Read advance reader review of The Personal Librarian by Marie Benedict and Victoria Christopher Murray, page 2 of 11

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reading Guide |  Reviews |  Beyond the book |  Read-Alikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

The Personal Librarian

by Marie Benedict, Victoria Christopher Murray

The Personal Librarian by Marie Benedict, Victoria Christopher Murray X
The Personal Librarian by Marie Benedict, Victoria Christopher Murray
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Jun 2021, 352 pages

    Jun 2022, 352 pages


  • Rate this book

Book Reviewed by:
BookBrowse First Impression Reviewers
Buy This Book

About this Book


Page 2 of 11
There are currently 77 member reviews
for The Personal Librarian
Order Reviews by:
  • Arden A. (Longboat Key, FL)
    A Secret Well Kept
    I have not read anything by this author before, but considering how much I enjoyed this book, I will follow her. I enjoy historical fiction that incorporates real people and events, and this book does that. The main character was a fascinating women who kept a difficult secret her entire life. It is not easy to live a lie, especially in the spotlight, as she was, but Belle did it successfully. It also is rife with details about valuable and priceless art and books, as well as what life was like during that century. It's an education in and of itself. You can almost see and hear what it is like to ride a carriage through the streets of NY. I highly recommend this book and look forward to reading other books by Marie Benedict.
  • anonymous
    the personal librarian
    I enjoyed the book. While I was reading I didn't know that this was based on an actual person. It was amazing to see what she had to go through as a woman and a person of color to live and work during that time. I'm not sure that things have changed enough. I would recommend it for book clubs as it would generate several topics to discuss.
  • CaroleNatickMa
    Personal Librarian
    This is an incredible book about an amazing woman. A young black woman passing as white, entered the world of J.P. Morgan and conquered it. Taking a job as J.P.Morgan's personal secretary, she proceeded to help him create and build the Pierpoint Morgan Library. Based on a real woman, this fictional account brings to light and life Belle de Costa Greene. Amazing on so many levels, Personal Librarian is not a book to be missed. Never mind that the writing is excellent, the story is fascinating.
  • Nona F. (Evanston, IL)
    Perfect tale for Hollywood biopic
    If Belle da Costa Greene, born Belle Marion Greener, had not existed, Hollywood would have had to invent her, and many people would have thought the story pure fiction co-authors Marie Benedict and Victoria Christopher Murray have written a riveting fictionalized biography of a fascinating woman, the daughter of a prominent black Reconstruction-era civil rights activist, who lived most of her life passing white in New York City as millionaire J. P. Morgan's personal librarian.

    Without formal training, Greene was the force that shaped the important Morgan collection of medieval manuscripts and early modern books for over forty years, and helped steer the Morgan family into opening the collection to the general public. A fascinating story in itself, Belle da Costa Greene's circumstances and inner monologues give an unusual double view of white privilege at a time even more intolerant of "the other" than today. Largely forgotten today and hardly recognized at the institution she led for decades, Greene is a figure deserving of greater recognition, which this compelling novel should achieve.
  • Kristen H. (New Bern, NC)
    Hiding yet in plain sight
    I really enjoyed reading this book. It was very enlightening to read. Everytime I sat down to read, it felt like I was sitting down with a good friend. I really took my time with this book because I didn't want it to end.

    The two authors really complimented each other and did a great job with being as historically accurate as possible.

    I myself cannot imagine having to hide who or where I came from and it really opened my eyes as to how fortunate I am.

    Love this book and would recommend it to book clubs for a great discussion in a most proper way.
  • Charlene M. (Myrtle Beach, SC)
    The Personal Librarian
    The Personal Librarian by Marie Benedict & Victoria Christopher Murray blends the angst of trying to fit into, not just a male dominated world, but a white world as well.
    In 1905, Belle Greene's mother has decided to give up her heritage as a black woman, to give her children the advantages of education & jobs that are available to only a few. Belle gets a highly coveted job to be JP Morgan's personal librarian. Marie Benedict at her best.
  • Susan P. (Mount Vernon, WA)
    A Librarian who is extraordinary
    This book grabbed me from the start and through to the end. Couldn't stop reading it. The history is amazing, the woman who curates the library is fascinating. It's also a story of survival at great personal cost. Don't want to give away the ending so just pick up this book and start reading. You won't regret it.

Beyond the Book:
  Belle da Costa Greene

Become a Member

Join BookBrowse today to start discovering exceptional books!

Find out more

Top Picks

  • Book Jacket: Salvage This World
    Salvage This World
    by Michael Farris Smith
    In the near-future universe of Michael Farris Smith's Salvage This World, life-threatening ...
  • Book Jacket: Where Coyotes Howl
    Where Coyotes Howl
    by Sandra Dallas
    Where Coyotes Howl may appear to be a classically conventional historical novel — a wide-eyed ...
  • Book Jacket: After the Miracle
    After the Miracle
    by Max Wallace
    Many people have heard one particular story about Helen Keller—how the saintly teacher, Annie ...
  • Book Jacket: The Lost Wife
    The Lost Wife
    by Susanna Moore
    The Lost Wife is a hard-hitting novella based in part on a white settler named Sarah Wakefield's ...

Book Club Discussion

Book Jacket
West with Giraffes
by Lynda Rutledge
A rousing novel inspired by the incredible true story of two giraffes who won the hearts of Depression-era America.

Members Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    Pieces of Blue
    by Holly Goldberg Sloan

    A hilarious and heartfelt novel for fans of Maria Semple and Emma Straub.

Win This Book
Win Girlfriend on Mars

30 Copies to Give Away!

A funny and poignant debut novel that skewers billionaire-funded space travel in a love story of interplanetary proportions.



Solve this clue:

S I F A R Day

and be entered to win..

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.