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Clara Kelley is not who they think she is. She’s not the experienced Irish maid who was hired to work in one of Pittsburgh’s grandest households. She’s a poor farmer’s daughter with nowhere to go and nothing in her pockets. But the other woman with the same name has vanished, and pretending to be her just might get Clara some money to send back home.
If she can keep up the ruse, that is. Serving as a lady’s maid in the household of Andrew Carnegie requires skills he doesn’t have, answering to an icy mistress who rules her sons and her domain with an iron fist. What Clara does have is a resolve as strong as the steel Pittsburgh is becoming famous for, coupled with an uncanny understanding of business, and Andrew begins to rely on her. But Clara can’t let her guard down, not even when Andrew becomes something more than an employer. Revealing her past might ruin her future — and her family’s.
With captivating insight and heart, Carnegie’s Maid tells the story of one brilliant woman who may have spurred Andrew Carnegie’s transformation from ruthless industrialist into the world’s first true philanthropist..
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? Sign.me.up.
I can’t be sure if it’s this bias that left me disappointed with this book; if my expectations were too high. So please take my review with a grain of salt, and please pick this one up to make your own opinion – you may love it much more than I did.
This is a fictional account of “what would have happened had Andrew Carnegie’s mother had a lady’s maid who he fell in love with and changed his view of the world?”. An interesting concept for a romantic soul as myself.
I believe it’s strongest point was how this book highlighted the social injustices of the time. It gives factual, historical evidence of how those in the lower classes were treated and forced to suffer during these times, all from the perspective of someone who is experiencing these injustices yet is thrown into the world of luxury and opulence. This juxtaposition of her two worlds lays heavily on her heart and truly demonstrates the difference between the upper and lower classes of the gilded age.
For a relatively short book, this took me an awful long time to complete. It’s slower pace left me feeling a bit underwhelmed and I believe I read two other books from the time I picked this one up because I kept putting it down. As I mentioned before, my expectations may have been too high based on my personal experience. I would recommend this to historical fiction fans.
Thanks to Netgalley, the author and the publisher for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.