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Monday, January 22, 2018

Review: Carnegie's Maid by Marie Benedict

Title: Carnegie's Maid
Author: Marie Benedict
Format: Ebook
Publisher: Sourcebooks
Publish Date: January 16, 2018
Source: Publisher



What's the Story?:

From Goodreads.com: "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 Two Cents:

"Carnegie's Maid" is the story of the ficitional lady's maid of Mrs. Carnegie, the mother of industrialist and later philanthropist, Andrew Carnegie. I have always been fascinated by Andrew Carnegie. All book lovers have to somewhat love the man that got the public library trend started with his Carnegie libraries that made books accessible to those from all walks of life. This book seeks to show how Carnegie may have gone from a ruthless industrialist who did whatever he had to do in order to succeed to a philanthropist who brought literature and the arts to so many who would have never had the opportunity otherwise.

You first must know that Clara, the maid in the book, is completely fictional. On one hand, this means that the supposition that this is how Andrew Carnegie went from what he was in the beginning of his career to the philanthropist is a creation of the author's mind but oh, how badly did I want to believe that there was some truth to this book. Benedict spins such a good yarn and the relationship between Clara and Andrew seems so realistic that I wanted it to be real.

Clara is a young woman from Ireland who ends up as a lady's maid to Mrs. Carnegie through a case of mistaken identity. Clara is incredibly bright as we see over and over again throughout this book and she realizes what a lucky break she has had by ending up with the opulent Carnegie family so she seeks to make herself indispensable, which changes the course of her life.

I loved Benedict's first release "The Other Einstein" so I was automatically excited to read this book. I am also fascinated by the industrial titans from the late 19th and 20th centuries: the Carnegies, the Vanderbilts, the Fricks - I can't get enough. The History Channel had a great documentary/ drama a few years ago called "The Men Who Built America" and Andrew Carnegie was definitely my favorite. His transition has always fascinated me and I loved how the author brought this transformation to life.  



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