by Marie Benedict
Sourcebooks Landmark, 2018. 281 pgs. Historical Fiction
Andrew Carnegie, at the age of 33, seemed to take his life in a drastically different direction as he began to use his vast wealth in philanthropic ways. Much speculation has been spent on trying to find out why this change occurred and some historians think it likely that a personal relationship brought on the about face. In Carnegie’s Maid, author Marie Benedict imagines such a relationship.
Clara Kelly, a desperate Irish immigrant, takes the chance of a lifetime working as the wealthy Carnegie matriarch’s personal maid. She meets and slowly grows to admire her mistress’s oldest son Andrew and is both hopeful and afraid that her affection will be returned.
This is a wonderful work of historical fiction. The early years of industrial America provide a wonderful background of change and opportunity that fits perfectly with both Andrew and Clara’s efforts to secure the futures of their families.