- Paperback: 416 pages
- Publisher: She Writes Press (July 11 2017)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1631521926
- ISBN-13: 978-1631521928
- Product Dimensions: 2.5 x 15.2 x 20.3 cm
- Shipping Weight: 567 g
- Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #166,001 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
The Velveteen Daughter: A Novel Paperback – Jul 11 2017
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2017 IPPY Awards: Best First Book/Fiction, Silver
". . . a masterpiece. . . . Incandescent, pitch-perfect, and destined for greatness."
�Library Journal, starred review
"The Velveteen Daughter seamlessly weaves fiction into reality, and reality into fiction, quickly merging to become one truth that vividly reveals Bianco?s secret heart. This book is not only mesmerizing to read but of great importance, bringing Pamela Bianco as an artist to find her rightful place in the history of art."
"...the novel fascinates.... Huber?s reliance on primary sources, coupled with her luminous prose, creates an unforgettable sojourn into the lives of early 20th-century artists. ...fast-paced and difficult to put down."
"Huber's richly textured language is a wonder to behold, her prose every bit as luminous, inspired, and wise as either Bianco's or Williams's own work."
"Combining the elegance of literary fiction with realistic period atmosphere and an emotional openness reminiscent of personal memoirs, the prose is entirely immersive?compelling read.?
?The Velveteen Rabbit was a beautifully tender children?s story, and after reading this gorgeous novel about the author Margery Williams and her gifted daughter Pamela the children?s tale has come to mean much more. Being real hurts terribly. Laurel Davis Huber has taken the true story of mother and daughter and fictionalized it but with precision, following facts so much that she seems to be channeling the entire family. From the beginning pages I was already hooked . . . .Add this to your summer reading list!?
? . . . compelling and affecting . . . . has great emotional appeal.?
?The Literature Quilter
?This is a dual fictionalized biography of Margery Williams, author of The Velveteen Rabbit, and her daughter, the artist and child prodigy, Pamela Bianco. . . . a beautifully written, entrancing book. . . . The novel delves deep into the emotional roller coaster of obsession, artistry, love, and familial pressures. Alternating between their two points of view, the novel presents different sides to each of the defining events in their lives. Their love, understanding, and forgiveness make this book shine.?
?Susan Coventry Blog
"With a wonderful touch, Huber makes a lost artist come alive in vibrant yet melancholic colors."
�Beautifully written, heartbreakingly captivating and full of literary and artistic magic from the early 20th century, The Velveteen Daughter is sure to appeal to fans of Margery's classic, and to anyone who has struggled to understand their parents or their children.��Shelf Awareness for Readers
About the Author
Laurel Davis Huber grew up in Rhode Island and Oklahoma. She is a graduate of Smith College. She has worked as a corporate newsletter editor, communications director for a botanical garden, high school English teacher, and senior development officer for both New Canaan Country School and Amherst College. She has studied with the novelist and short-story writer Leslie Pietrzyk (the 2015 Drue Heinz Literature Prize winner for This Angel on My Chest) and has participated in several writing residencies at the Vermont Studio Center. She and her husband split their time between New Jersey and Maine.
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
The Velveteen Daughter tells the tale of two remarkable women, Margery Williams Bianco and her daughter Pamela Bianco. Margery Williams Bianco is known for writing The Velveteen Rabbit, a children’s picture book familiar to many generations of children, and Pamela Bianco was a renowned child artist who subsequently struggles with severe depression and other debilitating psychiatric illnesses. By and large, it is not a happy story, at least not for Pamela, who battles demons and a lack of self-worth her entire life.
The Velveteen Daughter is clearly a labor of love for Huber, and her dedication and immense research shine through on every page. She chose to reveal her story through alternating points of view - Margery and Pamela share their versions of various events in the Bianco family’s lives. The book jumps around in time covering many decades, but a significant portion of the book focuses on a day in 1944 which Huber uses as the base from which the two women recollect their shared history.
Appearances by Eugene O’Neill (a very unpleasant individual), Pablo Picasso, Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney, and even a small reference to James Thurber demonstrate the glamorous world in which these two women lived. However, the entire account is overshadowed by the regret that both mother and daughter seem to share that more was not done to shelter Pamela from her overzealous father, Francesco. He frequently chose to push Pamela to create her art to subsidize the family’s life style over ensuring that her mental health was intact. Time and again, I found myself hoping Margery would finally speak up and prevent her husband from insisting that Pamela continue painting or drawing when it was clear she needed a break. Sadly, Margery seemed to defer to her husband versus standing up for her daughter.
The inclusion of various photos of the Bianco family and friends and of Pamela’s art work significantly add to the story, and the author’s note at the end was much appreciated as Huber details what was true (much of the book) and what she added to the tale. I highly recommend The Velveteen Daughter and appreciated being able to read an early copy of the book.
The Velveteen Daughter highlights the relationship between children’s author Margery Williams and her daughter, talented artist Pamela Bianco. A child prodigy praised by Picasso at the age of four, Pamela’s life is wrought with severe depression, unrequited love, and the effects of facing fame at far too young an age. Through her struggles and her successes, her mother—balancing her writing career and her family—remains her guiding strength and greatest ally. Spanning seven decades and two continents, and featuring the famous names of Eugene O’Neill, Richard Hughes, and Gertrude Vanderbilt, The Velveteen Daughter is in essence a story about the bond between mother and daughter. Meticulously researched, it immerses the reader into the private and professional lives of these remarkable women whose names should not be forgotten by history.
From the earliest pages it became clear to me that Laurel Davis Huber put extensive care and examination into Pamela and Margery’s story, using letters and other primary source material to bring their tale so beautifully to life. Through alternating narratives, each woman is given her own unique, sympathetic voice—a mother who, with heart-wrenching agony, wants her daughter to be happy; a daughter trapped by illness, seeking something that will make her feel real. While the novel dives into Pamela’s need for her father’s approval, her one-sided infatuation with Richard Hughes, and her spontaneous marriage, the unconditional love between Pamela and Margery is at the heart of every chapter. I went into this novel knowing nothing about either woman, and came away from it so glad that I got to spend time with their story.
The beauty of historical fiction is that it can re-introduce the world to long-gone figures, and that’s exactly what The Velveteen Daughter does best. I commend Laurel Davis Huber for giving the Bianco women their turn in the spotlight, and I encourage anyone interesting in learning more about them to pick up this treasure of a book.
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