Astor Place Vintage
Amanda Rosenbloom, the owner of a vintage clothing store in Manhattan, is having a hard time. Her store’s lease is up, she may have to relocate, she can’t sleep, and her boyfriend won’t leave his wife. She goes on what she thinks will be an ordinary call to purchase some clothing for her store and finds something extraordinary. Sewn into a fur muff is a hidden diary written in 1907 by Olive Westcott, a down-on-her-luck shop girl who dreams of being a department store buyer. Amanda is drawn into Olive’s world and through it discovers a thing or two about herself.
Amanda is a quirky character, but it is really Olive who stands out. Olive lived quite comfortably with her father, a manager at Woolworth’s, until he died in an automobile accident. Suddenly she has to decide whether to move in with her aunt and follow a traditional path of becoming a wife and mother, or if she wants to try to make it on her own and have a career. She finds that if she wants to become a buyer she will have to start at the bottom, so she gets a job at a store counter selling toiletries. Having to fend for herself for the first time, Olive becomes aware of how sheltered her life used to be. With the help of her new coworkers and friends, she learns a lot about the world and is finally able to decide what kind of woman she wants to become.
Lehmann’s description of New York in 1907 and today are vivid and lovely. Her passion for the city truly shines through. Amanda and Olive’s stories captivate the reader in this very enjoyable quick read. Highly recommended.