Wednesday, July 05, 2017

Laurel Davis Huber's The Velveteen Daughter, a mother-daughter story about art, family, and fame

Debut novelist Huber brings psychological acuity and tender empathy to her portraits of Margery Williams, the English-American author of the children’s literature classic The Velveteen Rabbit, and her artist daughter, Pamela Bianco. Huber knits their viewpoints together in short alternating chapters, a perfect structure for characters whose lives are so intertwined that it would be difficult to tell their stories separately.

Growing up in early twentieth-century Turin, Pamela displays such uncanny artistic talent that her Italian-born father puts her under the spotlight, arranging exhibitions that gain her international attention. This childhood fame has dire repercussions.  As a young woman in New York’s art scene, Pamela endures melancholic episodes and suffers intense, unrequited love for a family friend, while lively, warmhearted Margery constantly worries about her fragile daughter’s stability.

Huber excels in depicting these complex family dynamics, and her subject is strikingly original. Combining the elegance of literary fiction with realistic period atmosphere and an emotional openness reminiscent of personal memoirs, the prose is entirely immersive. A compelling read for art- and women’s-history enthusiasts as well as historical fiction fans.

Laurel Davis Huber's The Velveteen Daughter will be published by She Writes Press on July 11th ($16.95 pb/$9.95 ebook).  This review first appeared in the 5/15 issue of Booklist.  Once you read this novel, you'll wonder why the story had been hidden from history for so long.

On release day next Tuesday, I'll be publishing a guest post by the author in which she discusses her research discoveries.

1 comment:

  1. Pity the book is already archived on Netgalley. It sounds very good.