Updated: Aug 3
By Marie Benedict and Victoria Christopher Murray
A Poignant and Enlightening Novel of the Woman Who Curated One of the Most Prominent Libraries in American History
1905. Belle De Costa Greene is hired away from Princeton University to become the director of J. P. Morgan’s personal library and art collection. Soon she is charming the New York elite with her style, personality and intelligence. She attends male-dominated auctions and travels the world to secure the rare books and manuscripts needed to complete the prominent collection.
But Belle has a secret that only her family knows. The revelation of this secret will ruin everything she has gained. Her career, her reputation, her relationships are all at stake. Belle is the daughter of Richard Greener, the first black man to graduate from Harvard University and a vocal civil rights advocate. He left the family after Belle’s mother, Genevieve Fleet, who is also from a wealthy African American family in Washington DC, insisted on raising and passing their children as white. Belle was a teenager when her father left the family.
THE PERSONAL LIBRARIAN is a intriguing and informative historical fiction novel. It’s an expertly delivered depiction of Belle De Costa Greene, a woman well-ahead of her time. She is intelligent, controlled, independent and strong. You will fall in love with both her, and her gut-wrenching story. The story is richly anchored in facts given that both J.P. Morgan and her father, Richard Greener, were well-known public figures.
Marie Benedict co-authored THE PERSONAL LIBRARIAN with Victorian Christopher Murray. These two fabulous authors blended meticulous research, personal experience, and logical extrapolation to create this unforgettable story. The writing is poignant, smart and emotionally profound. You are going to want to clear your calendar for this delightful read.
Thanks to Netgalley for an advance reading copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Published June 29, 2021