SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

September 27, 2013

'Astor Place Vintage' author reads in Danvers

By Will Broaddus
Staff writer

---- — There’s an art to getting writers to read at your library, especially when you have a limited budget.

“It’s definitely a process, where we try to build relationships with authors and publishers,” said Donna Maturi, head of reference and information services at Peabody Institute Library in Danvers.

They like to showcase new writers at Danvers, and publicists who appreciate the exposure for clients are sometimes happy to arrange readings with established talents.

That is the case with Wednesday’s reading by Stephanie Lehmann, whose “Astor Place Vintage” is her fifth novel.

“I believe the publicist for this author contacted us, and we were thrilled,” Maturi said.

Lehmann’s novel depicts two women in New York City who have parallel interests but live a century apart.

Amanda runs a vintage clothing shop at Astor Place in 2007 and discovers a journal hidden in the lining of a fox stole.

It had belonged to Olive, who moved to New York in 1907 with her father, hoping to establish herself as a buyer for a major department store.

The novel unfolds as a kind of dialogue between these two independent spirits who love fashion and relish life in the city.

While Lehmann’s first four novels were all set in the present, this is her first work to explore historical material, and it includes around a dozen black-and-white photos of New York at the turn of the last century.

On her website, she said these pictures were culled from hundreds that she’d downloaded, which were “a huge source of inspiration throughout the writing of my novel.”

The reading allows Lehmann to present her book to the public and gives library patrons an opportunity to talk to an author in person, Maturi said.

“We thought it would be a great fit,” she said. “It’s a win-win all around.”