Before Carrie and the gals of Sex and the City were taking Manhattan by storm, Marjorie Hart and her best friend Marty Garrett were University of Iowa undergrads who ventured from the Midwest to the Big Apple for an unforgettable summer in 1945. Their rose-tinted memories form the basis of Marjorie's memoir, Summer at Tiffany. I first heard about the book via a publicist's email; intrigued by the synopsis and the nostalgic appeal of the story, I requested a review copy.
Marjorie and Marty found jobs as pages on the sales floor of the illustrious Tiffany flagship on Fifth Avenue--the first female pages at Tiffany. (A shortage of employable men during the war prompted this decision. Traditionally, the jobs were held by blue-blooded young men looking for "respectable" summer employment.)
The book chronicles their summer in loving detail. For modern readers, it's definitely an interesting glimpse into the past. I was captivated by the somber, sophisticated atmosphere of the 1940s Tiffany that Hart described, where male salesmen rapped glass countertops with diamond rings to summon the pages, who would take away items for repair or alteration. On any given day, a gangster or a Hollywood star would stop by to repair a watch or pick out a wedding gift.
Summer at Tiffany is also an interesting slice of social history with its firsthand accounts of life at the infamous jewelry store and the social lives of the girls outside of work. (Picture dances and double dates with cute servicemen and good times with friends on the town, as well as the indescribable excitement of celebrating the end of WWII in Times Square.) Of course, as a fashion blogger, I also savoured the descriptions of the clothes women wore during this era.
Author Marjorie Hart
Overall I really enjoyed Summer at Tiffany and found it to be a breezy fun read, perfect for the beach or sunny days in the park. Look for it in bookstores, visit the book's website, and follow Marjorie on Twitter at @tiffanylady!