Genre: Historical Fiction
Length: 352 pages
Audiobook Length: 12 hours and 23 minutes
First Published: 2021
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 authors Marie Benedict and 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.
Quotes from The Personal Librarian
The tie between parent and child is unbreakable, despite the sort of relationship they actually shared.
They have no idea the fierceness that lurks within your petite frame.
The deeper we each read, the more we would understand about this world.
About Marie Benedict
Madeline Benedict is a lawyer and an author of historical novels. She has three loosely related historical novels: The Only Woman in the Room, Carenegie’s Maid, Her Hidden Genius, The Mystery of Mrs. Christie, and The Other Einstein, about Albert Einstein’s wife, a fellow physicist. In addition, she has novels under the pen name Heather Terrell, including The Chrysalis, The Map Thief and Brigid of Kildare. She currently lives in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, with her family. Visit the author’s website →