Carnegie's Maid

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 02 Feb 2018

Member Reviews

If I am not engaged and/or enchanted with a book by page 50 or 10%, I don't finish it. I started this one almost a year ago, thinking I would come back to it, but I haven't.
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Clara had been picked by her parents from her sisters  to go to her parents to get a job and send money home to help the family as she wasn’t cut out to be a farmer’s wife. Clara was educated and loved to read books. After forty two horrible days at sea and passing through Immigration an official welcomed her and her shipmates to America. Clara had no one waiting for her like a lot of people from the ship did. Clara ended up in Philadelphia, PA and she was at the harbor with masses of people  when she heard her name called. But Clara was leery it might be someone out to trick or harm her. She checked out the man then identified herself. Andrew Carnegie lived with his mother and his brother Tom. The original Clara had been hired as a lady’s maid for Mrs. Carnegie but she had died on the passage over to America and Clara had the same name and took the job even though she didn't know how to be a lady’s maid but she was smart and a quick learner and soon knew what was expected of her.  Clara made some friends among the rest of the Carnegie’s staff. Overtime Andrew and Clara became friends Andrew was drawn to the fact to Clara’s love of reading. Then they became close and fell in love.  A few people began to question what was going on between Clara and Andrew. Because of her love of books Andrew and Clara talked a lot about books and having a public library that would be free for anyone to use. Even though Andrew and Clara fell in love society forbids them to be together.
I did enjoy reading this book. I loved Andrew and Clara together and how they interacted even if Clara and Andrew were not allowed by society to be together and forced to part. I loved that Andrew did everything he could possibly do to try to find Clara without any luck. I liked this being told by Clara’s POV. I liked there was a slow build to Andrew;s and Clara’s relationship and then love. I really liked we are shown Andrew and Clara when they are older and what had happened to them. I liked learning about the Carnegies and the time period even though this book was fiction. I did enjoy reading about the immigrants traveling and what they went through once in America. I did like the plot. But this did drag for me at times. I liked the characters and the ins and outs of this book and I recommend it.
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In this fictional story, the author devises a reason for Andrew Carnegie to have bestowed libraries upon the American public. Benedict creates a new arrival to the United States, Clara Kelly, who becomes lady's maid to Andrew Carnegie's mother. Clara and Andrew become friends, maybe more than friends. 

Because Clara has assumed the identity of another woman of the same name, she is terrified she will be found out and lose her position. She is the main source of funds for her family back in Ireland so she can't afford to lose the job. She discusses business with Mr. Carnegie and he begins to rely on her for advice. When his mother thinks they are becoming too close, Clara bolts.

No one really knows why Andrew Carnegie made the decisions he made, but this historical novel makes for an entertaining read and a theory.
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This author writes outstanding historical fiction. I'm talking about this with everyone. I intend to read everything this author writes. Excellent attention to character development.
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I received an advanced copy of this book through NetGalley. This book had me from the very beginning. I love that it kept me engaged the entire time. I couldn't wait to see how it ended. I would highly recommend to all my fellow readers. Thank you for the chance to review this book!
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I was excited to read this book, but I got to say that I was left disappointed. Nothing much happens in the beginning and the middle and just when things start to happen, everything ends. 

I liked that the main character was smart and resourceful and had strong morals, but her romantic interest just wasn't... that interesting to me.

Thanks to NetGalley for giving me an eARC in exchange for an honest review
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Carnegie’s Maid is a story that usually could be categorize as Christian historical romance since the relationship between Clara and Andrew Carnegie is platonic and most of the time they talk about business and shares, not about their feelings. It’s a well written story, but there were some things I just couldn’t get over: Was the story based on just one line from Andrew Carnegie letter? How did Clara’s family not wonder how could she talk with Ms Carnegie if she was just a scullery made, as she said she was? How can a cook go to the library and pick up the masters unfinished letter? 

Well anyway, it was a good and interesting story, just sometimes it did not run very smoothly.
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How did Andrew Carnegie become the philanthropist he's become famous for? Marie Benedict's book offers a possible answer.

While the idea is good, I didn't one hundred percent believe in it.
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I loved this book! Being a Pittsburgh native, Andrew Carnegie was a name that I knew as long as I can remember. This was a great inside (yet fictional) view of Clara Kelley, an Irish immigrant who is mistaken for a girl with the same name, who is hired to be a lady's maid for Mrs. Carnegie, Andrew's mother. She has no background for this kind of work, but learns quickly and over time, develops a quiet relationship with Andrew Carnegie. As she continues to work for the family, she starts learning about business and becomes a confidante to Andrew Carnegie, while the develop feelings for each other as well. 

I loved this inside look into the gilded age and into those in service (think Downton Abbey with an American twist). I liked some of the history of Pittsburgh, my hometown and I can't wait to check out more books by Benedict.

