From Touchstone/Simon & Schuster
In “Astor Place Vintage,” a novel by New York-based writer Stephanie Lehmann (Touchstone Books/Simon & Schuster), the past and present intertwine through the stories of two women—one longing to succeed in a rapidly modernizing world and the other clinging tightly to yesterday. Lehmann celebrate the release of her novel – which has received rave reviews from esteemed writers and critics – in Brooklyn on June 27, with a reading and signing at Bay Ridge’s BookMarke Shoppe.
When Astor Place Vintage shop owner Amanda Rosenbloom visits the Manhattan apartment of aging socialite Jane Kelly, she thinks she is on just another call to appraise and purchase clothing from a wealthy, elderly woman. Yet after discovering a century-old journal concealed in the lining of a fur muff, Amanda is irresistibly drawn into the life and times of Olive Wescott, a young woman who moved to New York with her father in 1907.
Twenty-year-old Olive lives at a time when Victorian ideals that limited a woman's sphere to marriage and motherhood are just beginning to give way. She has ambitions to become a department store buyer, but when her father dies, Olive is left on the brink of poverty and must take a low-paying job as salesgirl at the Siegel-Cooper Department Store. (The building still stands today as Bed, Bath & Beyond on 18th Street & 6th Avenue.) Olive is determined to survive, and even thrive, in her drastically reduced circumstances.
As Amanda continues to read Olive's journal, her life begins to unravel until she can no longer ignore the haunting words. With the lease on her shop set to expire and her love life falling apart, Amanda is even more frustrated by questions that linger beyond the diary's final entries. As she begins to piece together the truth, Amanda finds that she is connected to Olive in ways neither could have imagined and, by understanding the past, is finally able to embrace her own future.
With historical photographs and details throughout, Astor Place Vintage takes readers on a fascinating tour of New York City both at the turn of the century and today.
The June 27 event will begin at 7:30 p.m. The BookMark Shoppe is located at 8415 3rd Avenue in Bay Ridge.
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 at Salon.com, where her essays have been published. Like Olive and Amanda, she lives in New York City. Visit AstorPlaceVintage.com to learn more.