The transfixing true story of a woman who defied all odds to choose her own destiny
“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
“Alexandra Lapierre has the outstanding flair of making us discover the remarkable destiny of a forgotten woman.” –RTL, Radio Show Les livres ont la parole
New York in the 1900s. A young girl, fascinated by rare books, defies the odds and climbs all the ranks. She becomes the director of the fabulous library of the magnate J. P. Morgan and the darling of the international aristocracy, under the false name of Belle da Costa Greene. Belle Greene to close friends.
But the flamboyant collector who turns heads and reigns over the world of bibliophiles hides a terrible secret for the violently racist America of her time. Although she looks white, she is actually African American and, moreover, the daughter of a famous black activist who sees her desire to hide her origins as a betrayal. It is this drama of a being torn between history and a woman’s choice to belong to the society which oppresses her people that Alexandra Lapierre recounts.
The fruit of three years of investigation, this novel retraces the victories and heartbreaks of a woman full of life, as free as she is determined, whose astonishing daring echoes today's battles.
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 (Chatto&Windus, 2000; Vintage, 2012). Her books have been published in more than twenty countries.