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Bookreporter Talks To

Jul 21, 2021

Marie Benedict and Victoria Christopher Murray talked to Carol Fitzgerald about their first collaboration, The Personal Librarian, which is a New York Times bestseller, a Good Morning America Book Club Selection, and a Bookreporter Bets On pick. Marie, who has been interviewed for “Bookreporter Talks To” previously, is the New York Times bestselling author of novels that include The Other Einstein and Lady Clementine. She focuses her novels on important historical women who may have been overlooked by the canonical history. Victoria is the winner of Library Journal's Best Book of the Year and has written over 20 novels; this is her first book of historical fiction.

The Personal Librarian tells the story of J.P. Morgan's personal librarian, Belle da Costa Greene, who purchased and catalogued his impressive collection of rare and high quality books and artwork. What people did not know is that Belle was a Black woman who passed as white. Her secret was kept hidden, though her father had been the first Black man to graduate from Harvard University. Her complex backstory is as interesting as the collection.

Marie and Victoria share how and why they came together to work on The Personal Librarian. They both share their takes on the story, explaining certain aspects of their research that made its way into the story they were trying to tell. And they share what they are up to next, both alone and as collaborators.

Books Discussed in This Episode:

The Personal Librarian by Marie Benedict and Victoria Christopher Murray

Stand Your Ground by Victoria Christopher Murray

An Illuminated Life by Heidi Ardizzone

Good Morning America Interview:

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Photography Credit: Greg Fitzgerald