A remarkable novel about J. P. Morgan's personal librarian, Belle da Costa Greene, the Black American woman who was forced to hide her true identity and pass as white in order to leave a lasting legacy...Read More
A remarkable novel about J. P. Morgan's personal librarian, Belle da Costa Greene, the Black American woman who was forced to hide her true identity and pass as white in order to leave a lasting legacy that enriched our nation, from New York Times bestselling author Marie Benedict, and acclaimed author Victoria Christopher Murray.
In her twenties, Belle da Costa Greene is hired by J. P. Morgan to curate a collection of rare manuscripts, books, and artwork for his newly built Pierpont Morgan Library. Belle becomes a fixture in New York City society and one of the most powerful people in the art and book world, known for her impeccable taste and shrewd negotiating for critical works as she helps create a world-class collection.
But Belle has a secret, one she must protect at all costs. She was born not Belle da Costa Greene but Belle Marion Greener. She is the daughter of Richard Greener, the first Black graduate of Harvard and a well-known advocate for equality. Belle's complexion isn't dark because of her alleged Portuguese heritage that lets her pass as white - her complexion is dark because she is African American.
The Personal Librarian tells the story of an extraordinary woman, famous for her intellect, style, and wit, and shares the lengths she must go to--for the protection of her family and her legacy--to preserve her carefully crafted white identity in the racist world in which she lives.
Marie Benedict is a lawyer with more than ten years' experience as a litigator. A graduate of Boston College and the Boston University School of Law, she is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of The Only Woman in the Room, The Mystery of Mrs. Christie, Carnegie's Maid, The Other Einstein, and Lady Clementine. All have been translated into multiple languages. She lives in Pittsburgh with her family.
Victoria Christopher Murray is an acclaimed author with more than one million books in print. She has written more than twenty novels, including Stand Your Ground, an NAACP Image Award Winner for Outstanding Fiction and a Library Journal Best Book of the Year. She holds an MBA from the NYU Stern School of Business.
"Historical fiction at its best... The Personal Librarian spins a complex tale of deceit and allegiance as told through books." - Good Morning America
"A fascinating story!" - Real Simple
"An extraordinary tale that is both brilliant historical fiction and an important and timely commentary on racism. By holding up an unflinching mirror and illuminating this little-known chapter in American history, these two gifted authors have penned a work that is a must-read." - Pam Jenoff, New York Times bestselling author of The Woman with the Blue Star
"The story of Belle da Costa Greene is timely, universal, and enduring. Through it, Benedict and Murray raise questions that are as important now as they were a hundred years ago--questions to which a true historical answer may be less important than the fact that we are continuing to face them in contemporary ways." - Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
"This fictional account of Greene's life feels authentic; the authors bring to life not only Belle but all those around her. An excellent piece of historical fiction that many readers will find hard to put down." - Library Journal
"A powerful take on the accomplishments of J.P. Morgan's librarian.... Benedict and Murray do a great job capturing Belle's passion and tenacity as she carves a place for herself in a racist male-dominated society. This does fine justice to a remarkable historical figure." - Publishers Weekly
"Every element of this blockbuster historical novel is compelling and revelatory, beginning with the bedazzling protagonist based with awestruck care on Belle da Costa Greene... a novel of enthralling drama, humor, sensuality, and insight. ... [a] resounding tale of a brilliant and resilient woman defying sexism, classism, and racism during the brutality of Jim Crow. Benedict and Murray do splendidly right by Belle in this captivating and profoundly enlightening portrayal." - Booklist
"Kept me intrigued, fascinated, and mesmerized throughout....Everyone should know about the woman who took risks, carved her own path, silenced the naysayers, and forged ahead to becoming one of America's most prominent librarians in history. Definitely a must-read." - The Nerd Daily