Many stories are told about the powerful men in our history. Men that made scientific discoveries, men that built industries, men that took risk. However, many of these men did not do these things by themselves. They had mothers, wives, mistresses, and love interests, that inspired and supported them. In Marie Benedict's Carnegie's Maid, she tries to address this aspect of a very famous and powerful man; Andrew Carnegie.
Andrew Carnegie was a scottish immigrant that became a steel magnate. He led the expansion of the steel industry and became one of America's richest men. He had a few controversies in his lifetime being involved in big companies that not always had the workers interest at heart. However, he spent the last years of his life as an activist and philanthropist, using his fortune to build public libraries, investing in science and education.
Carnegie's Maid; which is a work of fiction, envisions a story where Carnegie's change of heart is inspired by a love interest. In the story, Clara Kelley, travels from Ireland to Pittsburg to find work. She is then presented with a rare opportunity, a high end maid agency is waiting for a Clara Kelley. This Clara did not make the journey to America safely, thus our Clara takes her place. By these circumstances Clara finds herself the lady's maid of Mrs. Carnegie, Andrew Carnegie's mother. She is a farm girl, who has not been trained to be a lady's maid, but she is smart, educated, and uses her mistresses desire to belong to the high society to her advantage.
Clara and Andrew Carnegie develop a relationship, he becomes a tutor of sorts, educating her in business, she helps him see certain issues in a different way. The nature of their relationship becomes more romantic, but because of Clara's secret, things get complicated.
The style of Marie Banedict's writing is captivating, she does a really good job of transporting you to the 1800's. You see the classicism, you feel for the immigrants making this big journey with no money and nothing to their name. It's a work of fiction that you could believe has a touch of truth to it. This is a story for anyone who enjoys historical fiction. It has a touch of romance, but for the most part it's a lot more about the people behind this powerful man. It portrays his mother as a very strong influence on his life, and it shows a man who was struggling to combine two lives; he understood the immigrant struggle, but he was also a rich business owner on the rise.
I received a copy of this book, from a bookstore owner I assist in reviewing potential books for the store. This book comes out today, get it from your local bookstore, library or order online.