Genre: Historical Fiction
Setting: 1863-1867 Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
***I received an eARC copy of Carnegie’s Maid from the publisher, Sourcebooks Landmark, via NetGalley***
*** this post contains affiliate links ***
Review: Fast moving and informative historical fiction with a likable heroine. I really enjoyed this! Carnegie’s Maid takes us back in time to 1860s Pittsburgh, and is told from the point of view of Clara, a lady’s maid who works for Mrs Carnegie, Andrew Carnegie’s mother.
Clara was a compelling main character. She’s an Irish immigrant, and the story of immigrants settling in Pittsburgh was not one that I had read before, so I found her story fascinating. Clara is a fictional character, but the way the author, Marie Benedict, has integrated her into the Carnegie’s story was well done.
I found the character of Mrs. Carnegie fascinating, with her tough determination, and wished that we had a bit more of her story. I would’ve loved to have more insight into her thoughts.
One thing I thoroughly enjoyed was the setting of 1860s Pittsburgh. Since much takes place during the Civil War, I found the Pittsburgh setting a bit of a different story in regards to the Civil War. The majority of books I’ve read that take place during the Civil War have been set in the south, so this read brought a different take to what was going on in other parts of the country during that time period.
What I also found fascinating was the Carnegie’s story. How Mrs. Carnegie brought her family over from Scotland, and how she was so determined to be successful in America, and instilled that determination in her son, Andrew. Their story is truly remarkable and fascinating.
Carnegie’s Maid would make an excellent book club read, as it brings a slightly different take on the immigrant story, and also brings into the picture the Carnegie’s story, and the rise of business in America. Discussion points could be the different business practices that the Carnegie’s were involved in, and whether certain business decisions were right or wrong.
I definitely recommend Carnegie’s Maid to those who enjoy historical fiction and those who would like to read about Andrew Carnegie and his rise to success. I wished for a tad more closure at the end of the novel, but that is just a minor quibble I have.
Bottom Line: Fast paced and fascinating historical fiction.