Just Read: Review Of Carnegie’s Maid By Marie Benedict (Blog Tour)

Carnegie's Maid Book Review On Novels And Nonfiction

When I got an email requesting my participation in the Blog Tour for Carnegie’s Maid, I knew I wanted to get a chance to read and review the book since it was the second release from The Other Einstein author Marie Benedict. I have to say that Carnegie’s Maid did not disappoint and I actually liked the tone and style of Benedict’s most recent historical fiction novel better than that of The Other Einstein.

The heroine in Carnegie’s Maid – Clara – was a much stronger and more positive female character than downtrodden and psychologically subjugated Mileva, and overall the plot and setting of Carnegie’s Maid felt less morose than in The Other Einstein. I gave both books a 4 star rating but I would call The Other Einstein a 3.8 if I did fractions, and Carnegie’s Maid a 4.1.

The publisher is holding a giveaway through their publicity group for 3 copies of Carnegie’s Maid which will run through January 31st 2018. You can access the giveaway by clicking on the Rafflecopter giveaway button below.

Carnegie's Maid Giveaway

LineCarnegie's Maid Book Review On Novels And NonfictionCarnegie’s Maid

by Marie Benedict

Publication Date: January 16th 2018
Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark
Length in hardcover: 288 pages
Goodreads rating: 3.86


Plot Teaser Image
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.

What I Liked (1)

The historical detail and writing. I have to say I felt that Benedict’s prose seemed improved in Carnegie’s Maid. I found her writing more solid and beautiful than it felt in The Other Einstein, and I really enjoyed reading passages of the book aloud. It was clear that Benedict put a lot of historical research into the book – the details of life in upper class America in the mid 1800s felt rich and carefully explored. I particularly liked the descriptions of the rooms in the Carnegie mansion in Pittsburgh and of the upstairs and downstairs life of the mansion, with details on the tasks assigned to Clara as a lady’s maid and her relationship to her mistress Mrs. Carnegie.

The strong female heroine. This was one of the main differences between The Other Einstein and Carnegie’s Maid, and it’s apparent from the very beginning of the novel. The Carnegie’s Maid heroine Clara demonstrates huge strength and ambition as well as uncommon intelligence. I really appreciated that Benedict portrayed her as an self-sufficient and resourceful women, with others depending on her rather than vice versa. It would have been easy for Clara to turn out as rigid and one-note as a result, but she also demonstrates a lot of emotion and humanity in her interactions with all the secondary characters in the novel and in her worries about her family in Ireland and their plight.

The subplots. There were several subplots that unrolled alongside the main story of Clara’s attempts at gaining footing in her new job with the Carnegie’s, including the story of Clara’s family’s progressive worsening conditions in Ireland, the exploration of the typical American immigrant experience through the extended family that Clara visits in Pittsburgh, and even a small foray into the experience of displaced African American families during the Civil War through the Carnegie’s cook Mr. Ford. It was a relatively brief novel but I felt that at least the first two of these subplots were well developed within the narrative and added to the overall reading experience.

What I Didn't Like Image

Some lack of realism. It’s not uncommon to have to suspend disbelief a bit when reading historical novels. They’re not exactly meant to be 100% accurate and often romanticize aspects of the historical periods they cover, or bend the truth for the sake of a more engaging plot. The latter was definitely the case in Carnegie’s Maid. Without too many spoilers, Clara makes a progression in her work and interests throughout the novel that felt like it skirted what would have been actually possible for a woman of her time with a similar upbringing. There were story lines in the business part of the plot towards the end of the novel that felt improbable at best. I still loved Clara’s character though and was able to shut half an eye to some of the less likely scenarios.

Final Verdict Image

4 Rabbits Rating On Novels And Nonfiction

A beautifully written historical novel with a strong female heroine at its center, which will make for an engaging read for both fans of historical fiction and newcomers to the genre alike.

About The Author ImageMarie Benedict Author Image On Novels And NonfictionMarie Benedict is a lawyer with more than ten years’ experience as a litigator at two of the country’s premier law firms. She is a magna cum laude graduate of Boston College with a focus in History and Art History, and a cum laude graduate of the Boston University School of Law. While practicing as a lawyer, Marie dreamed of a fantastical job unearthing the hidden historical stories of women — and finally found it when she tried her hand at writing. She embarked on a new, narratively connected series of historical novels with The Other Einstein, which tells the tale of Albert Einstein’s first wife, a physicist herself, and the role she might have played in his theories. Her next novel in this series — Carnegie’s Maid — released in January 2018Writing as Heather Terrell, Marie also published the historical novels The ChrysalisThe Map Thief, and Brigid of Kildare.

