Astor Place Vintage used both Amanda and Olive in two different times to focus on their experiences of being single women living in New York. Olive’s story connected with Amanda’s when Amanda was contacted to place several old items found in an elderly woman’s basement on consignment in her vintage store. I identified with Amanda’s draw toward New York’s history and interest in the lives of the prior generations who inhabited her neighborhood.
Amanda’s interest in such topics led her to relax by reading a mysterious journal written by Olive that Amanda found among the items she accepted on consignment. Yet, that was about the extent of my interest in Amanda’s life. Her entanglement with a married man was a bit of a negative for me. She came off as needy and desperate, two qualities I don’t like in heroines. I also didn’t find her story to be relevant to Olive’s. Amanda didn’t learn or gain anything from Olive’s tale, and ultimately, her portion of the book just felt like filler.
On the other hand, I loved Olive’s story of a young woman desperate to make a name for herself in a society where women were overlooked and underpaid. When her father died, the opportunity for Olive to spread her wings and seek gainful employment was suddenly a necessity. Olive used her knowledge of cosmetics to bluff her way into a job at a department store, where she flourished as a salesgirl. Earning a wage of mere dollars a week left her with few housing options and mandated that she lived far below the standard to which she was accustomed. Olive was my favorite character because she was spunky and bright. The author did a great job of using Olive’s feminist ideals as motivations for her story.
This was a good read, but the ending happened to quickly and the connection between Amanda and Olive didn’t make a huge impact on either character. The flat ending was disappointing and didn’t make this novel stand out to me.