Clara Kelley is not the experienced Irish maid hired to work in one of Pittsburgh’s grandest households. She’s a poor farmer’s daughter with nothing in her pockets. But the other woman with the same name has vanished, so Clara is pretending to be her — if she can keep up the ruse. Carnegie’s Maid tells the story of a brilliant woman who may have spurred Andrew Carnegie toward philanthropy.
Clara Kelley travels in steerage from Ireland to America. When she finally arrives, she is surprised to hear a man calling her name. No one could be expecting her. The well-dressed man must be looking for another Clara Kelly; after all, the name is not uncommon. The quick-witted Clara realizes that here is an opportunity and she steps into a life she could never have imagined, in service to the mother of the world’s richest man, Andrew Carnegie. Carnegie’s Maid, by Marie Benedict, offers a little local history, a little library love, a little clean romance, and a little Upstairs Downstairs. What’s not to love? I particularly recommend the audio book, narrated by Alana Kerr, who masterfully reads in Irish, Scottish, English and American accents.