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Carnegie’s Maid

Carnegie's Maid Book Cover Carnegie's Maid
Marie Benedict
Historical Fiction
Sourcebooks Landmark
January 16, 2018
Advanced Reader Copy
Publisher via BookExpo

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.

My review:

This was such a joy to read! Despite the slightly improbable way that the protagonist Clara comes to her job at the Carnegie estate, I was completely sucked into the story and put it out of my mind as the story progressed. I loved the character of Clara. She was feisty, even at the expense of her livelyhood, scared at her growing fondness for Andrew Carnegie which could put her out of a job, and never forgot her roots. These roots, and her disclosures about growing up poor and without the use of libraries and music, were written into the novel as the impetus for Andrew Carnegie's philanthropic projects the rest of his life. I loved the descriptions of the social events and the estate, and there were several notable secondary characters to add interest and impact to the novel. The writing was the perfect blend of just enough information to add impact to the story, but not enough to be extraneous.

A highly engaging story about a figure in history who changed the world for the better, and the fictionalized woman who may have been the inspiration for that change.

On a side note, I read this novel the weekend that I traveled to New York City to see my oldest daughter perform at none other than Carnegie Hall! This definitely added another fun dimension to my reading and enjoyment of this great book! We took a picture in front of the building to commemorate the occasion.


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