Excerpt from The Velveteen Daughter by Laurel D. Huber, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reading Guide |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

The Velveteen Daughter

by Laurel D. Huber

The Velveteen Daughter by Laurel D. Huber X
The Velveteen Daughter by Laurel D. Huber
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • Paperback:
    Jul 2017, 416 pages

  • Rate this book

Book Reviewed by:
Davida Chazan
Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt



"What is REAL?" asked the Rabbit one day…. "Does it mean having things that buzz inside you and a stick-out handle?"

"Real isn't how you are made," said the Skin Horse. "It's a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real."

"Does it hurt?" asked the Rabbit.

"Sometimes," said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. "When you are Real you don't mind being hurt."

"Does it happen all at once, like being wound up," he asked, "or bit by bit?"

"It doesn't happen all at once," said the Skin Horse. "You become. It takes a long time. That's why it doesn't happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept…."
From The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams Bianco

September 1, 1944

9 Livingston Place, Stuyvesant Square
New York City

Late Morning


It's a lost day, I'm afraid. Pamela's here. I hadn't counted on that.

Just one look at her this morning and despair flew into my heart. She had the look I dread, her eyes over-bright, shining with that queer mix of euphoria and terror. And she talked incessantly, a very bad sign. She was going to start painting again, she said, and went on and on about the large canvasses she seems to have had in her head for so long. I encouraged her, naturally, but I knew by the way she was acting that it was only talk, that she wasn't near ready. If she really meant it, we wouldn't see her at all, she'd disappear. She'd be too busy painting.

When she stopped talking it was mid-sentence, her thoughts trailing off into a dramatic yawn. She was awfully tired, she said. Did I mind if she just lay down for a while? I didn't need to answer, though of course I said, "Certainly, darling!"

She gave my shoulder a squeeze as she passed by. But I didn't look up. I find every way to avoid it but the truth will look me right in the face: there is madness in my daughter's eyes.

This heat's unbearable.

The fan blowing back and forth across the ice hypnotizes me with its jerky rhythm—the faint scriiitch as it hesitates at every rotation, the cool breath of air across my face. My manuscript sits in front of me on the kitchen table, but I know I won't touch it. The desire to work has fled, it ran off down the hallway along with Pamela. Worry occupies me now, and the same questions roil in my brain: Will it be a bad one? Will it go away of its own accord? Or—God forbid—will we have to bring her to the hospital again?

When Francesco left for the printer's studio at dawn, saying he'd be back by suppertime, I was quite glad to have the day to myself, all the time in the world, I thought, to do a final reading of Forward, Commandos! A nice, long stretch of solitude….

I suppose you could say I'm alone now, here in the kitchen, but somehow it's not the same, not with Pamela just a few feet way, asleep in her old room. We heaved a sigh of relief when she moved into an apartment of her own a few years ago, but her "independence" has been tenuous at best. Little has changed. Her place is only a stone's throw away. Inevitably, she shows up on our doorstep when she is feeling not quite herself.

She'll sleep the day away, I can count on that. Another bad sign. There's trouble ahead when the little genius takes to bed.

The little genius. Why on earth did that pop into my head? We haven't called her that in years.… I suppose it was Pamela's attempt to discuss the past, her childhood. I had to cut her off.

Excerpted from The Velveteen Daughter by Laurel D Huber. Copyright © 2017 by Laurel D Huber. Excerpted by permission of She Writes Press. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Beyond the Book:
  Child Prodigies in Visual Art

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Feast Your Eyes
    Feast Your Eyes
    by Myla Goldberg
    Myla Goldberg's latest novel, Feast Your Eyes, is ostensibly about the works of fictional ...
  • Book Jacket: Greek to Me
    Greek to Me
    by Mary Norris
    Mary Norris' Greek to Me received an overwhelmingly favorable response from our First Impression ...
  • Book Jacket: Miracle Creek
    Miracle Creek
    by Angie Kim
    Miracle Creek, the debut novel from Angie Kim, hinges on the mysterious explosion of an oxygen tank....
  • Book Jacket: Courting Mr. Lincoln
    Courting Mr. Lincoln
    by Louis Bayard
    19 out of 21 of our First Impression Reviewers rated Louis Bayard's latest novel, Courting Mr. ...

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    Women Rowing North
    by Mary Pipher

    The instant New York Times bestseller from the author of Reviving Ophelia.
    Reader Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    The Guest Book
    by Sarah Blake

    "An American epic in the truest sense…"
    Entertainment Weekly
    Reader Reviews

Book Club
Book Jacket
Her Kind of Case
by Jeanne Winer

A highly-recommended emotion-filled legal drama with three starred reviews!

About the book
Join the discussion!
Win this book!
Win Miracle Creek

My husband asked me to lie. Not a big lie...

A thrilling debut novel for fans of Liane Moriarty and Celeste Ng.


Word Play

Solve this clue:

I I T S Form O F

and be entered to win..

Books that     

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.