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 Olive looks forward to a time when repressive Victorian ideas have been replaced by more modern ways of thinking.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.
If you love New York and it’s rich history this is a must-read. I am a huge fan of parallel narratives, one past, one present, (Blood Moon is written that way) and this one is beautifully done. Both Amanda and Olive are vibrant, likable, easy-to-relate-to characters. Their struggles, emotions and triumphs pulled me in and kept me wondering how everything would work itself out. The historical details from New York in the early 1900’s are so fascinating and weaved into the story perfectly. Alive and pulsing, the scenes in this book made me want to take another trip to the Big City.
An enjoyable historical read! To learn more or purchase the book, visit astorplacevintage.com
Content Note: Two sex scenes, one mildly descriptive, one slightly more descriptive, some candid wondering by Olive about sex and a woman’s sexual nature, and a slightly descriptive birth scene.