The Personal Librarian by Marie Benedict
نویسنده: Marie Benedict
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.
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Goodreads users review :
So delighted to have had an early peek for a quote! I devoured the story while also learning so much. Here’s my scoop: “Upon starting this novel, be prepared to do nothing else until you’ve reached its poignant, reflective end. Through brilliant pacing and with painstaking care, Benedict and Murray paint a vibrant portrait of a woman whose accomplishments, relationships, and secretive history were as complex and intriguing as the collections she helped curate. The Personal Librarian is a timely, provocative read perfect for book clubs. I loved it.” Kristina McMorris rated it: 5.0 from 5.0
I had never heard of Belle da Costa Greene before this book, but what an interesting person! What I wouldn’t give to get a peek at that library in her time. I really enjoyed this book, the ending seemed a bit abrupt though. I’d like to read more of her later years. Thank you to Goodreads for providing me with an early copy! Bridget Healy rated it: 5.0 from 5.0
A compelling story about the real-life Belle da Costa Green, personal librarian to J.P. Morgan and the woman who shaped the famed Morgan Library. Belle was a fascinating, complex woman, and Marie Benedict and Victoria Christopher Murray bring her ambition and vulnerability to life on the page. Highly recommended for all historical fiction fans! Julia Kelly rated it: 5.0 from 5.0