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The Personal Librarian

by Marie Benedict and Victoria Christopher Murray

The Personal Librarian by Marie Benedict and Victoria Christopher Murray X
The Personal Librarian by Marie Benedict and Victoria Christopher Murray
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  • Publishes in USA 
    Jun 1, 2021
    352 pages
    Genre: Novels

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  • 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.
  • Donna T. (Amarillo, TX)
    Inspiring
    Marie Benedict and Victoria Murray collaborate in this novel about Belle da Costa Greene who was chosen in 1905 by J. P. Morgan to oversee his private collection of rare manuscripts, books and art. Against this historical and fascinating backdrop is the story of Belle's determination to succeed in a man's world, especially in the world of J.P Morgan.
  • Beverly J. (Hoover, AL)
    Rich, Colorful, and Glorious!
    In 1905, Belle de Costa Greene is hired to her dream job, to be the personal librarian to financier to J.P. Morgan and curate his ever expanding rare manuscripts private collection. As trust builds between employee and employer, Belle's responsibilities to expand to representing Morgan at auctions. While Morgan's name opened the door for Belle in this all-male industry, it was Belle's keen eye, probing research, and shrewd negotiating that earns the respect of her colleagues.

    But Belle is keeping a secret. She was born Belle Marion Greener and is an African American and so walks a tight rope as she balances her private life and protects her family and her career.

    This biographical novel is beautifully, wisely, and masterfully told. The collaboration between the two authors is seamless as the reader gets immersed in the glamorous life that affords Belle's position and the trials and tribulations that agonized Belle has she passed for white, while being proud of her African American identity.

    A graceful tale and the well-honed characters will earn a place in readers' heart.

    I would be remorse if I did not mention that Belle's and her family's story is another example of the wastefulness of discrimination and prejudice.
  • Monica P. (Cleves, OH)
    Loved The Personal Librarian
    I really enjoyed reading this one. I love reading historical fiction based on real people, especially ones I know nothing about, and The Personal Librarian did not disappoint. Such interesting characters with the added intrigue of a secret life. I will definitely be recommending this fascinating book to my bookclub.
  • Mark S. (Blauvelt, NY)
    A Great Read!
    I confess to being one who knew nothing about Belle's place in history prior to reading this book, but the authors did a wonderful job of bringing her story to life. Not only is this a timely read, but it is an enlightening look at the the incredible juggling act Belle had to do as she earned her place in the world while protecting what should never have to be a secret. Not only will I look for more information about Belle, but I have also become a fan of these authors, both individually and collaboratively.
  • Cindy R
    Morgan's Librarian
    I'm sure most of you are unfamiliar with the person written about in THE PERSONAL LIBRARIAN (Berkley) by authors, Marie Benedict and Victoria Christopher Murray. She happens to be one of the most interesting people I've ever read about, and I believe you will find her intriguing too.

    In 1905, at the age of twenty-one, Belle da Costa Green was hired by financier, steel, railroad and electric power magnate, J.P. Morgan to become his personal librarian for the collection he wanted to build. He entrusted her completely, to negotiate for and buy millions of dollars worth of manuscripts, books and art for Morgan. She told Morgan, who was willing to pay any price for important works, that her goal was to make his library "pre-eminent, especially for incunabula, manuscripts, bindings and the classics." Acquiring rare and valuable items was a way wealthy families showed off their status. Belle was immediately welcomed into New York society and was soon mingling with Astors, Vanderbilts, Carnegies and other members of the "swells."

    But from the very beginning, Belle had a secret. It was a secret that if discovered would crumble down and destroy her and her family, who she provided for. I'm not going to give away the secret, but the whole story is true, with some literary license, and truly amazing.

    Belle was a trailblazer as a single, successful career woman in the early in the early 1900's. THE PERSONAL LIBRARIAN deals family, sacrifice, truth and lies. A definite must read.
  • Wendy F. (Kalamazoo, MI)
    The Personal Librarian
    What a lovely story of hidden history! I loved learning about Belle and the writing was excellent. I have read many of Marie Benedict's novels and enjoyed them all. This time she teamed up with Victoria Christopher Murray to tell the story of Belle de Costa Greene, J.P. Morgan's personal librarian, who is an African American woman presenting as white. The constant trepidation that she feels being concerned that she will be found out and how she was able to make herself so successful in the art world make a tempting tale.

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