Thanks to Netgalley for an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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I found it slightly hard to get into the book, but that did improve later on. The only thing I know about Carnegies is that there is a Hall named after them and that is about it. While it was interesting reading about them, it wasn't something I was too interested in.
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This book was amazing. I love how Benedict explained her story and made it come to life. I really enjoyed this book. Thank you for the review copy.
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Marie Benedict writes entertaining, but largely unmemorable and uninteresting stories. Having recently finished The Other Einstein by her, I wasn't expecting much from this book and my expectations were fulfilled. This book was fun while I read it, but it was also incredibly predictable and the characters were impossible to connect with - they had almost no personality. The premise is interesting, but not as well executed as I would have hoped. While this was a fun read, I'll probably avoid books from this author in the future - I have little patience for the characters she writes.
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My favorite genre is historical fiction and one that is based on a historical figure goes ot the top of my list. I really enjoyed to dynamics between Andrew , his brother, and his mother. Who knows how much is accurate but the realationship were written like it's true. I had hoped that Clara and Andrew woul reunite but understand that couldn't happen even in a work of fiction.  Great book that I recommended to many.
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​(I received an ARC from the NETGALLEY​)​
(Review Not on Blog)
Listened to on Audio

I loved Benedict's other novel, The Other Einstein, so I was super excited to start this one. I knew who Andrew Carnegie was, but not really anything about him.  He was not someone I would have looked up on my own but I do enjoy learning more about history and it's players.  Like her previous novel, Benedict's narrator is a woman "behind the man".  In this case, we have Carnegie's mother's maid and his love interest, Clara Kelly.  Clara to America from Ireland and lucks into a job as a lady's maid.  The few moments Clara and Andrew find they share love of learning and books and begin to fall in love.  Mrs. Carnegie has big ambition for her son and will do anything to make sure they do not marry.  While I found the story interesting and liked Clara, I found the novel just okay.   It was one of those books where it is easy to put down and you are not racing to get to but do want to finish - if that makes sense.
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I am sorry that I couldn't  complete the book on time and it got expired. I am giving 1 star because of the book description. I liked the synopsis and that is why I asked for the book.
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The Carnegie's Maid starts out with our main character sailing from Ireland to America. She is poor and looking to work in America to help her family out in Ireland so they can keep their farm. A woman dies on the boat and is thrown overboard. Once the boat docks, our main character looks for the people who will pick her up to take her to her job. However, her name keeps getting called by another person. She goes with them and finds out she is mistaken for the other woman who died on board and they happen to have the same first and last name. She finds out that woman is supposed to be a ladies maid and she takes that woman's position. She throws herself into being the best ladies maid as possible and pretends to be someone she is not. Will she get caught? Also, she starts falling for Andrew and helps him with his ideas. This book is not wholly centered by a romance, but a way of life. I really enjoyed it.
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Fantastic book! Even though I knew Andrew Carnegie was pivotal to the beginning of the public library system, I didn't know much about his background or other pursuits. This beautiful work of historical fiction had me engrossed from the first page to the last!
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I originally got an e-arc on Netgalley, but I ended up reading a physical copy from the library.

“As Mrs. Barrett Browning says, ‘The world of books is still the world.”

Going into this book I was a little nervous because of how loved this author is. After reading this one, I totally get the hype and I cannot wait to go back and read her debut book.

Clara Kelly is such a realistic character. She's from a farming family in Ireland who has been hit hard by the potato famine and is now struggling to make ends meet. To try and fix this her parents decided that it would be best for one of their children to go to America and look for work there and then send money home. Clara was the one chosen and was able to get an amazing job by chance.

Clara ends up working for the Carnegie family as a ladies maid to Andrew Carnegie's mother. This is something that she just has to learn and as she goes because of certain things. This part was a lot like other ladies maid stories, things get interesting though when she starts to become friends with Andrew.

This friendship is a little weird I'll admit as he is her boss and things could happen. Clara and Andrew have a friendship based on knowledge and there want to talk to one another about certain topics. Clara also sees it as possibly way for her to learn how to earn more money. I really enjoyed their conversations and how they really were friends despite the social rules that had been put in place to stop them.

We also get to see Clara's cousins and how other immigrants from Ireland lived in America and how hard they had to work for so little.

Overall I really did love this book. Seeing both high and low society at the same time. While also learning more about Mr. Carnegie was really fascinating to me. It was also very eye opening with how certain things have changed in America, yet so much is still the same.

I highly recommend this book, and I know this review doesn't do it justice.
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I remember seeing a tv program a while ago and was fascinated to learn a little about Andrew Carnegie, the titan of business who was one of the first entrepreneurs of the modern age.  His charitable works set him apart from his contemporaries and made him a figure to admire as well as revere.  This novel seeks to explain his apparent change from a driven but insensitive man into a person of great altruism by imaging the relationship between him and his mother's Irish maid.  It's a case of mistaken identity, a love story and a portrait of the times, encompassing Irish history, American industry and even the end of slavery.  It's beautifully written and obviously extremely well-researched.  I look forward to reading all of this author's previous and future work.
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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.


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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