The story of 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 to leave a lasting legacy that enriched our nation.
Thank you, Marie Benedict and Victoria Christopher Murray for writing this book. I’ve been waiting for a story that would keep me engaged till the end and finally, after a long and arduous search, I’ve found it! Writing a historical fiction about lesser-known real-life-characters is a challenging task on its own, and to make it engaging and realistic to the reader is another level altogether. But this dynamic duo did it, so kudos to them! ... I loved how the authors were able to combine history with fiction so seamlessly, making the whole story come alive. It kept me intrigued, fascinated, and mesmerised throughout ... an immersive, well-told, and thoroughly researched historical fiction about a remarkable personal librarian ... Definitely a must-read, especially for fans of historical fiction!
Every element of this blockbuster historical novel is compelling and revelatory, beginning with the bedazzling protagonist based with awestruck care on Belle da Costa Greene ... a novel of enthralling drama, humor, sensuality, and insight. Belle’s abiding belief in the radiance of books and art; her passionate and tragic relationship with renowned art historian Bernard Berenson, who is also hiding his true identity; and her longing for her father, Richard Greener, the first Black man to graduate from Harvard, deepen this resounding tale of a brilliant and resilient woman defying sexism, classism, and racism during the brutality of Jim Crow. Benedict and Murray do splendidly right by Belle in this captivating and profoundly enlightening portrayal.
... excellent ... This fictional account of Greene’s life feels authentic; the authors bring to life not only Belle but all those around her. An excellent piece of historical fiction that many readers will find hard to put down.