Sunday, January 26, 2014

A Vintage Affair

By Isabel Wolff

Phoebe Swift worked for Sotheby's in the textile department. She evaluated vintage clothing and conducted auctions. But events in her personal life led her to reevaluate her priorities and quit Sotheby's and open her own vintage clothing shop.
Her best friend, Emma, died unexpectedly and Phoebe felt she had let her down. Phoebe also blamed her fiance who she felt had her talked into ignoring Emma's last phone call to Phoebe. Emma had called her a lot that last day, saying she wasn't feeling well and asking Phoebe to stop by. But Phoebe put off visiting Emma until the next morning but by then it was too late. And Phoebe blamed it all on Guy, who she believed had talked her into staying with him that night. She was so upset, she broke off the engagement and refused to have any contact with him. This was also when she quit her job at Sotheby's.
Sometime after opening her own shop, Phoebe met a woman who was selling off some old clothes. Phoebe found out in talking to the elderly woman that she too had been burdened all her life with guilt from betraying and letting down her friend when they were young teens in pre-World War II France. The friend, a Jewish girl, was captured and shipped off to a German concentration camp through the inadvertent actions of her friend.
This story, with the old lady's regrets so similar to what Phoebe herself was feeling about Emma, captured her attention and, on a buying trip to France, Phoebe did a little investigating into the old lady's story. But when she presented her finding to the woman she became distraught and asked her not to continue looking into her friend's fate.
Meanwhile, with her shop prospering, Phoebe finds her romantic life heating up. An attractive and successful older man has been courting her and she really likes him a lot. But the man has a teenage daughter who is spoiled rotten and is resentful of her father's attentions to Phoebe, which doesn't bode well for the budding relationship. Luckily there is a handsome young newspaper reporter waiting to step in if given the opportunity.

I enjoyed this book quite a lot. Not the typical romance novel, the story is more about Phoebe's guilt over Emma's death than it is about making a love connection. The story of the old lady and her Jewish friend was also very interesting and added a lot to the novel. The end was quite satisfying too. This was a real good read.

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