Book Review: Carnegie’s Maid by Marie Benedict

Posted on

Book Review: 4 out of 5 stars to Carnegie’s Maid, a historical fiction novel set to be published in January 2018 by Marie Benedict.

carnie.jpg

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 Estate, even though it’s a different family. Wanted to immerse myself in the culture before the trip.

Plot, Characters & Setting 
Andrew Carnegie, a leading member of one of America’s tycoon families, has settled in Pittsburgh with his mother and brother. A woman who leaves Ireland to help earn money to send her family back home, learns that the lady’s maid hired for Mrs. Carnegie has died during the Atlantic voyage. She takes her place and becomes Clara Kelly, despite not having all the knowledge a lady’s maid should have. She learns quickly, befriends some of the other staff, even fights with a few. Over time, she convinces everyone she is a good maid, but there is much more to her than they realize; she’s got strong business acumen and become a confidante of sorts to Mrs. Carnegie’s son, Andrew. Their relationship grows and begins to cause a few folks to question what is going on in the Carnegie household. This is a story about the relationship between the Carnegie family and their staff, love between two unexpected souls and the vicious rules of society.

Approach & Style 
I read the Kindle version on my iPad over 3 days. It is about 250 pages with short chapters, told from the perspective of Mrs. Carnegie’s maid during the 1860s in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, America.

Strengths 
The story is simple and complex, quite beautifully told from the maid’s perspective. Only she’s so much more than a maid, and you can hear every bit of pain and love in her voice. Benedict does a fantastic job at transporting us to the setting of the story, which makes it a strong connection. It’s a slow-build to see and feel the love, but quite believable.

I learned a bit about how Carnegie grew to fame and fortune. The book has made me curious to know how much of this story is true, hence why I am on the lookout for a biography on him and the family. A good author makes that happen… thanks, Ms. Benedict!

We only see a glimpse (less than ten years) of the life between these characters, then it jumps to when they are much older. I loved seeing a future glance rather than everything that happened over the years after Andrew and Clara met. Usually I don’t like missing details, but in this story, it worked quite well.

Concerns 
The writing is a little clunky at times; sometimes it’s as it should be, given the story takes place 150 years ago. But on a few occasions, I thought simpler phrases or imagery would have helped with the complexity in the differences between the time period and today.

Author & Other Similar Books 
This is the author’s second book, as she has a debut titled ‘The Other Einstein.’ I don’t know a lot about it, but I am curious to check out the description to see if it’s something I’d want to read.

I read a bunch of historical fiction and have encountered books like this before; however, seeing it about a famous American family, and learning of a potential ‘hidden’ relationship, was different and exciting.

Final Thoughts 
Good read. Quick. Informative. I liked the style. Characters well-drawn. Matches the style of the time period. Overall, better than average.

About Me 
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My debut novel, Watching Glass Shatter, can be purchased on Amazon @ http://mybook.to/WGS. I write A LOT. I read A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll also find TV & Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I’ve visited all over the world. And you can find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Vote in the poll and ratings. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Advertisements

31 thoughts on “Book Review: Carnegie’s Maid by Marie Benedict

    R A I N said:
    October 16, 2017 at 10:57 AM

    Ooooh! I saw this book on Netgalley too! And now I am regretting deciding against requesting it. 😂😂 Guess I should’ve. Your review made me curious and now I gotta read it. 😁😁

    Liked by 1 person

    […] Book Bucket List:  ‘Carnegie’s Maid’ by Marie Benedict. You can see the review here. In it’s place, I’ve added Didi Oviatt’s ‘Search for Maylee’ to […]

    Liked by 1 person

    Jenn @ Bound to Writing said:
    October 16, 2017 at 1:54 PM

    I love historical fiction books! Will definitely be looking into this one. Thanks for your in-depth review!

    Liked by 1 person

      James J. Cudney IV responded:
      October 16, 2017 at 1:54 PM

      You are welcome. I believe it’s still available on NetGalley. If you have an account there, you might be able to request it for free.

