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Carnegie's Maid

3.82  ·  Rating details ·  27,395 ratings  ·  3,023 reviews
A mesmerizing story of love, power, and the woman who inspired an American dynasty.

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 employ
Hardcover, 283 pages
Published January 16th 2018 by Sourcebooks Landmark
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Belleofbooks Absolutely none. In fact, the book portrays the proprietary rules of the day quite convincingly in my opinion. I think it would make an excellent book…moreAbsolutely none. In fact, the book portrays the proprietary rules of the day quite convincingly in my opinion. I think it would make an excellent book club choice. (less)
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Average rating 3.82  · 
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 ·  27,395 ratings  ·  3,023 reviews

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May 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
4 out of 5 stars to Carnegie's Maid, a historical fiction novel set to be published in January 2018 by Marie Benedict.

Why This Book
I saw this show up on NetGalley and wanted to read something about the Carnegie family. I've been on a hunt to read/learn more about all the "tycoons" of America, curious about all the connections between them. I enjoy both fiction and non-fiction, so I requested this one and was approved. I picked it up last month because of a trip to the Vanderbilt Est
Dec 11, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: netgalley
This book starts with an unbelievable premise, on which the whole plot hangs. Clara Kelly assumes the identity of a dead girl with the same name who happened to be traveling on the same boat to America. It gives you a good taste of the trials of the Irish immigrant and is a reminder how American prejudice used to be directly squarely at the Irish Catholics.

The book reminds me in some ways of Jane Eyre and other books from the period that looked to have love bridge the social gap between rich an
Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader
4 Steelers’ Stars to Carnegie’s Maid ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️

The Author’s Note at the beginning by Marie Benedict set the stage. In a letter, supposedly steel-hearted Andrew Carnegie professed that he would do more for the immigrants and working class in America. After that time, he founded his famous library, which later led to him being a full-fledged philanthropist. Why was he inspired to change his ways? Marie Benedict has some ideas based on her own family’s experience.

The writing was smooth, and the
If ever there was a market for this book, it would be me - a born and raised Pittsburgher who has read nonfiction works about Carnegie's life, is a massive historical fiction fan, has visited the former house museum of his arch enemy, Henry Clay Frick, (twice) because I am so fascinated with the era...I even got married at Carnegie museum. So a fictional account of a love story involving Andrew Carnegie?


I can't be sure if it's this bias that left me disappointed with this b
Always Pouting
Aug 20, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Just found out the author also wrote The Other Einstein and I have to say i enjoyed this one much more. The book follows Clara Kelly as she becomes a lady maid to Andrew Carnegie's mother and eventually develops a relationship with Andrew. I really liked Clara and was really rooting for her through out. I actually kind of wish the book had been longer and we had spent more time building up to the end. I don't know if it was that the end just felt kind of abrupt. The book does follow Clara as she ...more
Elizabeth of Silver's Reviews

Clara Kelley needed to help her family financially since their 20-acre farm in Ireland was slowly being sold to pay their bills.

The best place her father thought she could be of help was in America. Since she was educated and not really suited to be a farmer's wife, off to America she went in search of work, but she was not sure why it was to be in servitude.

Clara made it across the ocean and into the household of the Carnegie family in Pittsburgh. She became the lady's maid for Mrs. Carnegie.

Suzanne Leopold (Suzy Approved Book Reviews)
Clara Kelley leaves for America seeking employment to help her family in Ireland. She hopes that she will earn enough to keep her family from losing their farm. Her journey by ship was tough and many fell ill and died on the voyage. When she arrives at the dock she hears her name being called by a gentleman seeking a different Clara Kelley. Deciding to take a risk, she follows him to Pittsburgh to take a job as a lady’s maid.

Clara finds herself working in the home of the Carnegie family. She has
Jul 09, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: library-borrowed
All I knew about Andrew Carnegie was that he had a hall named after him. This novel does intrigue me to know more about him. I was very lukewarm over the whole stretch of a dalliance with a maid. Having read The Other Einstein I do like that Marie Benedict enjoys bringing strong minded women to the forefront of her novels. I certainly enjoyed Clara Kelley's determination to support her family in Ireland and in the USA. It was a good fast read, but because it slowed down in the middle I am givin ...more
Oct 16, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: net-galley
Andrew Carnegie, originally an Scottish immigrant grew to be the most powerful and richest man in America. He was assuredly a self made man, one who grew to control the steel industry in America and later became a philanthropist and is given credit for the concept of a free library where all could educate themselves through the reading of books. Having little formal education, he grew up in a family where education through books was valued. Andrew carried this throughout his life and believed th ...more
Magdalena aka A Bookaholic Swede
I was thrilled when I got the chance to read this book long before it was released. I mean as I write this review is it more than half a year left before the book is released. But, I just had to read it!

