I was lucky enough to win an ARC of The Velveteen Daughter by Laurel Davis Huber from Goodreads, and I really mean it when I say I was lucky to win that giveaway.
The Velveteen Daughter is a lovely, charming book. It’s well-written and gives a wonderful sense of time and place. It’s easily the best book I’ve read all year and one of my favorites ever. It’s not actually released until July 11th, but I highly recommend getting it as soon as it’s available. It’s so very, very good.
It tells the story of both Margery Williams (Bianco), author of the famed children’s book, The Velveteen Rabbit, and her daughter, Pamela Bianco. I had never heard of Pamela Bianco prior to reading this book, but apparently she was quite famous for a time, and, at the height of her fame, even more famous than her mother.
Pamela was an artist, and was one of those artists that was born to be an artist. Born in Italy, Pamela had her first gallery show at age 11. And her fame only grew from there. An acclaimed child prodigy, Pamela’s career was managed by her beloved father, Francesco. It was Francesco who first showed her work to Pablo Picasso (yes, that Pablo Picasso) and who invited the famed Italian poet, Commandante Gabriele d’Annunzio to her show.
The author blends both fact and fiction to describe Pamela’s life growing up a child prodigy in the art worlds of Europe and New York in the early 20th century. And she also describes Margery’s life as the mother of an art prodigy, but also as an author/artist in her own right. Their lives in Greenwich Village, among the poets and authors and playwrights is nothing short of fascinating. And the manner in which the author handles both Pamela’s genius and her madness is brilliant.
I’m giving this book five, well-deserved stars and recommending it to everyone. It’s absolutely wonderful.