Wednesday, June 23, 2021

"Carnegie's Maid" by Marie Benedict

"There is no coffee on the tray, Miss Kelley," Mrs. Carnegie said in a tone I knew to be condemnatory.

"I am sorry, Mrs. Carnegie. I thought the ladies wanted tea," I answered, blushing at the thought of Mr. Carnegie witnessing this chastisement.

"Mrs. Vandevort is a coffee drinker. You should know that," she said.

"My apologies. I will return to the kitchen straightaway."

From Carnegie's Maid by Marie Benedict

* * *

A few months ago, I enjoyed reading The Mystery of Mrs. Christie by Marie Benedict, a book inspired by the intriguing real-life incident in which Agatha Christie disappeared for eleven days. So when the book group I'm in decided to read another Marie Benedict book of historical fiction, I was all in. This one was Carnegie's Maid, and while the young Irish woman in the story is a creation of the author, Andrew Carnegie was indeed the famous industrialist and philanthropist. He is often remembered for the many libraries he funded, including a beautiful one right here in Newnan.

Last year, Marie Benedict was scheduled to visit the Newnan Carnegie Library to discuss Carnegie's Maid, but alas, that was one of many events that got canceled in the early days of COVID-19. I do hope she'll be booked here again one day, as I'm definitely a fan of her writing.

In this book, a young Irish woman aims to help her struggling farm family during the time of the potato famine. She comes to America in search of work so that she can make money to send back home, and while her name is Clara Kelley, she gets mistaken for another Clara Kelley who was supposed to serve as a lady's maid to Andrew Carnegie's widowed mother. If you're like me, I have a real fondness for the lady's maid position thanks to all that Downton Abbey viewing, and it's fun to see this immensely likable imposter trying to live up to her new role.

I would have loved this book even without all the tea scenes, but the ones like the bit quoted above made this tale extra delightful to read. If you love history, tea, and strong women characters—and isn't that all of us?—do check out this book, literally and figuratively!


  1. This sounds like an interesting book, and I know the tea references make it even more enjoyable for you. I hope the author will be able to visit Newnan before long.

  2. How serendipitous Angela! I just started reading ‘The Mystery of Mrs. Christie’ yesterday. I wondered about getting ‘Carnegie’s Maid’ too. Since I have never read any of her books I thought I would wait. I will have to order now, and use my Amazon digital dollars! Thank you!

  3. I did read "Carnegie's Maid" last year and enjoyed it very much. Have you read any of the "Lady and Lady's Maid" series of cozy mysteries by Alyssa Maxwell? I like those a lot, too. They are set in the period immediately following World War I. Book 6, called "A Sinister Service," involves designing a china service. It came out earlier this year, and I'm looking forward to reading it.

    1. Never heard of those, so they’re going on my list! Thanks, Vernona!

  4. You know just when to share a new book, I’ve just finished reading one. Thanks for sharing.


Thanks so much for taking time to leave a comment! It makes my day to hear from readers!