Carnegie's Maid

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 02 Feb 2018

Member Reviews

I originally got an e-arc on Netgalley, but I ended up reading a physical copy from the library.


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

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...

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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...

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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...

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I found this book to be interesting in several aspects. The historical part of how Andrew built his fortune . He put a lot of effort into learning the ins and outs of the business world. Studying and listening to the world around him. Clara is sent over to the US to help her family who are in dire straights in Ireland. They are struggling to keep their land. After stepping off the ship she is mistaken for another Clara who passed away while crossing over on the ship. This mistake in identity is a life changer for her. While working for Andrews mom , they grow close. Andrew is interested in Clara for her knowledge and she for is interested for his business smarts. Andrew helps her...

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Having grown up in Pennsylvania, the name Andrew Carnegie is not an unfamiliar one. Rather, it’s a name that is synonymous with Pittsburgh, steel and also with philanthropy. I remember finding him fascinating and I was quite enthralled to see he would be in this novel. I am also a woman who has ancestors who made the arduous journey from Ireland and very well may have struggled as the immigrants in this particular book did. Mine made their way to New York but I have always found it fascinating. I wish I knew more about them. If memory serves me correctly, one was a tinsmith. I don’t think I had a relative who worked as a maid. (I did learn that I have a great aunt who was an abolitionist...

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Clara Kelly takes the identity of a dead girl with the same name who happened to be traveling on the same boat to America..but why?

I loved this fictional tale of real life people. American tycoons such as the Carnegie family are just fascinating to read about.

I enjoyed the tale from pauper to ladys maid and everything in between, romance and drama, it's a bit like Jane Eyre meets Downton Abbey.  

recommended read for all historical fiction fans
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Though she has written only two novels, Ms. Benedict has become one of my “must read” authors. Having just finished “The Other Einstein” a few weeks ago, I was so pleased to see that NetGalley was offering her newest book as an ARC option. While reading “Carnegie’s Maid” I was once again transported back in time as I followed Clara Kelley and her journey as she arrived in America as a determined Irish immigrant and became part of the Carnegie world as a ladies maid. This novel had me from the Prologue to the Epilogue; in fact it’s one of the few times that I can say a story grabbed me from the “Letter from the Author”. I had a feeling after reading Ms. Benedict’s letter her newest story...

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Overall an enjoyable historical fiction and romance novel.
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Loved this book. I literally couldn’t put it down. I knew how it would end but I was hoping for a different outcome. Great historical fiction what if story.
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I am reviewing this book for Marie Benedict, SOURCEBOOKS Landmark, and NetGalley who gave me a copy of their book for an honest review.
I quickly got into this story about an Irish maid who gets involved with Carnegie. I learned quite a bit about him which I hadn’t known before so that was a bonus.
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While in some ways, this story seems almost fairy-tale like, it was intriguing until the very end. Because real life is never like the stories. Inspired by Benedict's own family history, Benedict is able to bring a genuine quality - a starkness and vividness - of the poverty and perils of the time. These qualities seemed even more lifelike and moving in Carnegie's Maid as Benedict illustrates how Clara got to where she was, and the struggles her family faces.
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I don't read much about US history but this one had such an interesting premise that I couldn't resist.  The author creates a fictional maid, Clara Kelly, who instills in Andrew Carnegie the idea that he should engage in philanthropic endeavors.  It was a really nice concept that this woman he loved was the reason behind Carnegie's generosity.  Clara was an awesome character; she was intelligent and tenacious and I enjoyed seeing her strive to improve her position in life.  Overall, I really enjoyed the story but I so wished it could have ended in a different way.  The ending felt too rushed and while realistic, I just wished it could have been happier.  3 1/2 stars.
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Clara Kelly has come to America in an effort to find work to send to her family in Ireland. She is alone and unsure of her next step when she decides to take on the identity of a passenger aboard her ship who passed away during the crossing. This begins a life of serving the mother of Andrew Carnegie.

As a descendant of Irish immigrants and a lover of historical fiction I really enjoyed this book. Andrew Carnegie has always been fascinating to me and this fictional story about a maid changing his view on the world was intriguing.

While there is a romance in this story I wouldn't classify it as a historical romance and I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys historical fiction.
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I thought this was exceptional. The story sucked me in completely and I read the entire book over the course of a weekend. This is historical fiction, but the premise is speculation as to what caused Andrew Carnegie to write a letter to himself reminding him of the need to give back to the community and not get lost in all of the money. And then set up all of those Carnegie Libraries, many of which still exist (there is one on the Syracuse University campus). The author came up with a scenario whereby Carnegie meets an extraordinary young woman working as his mother's maid. She makes him want to be a better person and then disappears from his life. (The book opens with the fact that...

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The story is well and good, but I have a bone to pick with Clara Kelley. So much double standards and she still went around feeling righteous. It was important that Andrew be a forthright man, but okay for her to lie and hide? And boy, can she make excuses for herself! "What choice did I have?" "What choice did Mrs Carnegie leave me?" She was only confident and upright when it suited her purpose. An extremely unreliable narrator, if there ever was one.
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I enjoyed this story, but I didn't read it with an annoying "could this even be historically plausible?" voice in my head. If you know a lot about the Carnegies and have trouble suspending belief, this may not be the book for you.  If you enjoy a good story, following "Clara Kelley's" journey to the US as she negotiates employment under another woman's name and labors to support her family back home will be worth it.
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"Carnegie's Maid" is a perfectly written work of historical fiction.  It is the story of Andrew Carnegie, an entrepreneur of humble beginnings, who becomes involved with his mother's aide, Clara Kelly. Clara is not the experienced helper she professes to be but someone who has assumed the life of someone else, in a desperate attempt to help her poor family back in Ireland.
Clara has an amazing grasp of business and through her uncanny insight is able to help Carnegie in his endeavors.  It's a fascinating read and a good book club selection.
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I received this book from Netgalley.com in exchange for a review.

I enjoyed this book greatly. I read it in over a day...it was quick and fast paced. I am a sucker for historical fiction especially based on real life people and I find it fascinating to read. While I know the main character is fictional, it was an interesting story based on the time period and historical information.

I actually didn't know much about Andrew Carnegie but liked what I learned about him, his family, and background. There was an underlying love story but it did not over power the rest of the story about a young girl immigrating from Ireland in search of a better life and to send money home to her family...

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A captivating read with great characters, a well-developed story. The story's main focus is on Clara sent from Ireland to America in order to aid her family financially because of the Irish potato famine. She ends up with a job at the Carnegie household as a lady's maid. This book also takes us through the daily lives of Andrew Carnegie, his brother Tom, and their mother as they make their fortune. A relationship between Andrew and Clara develops. 

It was an excellent read even though the maid Andrew fell in love with and the woman who influenced him is fictional.
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