May 16, 2013

Astor Place Vintage by Stephanie Lehmann



Publisher: Touchstone Books
Publication Date: June 2013
Categories: Historical Fiction, Contemporary Women
Source: Thank you Stephanie Lehmann!

Description:

Amanda Rosenbloom, proprietor of Astor Place Vintage, thinks she’s on 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.

Why Should You Read This Book? 
  • The characters are the most realistic I've read in a long while. Seriously. They make decisions that you don't often see in books. They are real women with realistic dilemmas.
  • Do you want to be grateful to be a modern woman? Imagine using sanitary napkins connected to belts. Good gravy, no. How about not understanding what the "sex act" actually is with no way to find out? Would you like to rent an apartment or a hotel room? You'd best be accompanied by a man or it's no dice. We've come a long way baby and this novel will remind you of that.
  • The historical tidbits in this book are spot-on. Ms. Lehmann did her research and she did it well. I was checking Wikipedia like a mad woman to learn even more about the events that were mentioned.
  • I've read many books that swing back and forth from the present to a time in history. I've never read one that did it this successfully. I'm almost always in a hurry to get back to the past. Not this time. I consider that a small literary miracle.
  • Astor Place Vintage is an absolute delight. I think you'd agree. 


Stephanie Lehmann received her BA at U.C. Berkeley and an MA in English from New York University. She has taught novel writing at Mediabistro and online at Salon.com, where her essays have been published. She currently lives in New York City. Astor Place Vintage is her fifth novel.

You can find Stephanie on Facebook and on Twitter.

36 comments:

  1. Now THIS sounds like my cup of tea! I love dirty historical tidbits. Tell me more more more about how bad people smelled before deodorant! I need to appreciate my world!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, yes exactly!! This is exactly the type of book that made me so thankful for living in the time I do :)

      Delete
  2. Makes me happy I requested a copy of this one! It sounds just like something I would loveeee.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I hope you do Shannon! I didn't expect to like this as much as I did. I couldn't put it down :)

      Delete
  3. This sounds like a great book! I just added it to my wishlist!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Great Melinda! I hope you enjoy it as much as I did :)

      Delete
  4. Ooo sounds awesome! I saw this in your "Currently Reading" section and was hoping it was good. ;)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is! I hope you'll find time to get to this one Erin, I think you'll like it :)

      Delete
  5. This sounds like a must read! I love the idea of an old journal. And yes, we have come a very long way. Great review.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I would call it that for sure Naida ;) Thanks!!

      Delete
  6. Great review, Jennifer! I've been wondering about this one after seeing it pop up here and there on other blogs. I'm glad you enjoyed it, and I'm putting it on my to-read list.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you :) I really, REALLY liked this book and I hope you do too!

      Delete
  7. This sounds like something I'd read! Can't wait!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Sounds great, reminds me of Sarahs Key, women decades apart finding connection and alternating between history and modern times. thanks for recommendation! love your reviews as always!

    ReplyDelete
  9. Ok, the description would have left me unimpressed. Every historical novel seems to have alternating viewpoints and a hidden journal. But your enthusiasm about the characters and plot are going to make me re-think this one! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Right?! I thought the same, that it was going to be too similar to other things I've read. This was fresh though. And it has PICTURES, which I forgot to mention in my review.

      Delete
  10. This sounds a lot like Sarah Jio's novels, which I usually like.

    But for REAL, no thanks on the belt-pads. Ugh, periods must have been so much worse back in the day.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know, right?? Ack! I try to imagine it and I just can't. ;)

      Delete
  11. You're definitely selling this book to me. I just read The Perfume Collector by Kathleen Tessaro which also was a good historical fiction - I've been ignoring this type of book a bit, but I'm ready for more now.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm glad you're ready Judith :) I think this would be a great one for you!

      Delete
  12. Must read!!! Gah you are killer on my TBR pile!!

    ReplyDelete
  13. Your review is very persuasive, but I'm a little tired of alternating historical and contemporary settings right now. Will wait a bit on this one, I think, but will keep it in mind!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I understand how that can happen ;) I do hope you'll keep this one in mind, it's a gem :D

      Delete
  14. Replies
    1. It really is! I was so happy with this one :)

      Delete
  15. I love the sound of this one: time travel, discovery, and being thankful for not having to use a belt! I love learning about history this way. Thanks Jen :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Isn't it the best?? I get all hopped up on this stuff, lol. My poor family has to hear my impromptu history lessons all the time ;)

      Delete
  16. I can't read this review because I'm going to start the book in the near future!!! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I totally understand and do the same thing :) I can't wait to hear what you think of this one!

      Delete
  17. Real dialogue...love that idea and this sounds like one I could really get into!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I was so pleasantly surprised by this book :) I can't wait to see what she writes next

      Delete
  18. Definitely adding this to my to-read list. I recently read The Perfume Collector and liked it for a lot of the same reasons you liked this book, so I expect it would be a good read for me :) Thanks for the great review!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're welcome! I've been curious about The Perfume Collector. I'll be keeping my eyes open for a copy.

      Delete