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Wednesday, July 10, 2013

*[Blog Tour Review] Astor Place Vintage by Stephanie Lehmann

Astor Place Vintage: A Novel
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Summary:
 
When a vintage clothing store owner in New York City discovers a journal from 1907, she finds her destiny at stake as the past and present collide. The past has a seductive allure to Amanda Rosenbloom, especially when it comes to vintage clothing. She’s devoted to running her shop, Astor Place Vintage, but with Manhattan’s rising rents and a troubled economy, it’s tough to keep the business alive. Meanwhile, she can’t bring herself to end an affair with a man who really should be history. When Amanda finds a journal sewn into a fur muff she’s recently acquired for the shop, she’s happy to escape into the world of Olive Westcott, a young lady who lived in New York City one hundred years ago.

As Amanda becomes immersed in the journal, she learns the future appeals to Olive. Olive looks forward to a time when repressive Victorian ideas have been replaced by more modern ways of thinking. But the financial panic of 1907 thrusts her from a stable, comfortable life into an uncertain and insecure existence. She’s resourceful and soon finds employment, but as she’s drawn into the social circle of shopgirls living on the edge of poverty, Olive is tempted to take risks that could bring her to ruin. Reading Olive’s woes, Amanda discovers a secret that could save her future and keep her from dwelling in the past.
It’s Olive, however, who ends up helping Amanda, through revelations that come in the final entries of the journal. As the lives of these two women merge, Amanda is inspired to stop living in the past and take control of her future.
Summary & cover taken from Goodreads.com
Length: 416 pages (Paperback)
Source: Review Copy
Available Formats: Print/E-book
Publication Date: June 11th 2013 by Touchstone
 
Astor Place Vintage was one of those books that kind of snuck up on me when I read it. I love novels like this one told in alternating points of view but sadly I haven't read that many novels with a historical back drop featuring writing like that. Astor Place Vintage really showcased how applying that writing style can be used to create a wonderfully complex and heartfelt novel full of detail and  character.
 
When I was reading Astor Place Vintage I was immediately struck by how much detail and research went into writing the novel. There was a real richness to the writing and I could tell that the author really put a lot of love, effort and imagination into getting the setting of 1907 and I really felt like Stephanie Lehmann really brought the story of Olive and Amanda to life.
 
The novel focuses on two very different yet very similar women, Amanda and Olive both from New York and both incredibly well created. I loved the realism that the author used in creating them and how original both characters were. I can't even begin to chose which character I loved the most so I'm really going to have to say I loved and related to both of them equally.
 
The plot of the novel was really interesting to me. I don't know much about New York at the turn of the 1900's so this one gave me a nice insight into that time period and makes me want to read more about the era so I really have to commend Stephenie Lehmann for sparking my interest. I liked the way Amanda grew as a character through her reading of Olive's Journal and how a woman from a different time was able to change her in so many ways.
 
Overall, Astor Place Vintage has made it on to my favourite books of 2013 and all time. With engaging characters and two stories of love, loss, triumph and personal growth I loved both of the characters so much and found myself laughing, crying and feeling a whirlwind of other emotions while I read the novel. With a fast pace, beautiful writing and a unique way of telling her story I think I can safely say that Stephanie Lehmann has gained a new die hard fan.
 
Astor Place Vintage is a novel I would recommend to all fans of historical fiction, especially those readers who enjoy historical fiction that has splint points of view between two different characters and two different eras. This book is one of those books that'll sweep you off your feet and remind you that we can all be inspired by those who have come before us if we just take a chance.
 
 
*I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my free and honest review. All thoughts and opinions expressed herein are 100% my own.
 
I read this book for the following reading challenges:
 
2013 150+ Reading Challenge
2013 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge
 
Really It!
★★★★
 
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Author Bio:
 
 
Stephanie Lehmann
 
Stephanie Lehmann received her B.A. at U.C. Berkeley and an M.A. In English from New York University. She has taught novel writing at Mediabistro and online at Salon.com, where her essays have been published. Like Olive and Amanda, she lives in New York City.
 

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