So, by the two stars rating have you probably figured that I did not truly love this book. Now, before I start to explain what worked and what did not work for me will I just tell you that I'm sure many will love this book. It's not badly written or anything. It's just that I'm pretty picky when
Katie B
3.5 stars

I don't normally read much historical fiction that takes place prior to the 1900s but I knew a little bit about Andrew Carnegie from watching history programs with my husband, so I thought I'd give this one a chance. I wouldn't say this is a must-read but I found it to be charming in its own little unique way.

I think it's important to note the author chose to base this novel on why Andrew Carnegie ended up donating so much of his fortune. This historical fiction novel is comprised much
With this book, I have now read all of the books written by Marie Benedict. I have enjoyed each one. I have been impressed with her skills as an historical novelist. Many years ago, I took a summer course at the University of California on how to do research, both on site and off, for writing historical fiction. The course was taught by Irving and Jean Stone. I was amazed at the amount of work and detailed investigation that goes into writing historical fiction. In those days Irving Stone was th ...more
Aug 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Wow... This was a great read for me. :))) I really want to talk about this book's ending and if I talk about it I would give spoilers so I won't say anything about that. :)) I would recommend to everyone who likes historical fiction. And this book was the first book that goes on my favorites list that published this year or will be published. Don't miss it. It isn't published yet but will be published on 01 Jan 2018.

The story happens in the 1860s (fixed :). This story begins with giving us the l
Jan 28, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wonderful storyline ! !

Thanks to Netgalley and respective publishers for providing copy for me.

Comprehensive, exceptionally written book.
I've not read any good Historical fiction after prolong time period.

A novel, merely described about life of Immigrants especially about leading characters and how they flew with their masters.
I like whole description of each and every character as well as flow of story.
So many wishes for the Author.
Jan 27, 2019 rated it it was ok
A bit of mistaken identity, a bit of deception, and a newly arrived Irish immigrant is placed as lady’s maid to Mrs. Carnegie. Without any training or experience in wealthy homes, she immediately intuits all the knowledge she needs to win over the difficult Mrs. Carnegie and win the heart of Andrew Carnegie. Not only does she instantly master the expectations and needed skills of a lady’s maid, but she also solves business problems and recommends new business ventures for Andrew. I realize that ...more
Stephanie Anze
Mar 23, 2018 rated it liked it
Clara Kelley was onboard a ship from Ireland to America. As many families in Ireland, Clara's family was struggling to support themselves so Clara was chosen to travel and work overseas. Upon arrival, Clara hears her name being called at the port. Realizing that this other miss Clara Kelley died onboard, she takes a chance and takes her place. Clara is told that she is to be a lady's maid, a position that she has no prior knowledge of. She winds up in the household of Andrew Carnegie, being the ...more
2.5 stars

Hailing from Pittsburgh's East End, I was eager to read this book — overeager, after having loved the author's previous historical novel, The Other Einstein.

The central theme is the same (the man's legacy is due to the woman), but the basis of the plot differs: the other stems from debate; this one is invented.

I would not have minded, if it were realistic, but it isn't. At the 78% mark, I was done suspending disbelief.

It took me several sittings just to get that far. After a strong star
Linda Hart
Feb 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This well-done historical fiction is the story of the early years of Andrew Carnegie's life, the building of his empire, and an interesting glimpse into the glaring inequities of life between the lives wealthy and the poverty stricken during the gilded age. The story is told from the perspective of his mother's fictitious lady's maid. By the time Carnegie was 35 he had decided to give away all of his money and one of his most enduring gifts to the U.S. was the building and furnishing of over 2,5 ...more
Apr 05, 2018 rated it liked it
3-1/2 Stars

Will the real Clara Kelly please stand up?

I’m finding that I am enjoying historical fiction more and more as of late. I am always curious as to which aspects of the book are true. Which is funny because I was never interested in history during school!

Carnegie’s Maid is a fictional love story that was fun to read. I never knew much about Andrew Carnegie before reading this but after reading it I looked up a few things and he had an interesting life.

I recommend this when you are in th
Karen R
Nov 14, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Clara Kelley, a recent immigrant and newly hired ladies’ maid in the Carnegie household captures Andrew Carnegie’s heart and captured mine almost immediately with her ingenuity and reinvention. The two of them together? Magic and fireworks.

Clara is a wonderful character - smart and industrious. She and Andrew first meet in the family library and based on their love of books, a mutual respect and admiration grows. According to the author, historians had theorized that a personal relationship may
Deanne Patterson
Sep 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Having been born in Pittsburgh, PA I am very familiar with the name Andrew Carnegie. I was pleased as punch to be approved for this book. Very fascinating story of a young girl, one of the many Irish immigrants coming to America to find work after the potato famine. Having a very common name of Clara Kelly she poses as the Clara Kelly who dies on the ship on her way to America. That Clara Kelly was on her way to a well paying position as a ladies maid for Mrs. Carnegie, Andrew Carnegie's mother. ...more
Karren  Sandercock
During the Irish potato famine, Clara Kelley immigrates to America, she's hoping to find her distant cousin Patrick and a job. Her family is struggling, she's the obvious one to emigrate to America being the smartest in her family and they desperately need her to send money home. Clara endures the long voyage to America on the Envoy, in steerage and it's a nightmare.
When she arrives, she is mistaken for another woman, they have the exact same name but they come from very different social backgro
Oct 04, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: arc-netgalley
I received this from in exchange for a review.

