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Carnegie's Maid: A Novel by Marie…
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Carnegie's Maid: A Novel

by Marie Benedict

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Showing 1-5 of 23 (next | show all)
This is the 2nd book I have read by Marie Benedict(disclaimer, her sister is my next door neighbor). Both this novel and "The Other Einstein" deal with strong women dealing with the problems of being a woman in a man's world in the late 19th century. I found the depiction of life in Pittsburgh in 1863-68 very interesting and educational. Benedict does a good job of showing how difficult the world was for immigrants and the large gap between the rich and the poor. Although the story of Clara Kellely an Irish immigrant who assumes the role of a lady's maid to Margaret Carnegie(Andrews mother) through a case of mistaken identity was a leap of faith to accept, the overall depiction of life in that time seemed accurate and kept my interest. The story is fictional but it does give us insight into what may have driven Andrew Carnegie to become one of the greatest philanthropists in our countries history. This was an uplifting story and a good way to to explore history. ( )
  nivramkoorb | Aug 10, 2018 |
Arriving in a Civil War-torn United States, hoping to find a job to send money back to her needy family in Ireland, Clara Kelley is startled to hear her name being hailed when she steps off the boat in Philadelphia. Almost immediately, she is whisked off in a carriage, bound for Pittsburgh, where she has been placed as a lady's maid to a society matron, Margaret Carnegie. Clara puzzles out that the young lady who died during the crossing from Europe must have had the same name as herself and, although she knows nothing of the duties and responsibilities of being a lady's maid, she pretends and enters the family household. She proves to be a quick study -- in more ways than one, learning a great deal about the Carnegie family businesses and finding an intellectual resonance with the elder Carnegie brother, Andrew, that deepens into something more. But Clara is always uneasy, fearful of being found out, jeopardizing her family, and torn by her feelings for Andrew. -- An OK historical novel. I found the depiction of family life on both sides of the 'money divide' in the early years of the Gilded Age enlightening, and the author's fleshing out of the impetus for the change in young Andrew Carnegie from ambitious money- and status-hungry capitalist to altruistic philanthropist (a change that has apparently puzzled a number of Carnegie biographers) both intriguing and plausible. The bursting of the bubble comes abruptly (as it probably would have done), but the Epilogue seems tacked on, either too short or too contrived. ( )
  David_of_PA | Jul 14, 2018 |
I really enjoyed this one! Despite it betting a little less historical and a little more fiction since the main character, Clara Kelley, was entirely fabricated, the story line was enjoyable and the themes led me to think.

With Clara pretending to be someone else to acquire the position of lady’s maid within the Carnegie household we see how tough immigrant life was in America in the 1800’s to the societal class divide. I really felt for Clara throughout the book and I was surprise but happy with the ending.

This was a great blend of a fictional character with historic surrounds that left me a bit more knowledge of the time period and appreciation of the hard decisions people have to make. And of course, I am always reminded of how thankful I live in the time I do with the opportunities available to me. ( )
  mindyvail | Jul 7, 2018 |
A good read. Not the typical historical fiction I have read in the past. The maid, Clara, is the personal maid to the mother of Andrew Carnegie. She is the fiction. Andrew is the historical part. The book tells of his rise through the eyes of Clara, who falls in love with him. Andrew, likewise, loves her and because of her intelligence and sensibility, he changes from a man determined to reach the highest rungs of society, to a man who realized the importance of raising up those who have less then he attained. Carnegie was born poor and became a self-made man who himself needed a helping hand. Clara didn't let him forget that and it was she who inspired his philanthropy through the years, especially the free libraries that he established all over the world. In the novel, Andrew's mother casts Clara out of her house and warns her to stay away from Andrew so that's where their story ended. Benedict did a lovely job of flushing out the personalities and it made me wish it were a true story. ( )
  bogopea | Jun 4, 2018 |
Wonderful historical fiction about Andrew Carnegie and his mother's fictional maid. It was a wonderful way to tell the story through the maid's eyes. A great historical fiction book should cause you to want to know more and more about that time period and person, and this novel was successful in that. I recommend the book and will be looking to read other books by this author now. ( )
  sh7980 | Apr 28, 2018 |
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The gentle melody of a Christmas song lifted into the air of his study from the street below.
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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 she 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.--Provided by Publisher.… (more)

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