      Like

    Aislynn d'Merricksson said:
    October 16, 2017 at 2:28 PM

    Reblogged this on The Biblioanthropologist.

    Liked by 1 person

    Aislynn d'Merricksson said:
    October 16, 2017 at 2:30 PM

    I loved The Other Einstein! Enough to check this book out despite a lack of interest in the Carnegies.

    Liked by 1 person

      James J. Cudney IV responded:
      October 16, 2017 at 2:46 PM

      The maid’s character is very modern, but also old-fashioned. I liked her a lot.

      Like

    Book Club Mom said:
    October 16, 2017 at 3:53 PM

    I also love historical fiction. I’m currently reading all about Bunny Melon and the Melon family. It’s very interesting to see how these families became rich and powerful.

    Liked by 1 person

    Carrie said:
    October 16, 2017 at 5:34 PM

    Nice review! I saw this one on Netgalley and debated on it but in the spirit of trying to behave I didn’t click but it sounds like I might have liked this one.

    Liked by 1 person

      James J. Cudney IV responded:
      October 16, 2017 at 5:37 PM

      It was a good / quick read, but I think to enjoy it, you’d have to like 1860s American, the concept of rich estate guy dating poor servant and a bit of a fictional love affair. If those work, it’s a good read!

      Liked by 1 person

    AJ said:
    October 16, 2017 at 7:36 PM

    Thank you! I love learning about families and this book sounds amazing! I’ll be on the lookout for it for sure:)

    Liked by 1 person

      James J. Cudney IV responded:
      October 16, 2017 at 7:41 PM

      Might be on NetGalley still.

      Liked by 1 person

        AJ said:
        October 16, 2017 at 10:19 PM

        Oh I’ve never heard of that website- but I’ll go look:)

        Liked by 1 person

        James J. Cudney IV responded:
        October 16, 2017 at 10:19 PM

        Oh you’re gonna love it!

        Liked by 1 person

        AJ said:
        October 16, 2017 at 10:20 PM

        Oh no, perhaps danger signals should be going off, lol

        Liked by 1 person

        James J. Cudney IV responded:
        October 16, 2017 at 10:21 PM

        A few should be if your books TBR is already too high

        Liked by 1 person

        AJ said:
        October 16, 2017 at 10:54 PM

        It’s always high. I should make it a personal challenge to deplete it one of these days, but just as I read one, I add ten😳

        Liked by 1 person

        James J. Cudney IV responded:
        October 16, 2017 at 10:59 PM

        Book bucket list. That’s how I solved my problem!

        Liked by 1 person

        AJ said:
        October 16, 2017 at 11:02 PM

        Ok please explain what a book bucket list is. I read your latest post which mentioned it, but don’t get it. Is it having others vote to tell you what to read?

        Liked by 1 person

        James J. Cudney IV responded:
        October 17, 2017 at 7:51 AM

        I started with the twelve books I most wanted to read at that time. Each month I must choose 1 from it. I currently take a poll to allow my followers to pick it. Then I add a new book I’m dying to read. Always 12. A year’s worth. So it forces me to whittle the list.

        Liked by 1 person

        AJ said:
        October 17, 2017 at 10:05 AM

        Ok I get that and it does sound like a good idea! I’ll have to try and put a list together:)

        Liked by 1 person

    Cozynookbks said:
    October 17, 2017 at 9:49 AM

    I just received this as an automatic download on Netgalley. Thanks for your detailed review. I feel I can count on your assessment. 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    M. Miles said:
    October 18, 2017 at 10:15 PM

    I’ve read The Other Einstein, and I would give it a vote of confidence! Carnegie’s Maid sounds interesting too. I know virtually nothing about the lives of American tycoons, so I’m sure there would be lots of new ideas for me to mull over.

    Thanks for sharing this book!

    Liked by 1 person

    Rae Longest said:
    October 23, 2017 at 10:00 AM

    This sounds like a fascinating read!

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s