1860's, Clara Kelley immigrates to America to work and help support her desperately poor family back in Ireland. She is employed as a lady's maid in the home of the prominent businessman Andrew Carnegie. As a relationship develops between Clara and Andrew, the glaring differences between their two classes eventually spur Andrew to become the philanthropic figure that we know.

As in "The Other Einstein", the author writes about a very str
Sep 08, 2018 rated it liked it
A book of Historical fiction and legacy of the Carnegie family.

Clara Kelly is the main character here, sent by her parents to the U.S. for job opportunities. The problem is, she is not skilled in any way other than a low level servant, a scullery maid. There is confusion with her name on disembarking; it appears there was another Clara Kelly on board the ship. A Clara Kelly of a higher society scale, who died. Our Clara chooses to take over this other Clara’s identity - (what does she have to l
Connie G
Oct 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
Andrew Carnegie was a shrewd, ruthless businessman who made his fortune in steel and related industries. He was also a wonderful philanthropist who is especially known for the many libraries and cultural institutions he built, as well as educational resources for immigrants and the poor. In Marie Benedict's novel, she imagines the lives of Andrew Carnegie, his mother, and his brother as seen through the eyes of a fictional Irish immigrant who serves as a lady's maid.

Clara Kelley is a young Irish
Sandra Bunino
Jun 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2017
Downton Abbey meets History Channel's The Men Who Built America!

I picked up the ARC at BookExpo and I'm so glad I did! Carnegie's Maid is a fictional tale based on the rise of the Carnegies during the industrial revolution. Benedict's forward explains how she pondered the reasoning behind iron magnate Andrew Carnegie's philanthropic endeavors. Perhaps, his passion was spurred by someone who saw life in America in a different light. Benedict used inspiration from her own family tree to develop th
Pam Jenoff
Nov 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Benedict has become a strong new voice in historical fiction and I love her latest. It's a story of a poor young immigrant who has traveled to Pittsburgh with nothing and impersonates an experienced maid at the Carnegie mansion. Her situation is further complicated when she faces an undeniable attraction between her and Andrew Carnegie. Original and fascinating! ...more
Jul 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
"Carnegie’s Maid”, set in the late 1860’s, takes us into the home of one of the richest men in the world and one of the greatest philanthropists of all time – Andrew Carnegie. The story is revealed through the first person account of Clara Kelley, an Irish immigrant who becomes the “lady’s maid” to Mrs. Carnegie, Andrew’s mother. Clara, strong and determined, has come to America on the chance of finding a job that will allow her to send much needed funds back to her family in Ireland. Clara lear ...more
Susan Johnson
Dec 19, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: net-galley
I was excited to read this book as I think Andrew Carnegie is one of the most influential Americans ever. The Carnegie libraries are so important to the growth of our country. We had a Carnegie Library in our little town of 5000 and I spent a lot of time in it growing up. One of the most important events in my life took place there. I was in junior high and had just graduated to the adult floor. I had just selected "Desiree", the story of Napoleon's first love who goes on to marry the King of S ...more
MaryannC. Book Freak
This was a tale focusing quite a bit on class distinction in the 1860's that involves a young woman immigrating to America. Clara Kelley arrives in Pittsburgh in hopes of securing employment that will help her impoverished family back home in Ireland. After assuming the identity of another young woman who died at sea on her way to America she finds work as a lady's maid in the prestigious Carnegie family, a family that has made their own mark in society rising up from abject poverty to becoming ...more
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Marie Benedict is a lawyer with more than ten years' experience as a commercial litigator at two of the country's premier law firms. While practicing as a NYC lawyer, Marie dreamed of a fantastical job unearthing the hidden historical stories of women -- and finally found it when she tried her hand at writing. She embarked on a new, thematically connected series of historical fiction excavating th ...more

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44 likes · 19 comments
“I have searched for you for well over a year. I have hired detectives and bounty hunters and I have employed my own security men as well. They have looked in Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, New York, Boston and pretty much everywhere in between. Even the staunchest of private detectives found not a trace of you after you left the bank in Pittsburgh. It was as if you never existed. But you did exist, Clara. You stamped your mark upon me, and I will stamp your mark upon the world to prove your existence and remind myself to stay your course. As you would have desired, any fortune I amass will be dedicated for the betterment of mankind, particularly the education and improvement of the poorer and immigrant classes by the establishment of free libraries.” 3 likes
“Andra, you know what they say. Any fool can earn money, but it takes a wise man to keep it.” 2 likes
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