Amanda Rosenbloom, proprietor of Astor Place Vintage, thinks she’son just another call to appraise and possibly purchase clothing from a wealthy, elderly woman. But after discovering a journal sewn into a fur muff, Amanda gets much more than she anticipated. The pages of the journal reveal the life of Olive Westcott, a young woman who had moved to Manhattan in 1907. Olive was set on pursuing a career as a department store buyer in an era when Victorian ideas, limiting a woman’s sphere to marriage and motherhood, were only beginning to give way to modern ways of thinking. As Amanda reads the journal, her life begins to unravel until she can no longer ignore this voice from the past. Despite being separated by one hundred years, Amanda finds she’s connected to Olive in ways neither could ever have imagined.
Kirkus ReviewsThe past meets the present in Lehmann's work of feminist literary fiction. In 2007, 39-year-old Amanda indulges her interest in history by running a vintage clothing business in New York City. She is contacted by Jane Kelly, who, at 98, is getting rid of a lifetime's accumulation of stuff, selling whatever she can for whatever she can get. Amanda takes an old trunk full of clothing on consignment and, while going through the items, finds a journal, started in 1907 by a woman named Olive, sewn inside a muff. These two women are separated by a century but have a lot in common. Olive is rebelling against the 19th-century concept of a woman's "place" in society, and Amanda feels herself caught between two historic eras. Olive's mother died in childbirth, and she was raised by an upper-class, loving but conservative father. His fortune was lost in the stock market, and when he died, she became poor. The author presents compelling, often shocking historical details about the treatment of working women in the early years of the century. Meanwhile, Amanda, in contemporary Manhattan, is considering extricating herself from an affair with a man she dearly loves. Along the way, she visits a hypnotist. The tape she receives after her session introduces questions that bring her closer to Olive. The author combines an impressive knowledge of history, sociology and psychology to create an intellectually and emotionally rewarding story.
PARTICULARS OF THE BOOK :
Published by: Touchstone Books/Simon & Schuster
Pages: 396 Plus Reading Group Guide
Genre: Fiction/Historical Fiction
Author: Stephanie Lehmann
Visit: http://stephanielehmann.com or http://astorplacevintage.com
ABOUT THIS AUTHOR :
Stephanie Lehmann received her B.A. at U.C. Berkeley and an M.A. In English from New York University. She has taught novel writing at Mediabistro and online at Salon.com, where her essays have been published. Like Olive and Amanda, she lives in New York City.
For more information, please visit www.AstorPlaceVintage.com and www.StephanieLehmann.com. You can follow Stephanie on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and tumblr.
THE BOOKISH DAME REVIEWS :
Want an addictive book to read this weekend? This is the one. From page one, it whisks you up and carries you to New York City in the present and the past combining the lives of two independent, beautiful women who are looking for "something else" in their stilted and lonely lives. It's easy on the eyes and it tugs at something significant in a woman's heart. This novel is "deeper" than it appears to be on the cover. All the time, it's an entertaining and joyful read!
Stephanie Lehmann takes on real issues in the lives of all women and brings them current through the lives of two women connected through the lost journal of one of them...one from the early 1900's. How similar their circumstances...wanting to be independent, wanting a love that will recognize them as who they really are and will validate their true strengths. This book touches on the issues women actually feel and experience even today.
I love the vintage pictures of New York that dress up the inside of the novel, and the background stories of the City, itself. What a perfect tour guide through the ages passed along with the modern times. What wasn't to love about finds for Amanda's vintage clothing shop, too! Great fun to have the fashions described in detail.
There are so many incidents to laugh, nod your head in agreement about, and be shaken to the core in this book. It's a "keeper" and a book you'll want to share with all your friends.
I can't say enough good things about it.
5 stars Deborah/TheBookishDame
*Note: Although the review and comments are strictly my own thoughts and feelings, this was brought to you in cooperation with:
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