Astor Place Vintage written by Stephanie Lehmann is one of the reasons I love historical fiction so much. She brings alive a time past so vividly that I felt sure I was there experiencing the sights, sounds, and life right along with her characters. As well, in this story the past and present are woven together through the journal entries of a diary and there is nothing more intriguing to me in a novel than that. To say I liked this book would be an understatement because I loved it and it’ll top my list of favorites this year.
Amanda Rosenbloom loves old things: specifically old clothes and owns her own shop called Astor Place Vintage. Needless to say she’s used to getting calls to come and look at old clothing and purchase it if its something she wants. She has no reason to believe that the call she gets from Mrs. Kelly will be any different. She arrives and goes about her job but in the process finds an old journal sewn into a fur muff. Instead of asking to take the journal Amanda decides not to risk being turned down and slips it into her bag.
The journal dates back to 1907 and belonged to Olive Westcott, a young woman who had just moved to Manhattan. For Amanda this is like hitting the jackpot and it doesn’t take long before she’s drawn into Olive’s life. As for Olive it isn’t long before she’s left on her own in Manhattan and she quickly discovers how hard it is for a young woman to get anywhere on her own merit. Olive is ambitious and wants to become a retail buyer. That’s her dream; not getting married and having babies. She just didn’t realize how difficult and frustrating it was going to be. As Amanda reads through the journal she finds herself having vivid dreams of the past and she wonders about the connection of her life to Olive’s. Not one to ever shy away from a long past mystery Amanda sets out to find out more about who Olive was.
I found it so interesting to read of life in Manhattan back in the 1900’s and even more interesting how life was for women during that period in history. For example a young woman couldn’t stay in a hotel without an escort nor could she smoke in a public place because it was unseemly. Even more troublesome was that women seemed only intelligent enough to do the simplest of jobs because it was believed that they shouldn’t be working at all since they should be married and having families. It most definitely makes you sit back and be grateful for how times have changed and for the freedoms we have now that women didn’t have then.
If you’re looking for a captivating story that weaves the past and present together in a way that will bring the 1900’s to life then Astor Place Vintage is a novel that I would highly recommend. I enjoyed each and every page of this book and my only regret was having to turn that last page.
Astor Place Vintage by Stephanie Lehmann is on tour with Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours so be sure to check on the other tour stops to see what others are saying shout the book. Visit the Astor Place Vintage website for more information and Stephanie can be found on her website, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. You can pick up your own copy of Astor Place Vintage at Amazon or Amazon Canada.
Source: Review copy provided by Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours and the Publisher. No compensation was received and all opinions are my own.