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  • Nan Russell

The Personal Librarian: My Favorite Historical Novel for January

Like many, my favorite books or listens frequently come via friends or colleagues. That’s how I learned about The Personal Librarian by Marie Benedict and Victoria Christopher Murray.


This captivating story is about Belle da Costa Green, a woman in her twenties, hired by J.P. Morgan to curate the Pierpont Morgan Library in the early 1900s. But the deeper story is how this Black American woman needed to hide her background and pass as white in a racist world in order to be hired for such a position, create a lasting legacy, and contribute her incredible talents to world.


The acclaimed writing of Marie Benedict, who is white, and Victoria Christopher Murray, who is Black. comes together in what feels like a memoir style of Belle telling her own story, which was brought to life for me listening to the exceptional audio recording by narrator, Robin Miles.


As a fan of historical fiction, I can’t stress enough how delighted I am that such a wonderful novel came my way. I heartly recommendation The Personal Librarian to anyone interested in historical fiction.



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