The Personal LibrarianMarie Benedict & Victoria Christopher Murray

The Personal Librarian

4.5 star

Total 1,670 Ratings

The Personal Librarian by Marie Benedict & Victoria Christopher Murray Book Summary

The Instant New York Times Bestseller! A Good Morning America* Book Club Pick!

Named a Best Book of the Year by NPR! Named a Notable Book of the Year by the Washington Post!

“Historical fiction at its best!”*
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.

The Personal Librarian (Marie Benedict & Victoria Christopher Murray) Book Reviews

Love, love, love!Instant classic! Should be required educational reading. My understanding of racism has deepened after reading this book. And, I just enjoyed learning this bit of history through a story that held my interest the entire time..Score: 5/5

Personal librarianFascinating story/history..Score: 4/5

ExcellentVery interesting story.Score: 5/5

The Personal LibrarianWell done! Informative and engaging. A little long-winded in parts.Score: 4/5

The personal librarianGreat.Score: 5/5

Interesting subject, poor writingThis book reads like 99% exposition and 1% plot. Do not recommend.Score: 2/5

EngrossingThe Personal Librarian was one of the best books I have read. It captured my interest immediately and sustained it throughout. I was fortunate to visit The Morgan Library & Museum in NY which enhanced my appreciation of both the book and this gem of an institution. I strongly recommend the book and, at a minimum, a virtual visit of the Library..Score: 5/5

Personal LibrarianLoved what I learned about this under celebrated woman and her life’s journey..Score: 5/5

Excellent Book! The more I learn about how horribly Black peoplesAre treated here in America, the more I’m embarrassed to say I’m American..Score: 5/5

Beautifully writtenI read this book after seeing it in the gift shop at the JPMorgan library in NYC. It was amazing to read the book and reflect on photos I took while visiting. Belle’s story is amazing and written so well, I thank Marie and Victoria for their work and passion poured into this masterpiece..Score: 5/5

Personal LibraianWonderful history of JP Morgan through the eyes of his personal librarian. The struggle with racial bias in the book and how it drove a family apart. Very fast paced and a really good read!.Score: 4/5

The Personal LibrarianA beautiful narrative giving a glimpse of history, the strength and struggles that not only formed foundations of our world and society but with issues that are relevant today..Score: 5/5

Good title appropriateIt was very interesting n well written. I enjoyed it thoroughly.Score: 5/5

Too didactic in tone; not my cup of tea!Stopped reading after the abortion. Fascinated by the historical character, but the authors went a bit too far in the assumption that there was an unwanted child. The Belle of this book is far too haughty and self-absorbed. I’m reading the biography instead..Score: 1/5

The Personal LibrarianI enjoyed the story. Belle lived an interesting challenging life. What she accomplished should be commended, and thank you for bringing her story full fold..Score: 5/5

Outstanding, Captivating, Phenomenal!I have come to fall in love with Belle de Costa Greene as a audacious, courageous, African American woman who I did not know of. This historical fiction brings to life an era in American history that should remind us of the imperfect imbalance in our society today. The Personal Librarian tells the story of a courageous woman, who had to do what she had to do to not only survive, but thrive..Score: 5/5

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The Personal Librarian Synopsis

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The Personal Librarian
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