Carnegie’s Maid by Marie Benedict

Carnegie's Maid Carnegie’s Maid. Finished audio 10-20-18, rating 3.5/5, historical fiction, pub. 2018

Unabridged audio read by Alana Kerr Collins. 9 hours.

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.   from Goodreads

This was my book group selection this month and there were quite a few differing opinions, which isn’t the norm.  Often, there’s a clear majority and one or two may not like it.  This time we had a few loves, a few hates, some likes and me, who was on the fence.  It did lead to great discussion about immigrants, women’s place in society, the vast inequality of the haves and the have nots.  Basically, it led to great conversations that tapped into what is going on in this country right now.  Some things have changed, but often not enough.

I loved the look at Pittsburgh and Carnegie in their heyday.  The powerful imagery really took me into the heart of the city.  As for Carnegie, I learned a lot about him and his start.  I’m interested to learn more since this book was just about a specific time in his life.  My biggest problem with the book was that Clara wasn’t based on any truth, story or even rumor.  I wish there had been some glimmer of a possibility that this could have happened, but that being said I enjoyed it, but not without a few issues with Clara.

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