Sunday, September 1, 2013

Astor Place Vintage by Stephanie Lehmann

Astor Place Vintage: A Novel

Book Description from

June 11, 2013
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.

Leona's Review:
Astor Place Vintage by Stephanie Lehmann
This book takes us from June 12, 2007 back to 1907. The chapters change between Amanda and Olive with the characters telling the story.
Amanda Rosenbloom owns Astor Place Vintage in New York City. She has gone to the home of an elderly woman, Mrs. Kelly, to purchase some old clothes. Inside a muff she finds a journal written by Olive Westcott. Amanda keeps the journal to read with plans to return it.
The book really goes into the personal lives of both women. Taking us back in to time we learn how a young woman tries to make it on her own.
Keeping us in the time of 2007, we find a woman who is struggling in her business and possible loss of her lease.
I think I liked the strength of Olive more than Amanda. It is after so much time, he is not going to marry you so get out of the relationship. Amanda should have known better and Olive was learning.
Both of the women had close friends. As a reader, I began to think of the characters as real people and not a book of fiction.
There is some very personal descriptions of a woman's time of the month but I though well done. Another description of sex but not erotic. I have never read this in any book so I was surprised. Think medical on some scenes. One book Olive reads is The Four Epochs of Women by Dr. Anna M Galbraith (the book is available at
Pictures of the 1900 time period adds so much to the book and put the reader into the theme of the time. Stephanie Lehmann did her research on the 1900s and I was impressed. Some tragedies such as garment fire. Research on the food, customs of the era, cost of living and even streetcars. Siegel-Cooper Store ( on page 231, Coney Island and the Hippodrome ( page 273 are only some places mentioned.
This book held my attention and I am sure because there was the history in the book. At the back of the book there are Acknowledgements, Photo Credits, TOUCHSTONE READING GROUP GUIDE for discussion, A CONVERSATION WITH STEPAHANIE LEHMANN and ENHANCE YOUR BOOK CLUB which can be used for discussions.
I received a complimentary signed copy from the author. The opinions are my own. I am giving it a 5 star because of the research and the book kept me turning the pages. I am not usually into contemporary romance novels and if it had not been for Olive, I would have not cared for the book as much.
Stephanie Lehmann may be reached at and
Leona Olson

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