania and that sometimes fate has a different say as to how life can turn out. Full of tidbits of history, a bit of burns and the power of determination, it was a pleasure to read this book. The ending was unexpected and yet made sense considering the historical aspects of the real Andrew. I highly recommend checking this book out!
- Eire2011
January 24, 2018
“Carnegie’s Maid” is an enthralling piece of historical fiction. T ...
“Carnegie’s Maid” is an enthralling piece of historical fiction. The prologue gives us Andrew’s perspective, which sets the tone for a mystery. He speaks about the maid and we know that something has happened to her but not what. We then go back to where it all began with Clara Kelly, Carnegie’s maid. We follow her perspective exclusively throughout the rest of the book in the first person. Although this book is framed around the Carnegies, I really found it to be more poignantly about immigration to the US in the mid-nineteenth century. Clara travels to America from Ireland as her family needs her to be able to make money and send it back to them- they are concerned about losing their tenancy on their farm. After a grueling voyage, Clara arrives in America with a stroke of luck- someone looking for Clara Kelly who wants to take her to Pittsburgh. The name is common, but as she does not have much cash, she takes the other Clara Kelly’s place. This Clara Kelly was destined to be a lady’s maid, a much better prospect than what could have awaited her on her own (with people taking advantage of new immigrants- and even those who “make it” live a tough life as we witness). Clara soon finds herself attending to Mrs. Carnegie, Andrew Carnegie’s mother, who helps him with his burgeoning business. Although the Carnegies were recent Irish immigrants themselves, they have burst their way into the upper class scene in Pittsburgh. We follow Clara as she navigates this new life and although her life is easy/lucky, she witnesses what it is like for other immigrants through the cousins she knows in Pittsburgh (and it’s not pretty). She is lucky to have been educated by her father, but even that education can only go so far in the new America. Additionally, she observes the way the Civil War impacts the classes differently- where the wealthy men can pay new immigrants to take their place on the battlefield. As the synopsis mentions, Clara runs into Andrew on occasion and a romance of sorts takes place. She observes his business dealings and contributes ideas of her own. I found that the romance between them was mild and took a backseat to the more engaging storyline of immigrants in America and the class lines that appeared and were carefully delineated, modeled after those in Europe. America was not so much the land of opportunity it appears, but did have the possibility for social mobility if one was able to make the right connections. We also glimpse into the life of an escaped slave through Mr. Ford, who serves in the Carnegie’s house as well- I wish we could have heard more from him, to help fully capture this time period in America. The book really focuses on the immigrant experience, and I found it really educational and engaging. I do wish there was some historical context at the end about the characters and how like the real people they are/were… I tried doing my own research, but information about less major characters was not easy to locate. This book seems very well researched, and I would be curious to learn more about the reality versus the fiction presented in the novel. Regardless, I found this to be a really fantastic and enthralling read, transporting the reader to mid-nineteenth century Pittsburgh (and New York). I would definitely be curious to read more from this talented author. Please note that I received an ARC from the publisher through netgalley. All opinions are my own.
- onemused
January 1, 2018
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    Carnegie's Maid
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    Pub. Date: 01/16/2018
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