Posted in historical fiction, Reviews

Review: The Personal Librarian by Marie Benedict and Victoria Christopher Murray

As a librarian and fan of historical fiction, it was my pleasure to read Marie Benedict and Victoria Christopher Murray’s novel, The Personal Librarian. On Tuesday, March 29, Ms. Benedict will participate in a virtual author event to discuss her latest book, Her Hidden Genius. The event is hosted by the Valley Stream Book Club and co-hosted by seven Nassau County, Long Island libraries including mine.

*****5 stars

Marie Benedict, noted for her historical fiction, has co-written an excellent fictional, semi-biographical account of Belle da Costa Greene, the personal librarian for J. P. Morgan, who pretended to be white to secure her position as a successful businesswoman during the time that being both female and black were strong strikes against you.

Belle’s story is one of racial inequality through the ages. Due to her lighter skin, she was able to keep up the pretense of her race. But what it gained her in professional success, she lost in other areas.

Benedict and Murray, the co-authors, of the book, researched Greene’s life and included notes describing how they worked together during the pandemic and how writing Belle’s story changed their lives. Benedict stated that it made her more aware of the injustices against blacks, known and referred to as “colored” people to reflect the language of the period.

How Greene helped establish the Morgan Library and Museum in New York City is an absorbing tale of courage and determination that is an extraordinary read.

 

Author:

I'm a retired librarian and the author of the Cobble Cove and Buttercup Bend cozy mystery series and other novels, short stories, poems, articles, and a novella. My books include CLOUDY RAINBOW, REASON TO DIE, SEA SCOPE, MEMORY MAKERS, TIME'S RELATIVE, MEOWS AND PURRS, and MEMORIES AND MEOWS. My Cobble Cove cozy mystery series published by Solstice Publishing consists of 6 books: A STONE'S THROW, BETWEEN A ROCK AND A HARD PLACE, WRITTEN IN STONE, LOVE ON THE ROCKS, NO GRAVESTONE UNTURNED, and SNEAKY'S SUPERNATURAL MYSTERY AND OTHER COBBLE COVE STORIES. My new Buttercup Bend series published by Next Chapter Publishing includes THE CASE OF THE CAT CRAZY LADY and THE CASE OF THE PARROT LOVING PROFESSOR. I've also written a romantic comedy novella, WHEN JACK TRUMPS ACE, and short stories of various genres published as eBooks and in anthologies published by the Red Penguin Collection. My poetry appears in the Nassau County Voices in Verse and the Bard's Annual. I'm a member of Sisters-in-Crime, International Thriller Writers, and the Cat Writers' Association. I live on Long Island with my husband, daughter, and 2 cats.

One thought on “Review: The Personal Librarian by Marie Benedict and Victoria Christopher Murray

  1. I thought this was beautifully done, and very respectfully as well. Later I found out another author wrote about Belle and I checked… the woman is white, and I decided no, I wasn’t going to read that book. I truly appreciated how Benedict went out of her way to find a black author to write this book with Murray, in order to make sure it was done right.

    Like

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