ARC Review: Carnegie’s Maid by Marie Benedict


CarnegiesMaidCoverOfficial Synopsis from Goodreads: From the author of The Other Einstein comes the 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 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.

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.

LINKS ***the Amazon link is an affiliate link which means I receive a small commission if you click the link and make a purchase***

Author Website
My review of The Other Einstein, another Marie Benedict book!


Does this sound like fascinating historical fiction?


12 thoughts on “ARC Review: Carnegie’s Maid by Marie Benedict

  1. I read The Other Einstein and even hosted a little interview with the author on my blog, so I knew she would continue writing stories about women throughout history. Sadly, this one in particular doesn’t call to me. I think I’m tired of reading books set in the US. But I can’t wait to see what she writes next. I’m glad you did enjoy this one 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, I enjoyed this one more than The Other Einstein. I just felt more of a connection to the characters. I get tired of reading books set in the same location & time period too, so I always try to jump around and vary my reading! I’m also excited to see what she comes out with next. Her historical fiction is very readable and makes for good discussion I think.


  2. You made it sound so compelling I have added it to my TBR. And I was surprised to realize my Civil War reading experiences have also been entirely Southern, so I am looking forward to a Northern look at such an important war (in our history, if not the world’s. Though if the US was split would we ever have become the world Power we are now?)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you and yay! I’m glad to hear you added this to your TBR. I think you will enjoy it. Yeah, I thought the different take on a book set during the Civil War was interesting. I also think this was the first book I’ve read that was set in Pittsburgh, so that was also a bit different for me.


  3. It does sound fascinating! I’m not much of an enthusiast for fictionalised biography of such a recent character, but I too realise now you mention it that all the books I’ve read about the Civil War have been set in the South. Tempting…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah! Andrew Carnegie has always interested me, and while I know the author took liberties with his story, it was still an interesting read! I think most of the books published that are set during the Civil War are focused on the South. I don’t think I really realized that until I read this book!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. The interesting thing that you learn about the North at this time is that most of them were just as racist. At lot of the civil war wasn’t really about the moral and ethical treatment of all persons, but labor–and the cost of it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah. I found this story interesting because it kind of focused a bit on “business as usual” during the war (not everyone was on the battlefield), and how Carnegie himself, like other wealthy men, was able to get away with not fighting, and how he tried to figure out how industry was changing and what could be profitable in the future.

      Liked by 1 person

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