P: The Personal Librarian by Marie Benedict and Victoria Christopher Murray #atozchallenge

The Blogging from A to Z April Challenge  is for bloggers who wish to participate by publishing a blog post every day in April except for Sundays. Each blog post will focus on a letter of the alphabet. For example April 1 will be A, April 2 will be B and on it goes. By the end of April, a blog post for every letter of the alphabet will have been posted. My theme for 2023 is Book Reviews.

You can read my reviews without worrying about spoilers. My reviews are quite brief and I give away nothing more than you would read on the back cover or on Goodreads.




“The remarkable, little-known story of Belle da Costa Greene, J. P. Morgan’s personal librarian—who became one of the most powerful women in New York despite the dangerous secret she kept in order to make her dreams come true, from New York Times bestselling author Marie Benedict and acclaimed author 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 on the New York society scene 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 build 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 to which she must go—for the protection of her family and her legacy—to preserve her carefully crafted white identity in the racist world in which she lives”. – Goodreads

Published in 2021. 341 pages.

My Thoughts

This story is a fictionalised version of the life of this amazing woman. The story is told in chronological form, along with flashbacks to her earlier life. Belle is employed by J.P. Morgan to curate the Morgan Library and the famed art collection. What began as a job for her becomes much more than that. It becomes her life. She became very well known and prominent in the art world at a time when women weren’t usually in powerful positions. As powerful as Belle was in her professionl life, she was never able to completely be herself. There was always the worry for her that somebody would find out about her background and that she was not white. At that time, her career would have been negatively affected by that information coming out.

One of my favourite genres is historical fiction, so I enjoyed all the dates and places, however for that could become a bit tedious for someone not as interested in the history. I also enjoyed learning more about American history and well known people in history, as I haven’t read much American historical fiction.

Star Rating 

Please note that my star rating system isn’t at all based on literary merit, but is based on my enjoyment for the book.
For me a book that gets five stars, is a book that I really enjoyed, and found difficult to put down.

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️Unputdownable. Would definitely read again
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️Fantastic read. Not to be missed.
⭐️⭐️⭐️Enjoyable read. Would recommend.
⭐️⭐️Wouldn’t read again
⭐️Don’t recommend this book again

Find me here: Facebook and Instagram and Goodreads

Images and author information: Goodreads

You can find my other blogs here:
Next Phase In Fitness & Life
 and Tracking Down The Family

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10 thoughts on “P: The Personal Librarian by Marie Benedict and Victoria Christopher Murray #atozchallenge

  1. Sounds an interesting life. I had not thought about a curator being powerful but it makes sense. Hiding one’s origins was sadly common and necessary sometimes.


  2. I read this in 2021 but only have vague memories. I read Carnegie’s Maid and enjoyed that. The Other Einstein is my pick of the three titles by Benedict that I have read.


  3. Ooops, I left a comment but forgot to click on POST!! Ha!
    Glad to know you are still blogging but just blogging on a new theme. Maybe you can find a way to combine exercise with books. Like blogging about food for thought and fuel for our bodies.

    I read The Personal Librarian and enjoyed it, too. Historical fiction is my fave! Just finished The Woman with the Cure, another historical fiction.


  4. I have heard of her and will definitely be putting this at the top of my TBR list. I’m overdue to go to the Morgan Library for a tour of their exhibits as well…thanks for the reminder!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. They have interesting exhibits and it’s especially crowded on Fridays when you can pay what you want for admission.


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