Try free for 2 months

1 credit a month to use on any title, yours to keep (you’ll use your first credit on this title).
Stream or download thousands of included titles.
Access to exclusive deals and discounts.
AUD $16.45/mo after 2 months. Renews automatically. Cancel anytime.
The Personal Librarian cover art

The Personal Librarian

By: Marie Benedict,Victoria Christopher Murray
Narrated by: Robin Miles
Try for $0.00

AUD $16.45/mo after 2 months. Renews automatically. Cancel anytime.

Buy Now for $26.99

Buy Now for $26.99

Pay using voucher balance (if applicable) then card ending in
By confirming your purchase, you agree to Audible's Conditions Of Use and Privacy Notice and authorise Audible to charge your designated credit card or another available credit card on file.

Publisher's 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.

©2020 Marie Benedict and Victoria Christopher Murray (P)2020 Penguin Audio

Critic Reviews

“Historical fiction at its best.... The Personal Librarian spins a complex tale of deceit and allegiance as told through books.” (Good Morning America)

“Benedict, who is white, and Murray, who is African American, do a good job of depicting the tightrope Belle walked, and her internal conflict from both sides - wanting to adhere to her mother's wishes and move through the world as white even as she longed to show her father she was proud of her race. Like Belle and her employer, Benedict and Murray had almost instant chemistry, and as a result, the book's narrative is seamless...I became hooked.” (NPR)

“An extraordinary tale that is both brilliant historical fiction and an important and timely commentary on racism.  By holding up an unflinching mirror and illuminating this little-known chapter in American history, these two gifted authors have penned a work that is a must-read.” (Pam Jenoff, New York Times best-selling author of The Woman with the Blue Star

What listeners say about The Personal Librarian

Average Customer Ratings
Overall
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    20
  • 4 Stars
    3
  • 3 Stars
    2
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0
Performance
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    16
  • 4 Stars
    5
  • 3 Stars
    2
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0
Story
  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    19
  • 4 Stars
    3
  • 3 Stars
    1
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

fascinating story

The authors did a remarkable job bringing Belle to life, and shining a spotlight on the issues of the time.

However the reader felt a bit slow and droning. It may have been better to listen in a faster speed, but I didn't think of that until I'd finished.

Something went wrong. Please try again in a few minutes.

You voted on this review!

You reported this review!

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Sad History of US racism.

Intriguing history of racism, it is a shame the world is little changed. We cannot pretend to understand how this woman managed to convince us of her "whiteness" to enable her become the head of the best library collections in the world. While the book sometimes overwhelms and becomes overly romantic we should remember it is a fiction based on fact but it is not an autobiography.

Something went wrong. Please try again in a few minutes.

You voted on this review!

You reported this review!

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

A fascinating read!

What an interesting book - based in fact and sympathetically written.
The book was nicely read.
I kept finding excuses to listen.

Something went wrong. Please try again in a few minutes.

You voted on this review!

You reported this review!

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

I had hoped for much, but couldn't finish it.

The story felt strong, but then once introduced themes that I'd prefer not to listen too. Same sex relationships etc. I thought I was listening to a old school storyline. full disclosure, I don't know how much more it went into it, or whether it was a tiny detail.

The narration at times felt robotic, which stole from the storyline.

Truly, the story idea was a sound one and one I hoped I would enjoy. It just didn't land for me.
9 hours left and I was done.
😥

Something went wrong. Please try again in a few minutes.

You voted on this review!

You reported this review!

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Fabulous book

Thank you for making this book available in audio. I feel that it enhanced my reading experience. It is a story very close to my heart and needs to be told and listened to over and over ( especially as white supremecy raises its ugly head all over the world). I loved listening to the authors notes at the end of the book.

Something went wrong. Please try again in a few minutes.

You voted on this review!

You reported this review!

In the spirit of reconciliation, Audible acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of country throughout Australia and their connections to land, sea and community. We pay our respect to their elders past and present and extend that respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples today.