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Belle Greene by Alexandra Lapierre
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Belle Greene

$37.89 USD

Get for $14.99 with membership
Narrator Ja'Air Bush
Translator Tina Kover
Length 19 hours 1 minutes
Language English
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Based on the true story of Belle da Costa Greene, a woman who defied all odds to carve out a destiny of her own choosing, this is a richly imagined novel bursting with atmosphere, lush period detail, and many unforgettable characters. 

New York in the 1900s. A young girl fascinated by rare books defies all odds and becomes the director of one of the country’s most prestigious private libraries. It belongs to the magnate J. P. Morgan,darling of the international aristocracy and one of the city’s richest men.

Flamboyant, brilliant, beautiful, Belle is among New York society’s most sought after intellectuals. She also hides a secret. Although she looks white, she is African American, the daughter of a famous black activist who sees her desire to hide her origins as the consummate betrayal. Torn between history’s ineluctable imperatives and the freedom to belong to the society of her choosing, Belle’s drama, which plays out in a violently racist America, is one that resonates forcefully, and illuminatingly even today.

The fruit of years of research and interviews, Alexandra Lapierre’s magnificent novel recounts the struggles, victories, and heartbreaks of a woman who is free, astonishingly determined, daring, and fully, exuberantly alive.


Alexandra Lapierre is a bestselling French novelist, short story writer and biographer. She graduated from Sorbonne University and the University of Southern California. Among her works that bring back to life great women and characters neglected by history, is the international bestseller Artemisia (Vintage, 2012). Her books have been published in more than twenty countries.

Tina Kover translations for Europa include Antoine Compagnon’s A Summer with Montaigne and Négar Djavadi’s Disoriental, which won both the Albertine Prize and the Lambda Literary Award, and was a finalist for the National Book Award for Translated Literature and the PEN Translation Prize.

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Reviews

★ “In this extensively researched historical novel, we see Belle from the time she’s a young woman born Belle Greener, daughter of the first Black man to graduate from Harvard. An engaging story about a brilliant woman who risks everything.”—Kirkus Reviews (Starred Review)

“Belle’s story, as told by Lapierre, is compelling and well-crafted.”—Historical Novels Society

“A true marvel!”—Paris Diary

“The luminous and sensitive portrait of an extraordinary woman in an America fraught with taboos and, consequently, with transgressions.”—Point de vue

“Erudite, sharp, and worldly, she hid an incredible secret…The story told with panache by Alexandra Lapierre of one of the first women of the 20th century to have had the madness, and above all the courage, to choose her own destiny.”—ELLE Magazine (France)

“Absolutely superb!”—Historiquement Vôtre

“A magnificent work!”—Radio Classique

“Once again, Alexandra Lapierre has the outstanding flair of making us discover the remarkable destiny of a forgotten woman.—RTL

“With the tale of this amazing destiny, Alexandra Lapierre recounts a piece of American history and the story of a flamboyant woman. Lapierre loves extraordinary characters: in Belle Greene, she has found a heroine worthy of her talent.”—Le Matin Dimanche

“The destiny of a woman who was remarkably ahead of her time is told by Alexandra Lapierre at a breathless pace, with the panache and the elegance that distinguish her writing.”—Le service Littéraire

“This beautiful, exciting, feverish, angry narrative tells us about an indomitable woman whose motto pleases me: I don’t belong to you!”—Version Femina

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