Line ImageHave you read Carnegie’s Maid? What did you think? Let me know in the comments.

If you’d like to keep up to date with posts on Novels And Nonfiction, make sure to follow me on WordPress, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Pinterest.

You can also read my other recent Just Read reviews, including for Isabel Allende’s new novel In The Midst Of Winter, historical fiction novels The Last Days Of Night by Graham Moore and The Rules Of Magic by Alice Hoffman, contemporary novel The Best Kind Of People by Zoe Whittall, and political memoir What Happened by Hillary Clinton.

Please note this post contains affiliate links from Book Depository. Thank you to Net Galley, SBPublicity and the publisher for providing a copy of this title in exchange for an honest review.

  17 comments for “Just Read: Review Of Carnegie’s Maid By Marie Benedict (Blog Tour)

  1. Susie | Novel Visits
    January 22, 2018 at 2:58 pm

    The Other Einstein was a DNF for me, so I’ve really shied away from Carnegie’s Maid. Still not sure I want to read it, but your review definitely has me more interested.

    Liked by 1 person

    • January 22, 2018 at 3:49 pm

      It’s not the height of literary fiction but if you like historical fiction it’s well done, and it has a very different tone to The Other Einstein.


  2. January 23, 2018 at 2:45 am

    I have not read this one or anything by this author. This one sounds pretty good, maybe I’m just intrigued by the lives of the super rich and what life is like for them.

    Liked by 1 person

    • January 23, 2018 at 5:43 pm

      It definitely made me want to read more about the Carnegie’s. I’ll have to look up a biography or something.


  3. January 23, 2018 at 3:28 pm

    Thanks for sharing this review! I am a fan of *some* historical fiction, but I’m pretty particular; this one is probably not for me, but always great to know about new options for other folks!

    Liked by 1 person

    • January 23, 2018 at 5:41 pm

      Yes, I think it would be a broad crowd pleaser but if you have specific requirements for your historical fiction then it may or may not meet them 🙂


  4. February 3, 2018 at 2:59 am

    I’ve been interested in both of this author’s books but haven’t read either of them yet. I’m glad to hear this one was good 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • February 3, 2018 at 7:03 pm

      I think it’s hard to recommend one over the other because they feel pretty different to me, but this would definitely be the broader crowd pleaser 🙂


  5. February 16, 2018 at 4:46 pm

    This is the first time I have been on your blog. I am very impressed with the layout. it is very eye pleasing. I just finished Carnegie’s Maid for book review as well. I never read The Other Einstein. I love historical fiction with fictional characters. I became interested very recently in American History, and saw the documentary about the American Tycoons. Which Andrew Carnegie was highlighted. So this novel had me intrigued. Yes, it is light reading. But, still enjoyed the book. I sped through in a couple days. I just love a book that makes me more intrigued after reading about the life of Carnegie. I intend to do a bit of research as well. What was wonderful also. PBS had on American Experience, The Gilded Age. Which gave insight of the times. Enjoyed your review, and thanks. I hope to come back again. Just curious did you build your blog? It is gorgeous.

    Liked by 1 person

    • February 16, 2018 at 5:24 pm

      I’ll have to check out the documentaries you mention in your comment Susan. Thanks for the compliments on my blog! I definitely modified the look in multiple stages over the past year and a half I’ve been blogging. First I bought a WordPress theme (Gridiculous Pro) and made my blog banner using a picture I purchased and overlaying my logo. Then I used CSS (and lots of google searching to figure out how) to modify font size, the look of links, borders and things like that within my WordPress theme. After that I worked on creating the look I wanted for the images at the top of my posts (I use Canva for almost all of them with sometimes the addition of Ribbet for book cover collages). The latest modification has been creating images for the headers at the beginning of each section of my post (What I Liked, What I Didn’t Like etc.). I made those in Canva as well and find that it helps the look overall but also works better in a mobile environment, which was a nice extra bonus. I’m really happy with how it looks now so it’s always good to hear the effort I put into it was appreciated 🙂


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