FICTION

Carnegie's Maid

Sourcebooks Landmark. Jan. 2018. 288p. ISBN 9781492646617. $25.99; ebk. ISBN 9781492646624. F
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In 1863, Clara Kelley, a farm girl from County Galway, sails to America to procure employment, hoping to send money back to her impoverished family in Ireland. When she answers a call for a girl of the same name who perished aboard ship, Clara quickly assumes the identity of this unfortunate, which leads her to obtaining a better position than she could have hoped: lady's maid to Mrs. Carnegie, mother of the successful, talented businessman Andrew Carnegie. Clara quickly renders herself indispensable to her employer. However, her good sense and intelligence come to the notice of Andrew, and a bond formed over talk of commerce turns to a deeper affection. Unfortunately, Mrs. Carnegie learns of Clara's true origins. Can Andrew's love withstand learning her secret—or should Clara simply leave it all behind? Benedict's (The Other Einstein) second novel captures the rush of industry that accompanied the American Civil War and the men like Andrew Carnegie, who were truly self-made.
VERDICT With its well-drawn characters, good pacing, and excellent sense of time and place, this volume should charm lovers of historicals, romance, and the Civil War period. Neither saccharine nor overly dramatized, it's a very satisfying read.

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