July 16, 2013 by kristin
I heard about ASTOR PLACE VINTAGE by Stephanie Lehmann and immediately went and pre-ordered it on Amazon. Literally, that minute. I usually don’t buy books until I’m ready to read them, instead keeping track of them on my Goodreads “to-read” shelf.
But I was just that excited about this one. It’s about Amanda, a modern-day vintage clothing store owner in New York City, who finds the diary of a young woman, Olive, trying to make her way as a shop girl in the city in 1907. The chapters alternate between the past and present, as both women try to figure out the next steps in their careers, love lives, and friendships. There’s also a splash of mystery, as Amanda puts together clues to figure out how Olive’s story connects to her own.
This story promised to be the perfect storm of stuff I love – Vintage clothes! History! Women’s rights! And it lived up to my expectations.
Like the modern character, Amanda, I love the connection to history I feel when I hold an object or inhabit a building once owned by someone else, or several someones. I shared her excitement as she learned more about Olive as a person and Olive as a representative of the vastly more limited opportunities available to a single woman at the turn of the century. I also liked reading about Amanda’s parallel struggles with being dependent on a man and with her own body and fertility, and, as always, I love a historical novel that captures a sense of time in place – in this case, New York City as it was and is.
ASTOR PLACE VINTAGE was a quick read and kept me turning the pages. And made me want to go vintage shopping. So, besides the inevitable dent in my bank account from said shopping, I highly recommend it!
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