Download The Red Leather Diary: Reclaiming a Life Through the Pages of a Lost Journal Audiobook

The Red Leather Diary: Reclaiming a Life Through the Pages of a Lost Journal Audiobook, by Lily Koppel Extended Sample Click for printable size audiobook cover
Author: Lily Koppel Narrator: Johanna Parker Publisher: HarperCollins Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: February 2012 ISBN: 9780062190703
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (1,814 ratings) (rate this audio book)
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THE RED LEATHER DIARY lay silent for more than three quarters of a century. The trunk in which it was hidden languished among other artifacts in the basement of 98 Riverside Drive, a vintage pre-war apartment building on the Upper West Side. In 2003 the management decided to empty the abandoned storage bins and cart it all to a dumpster. Some passers-by jimmied open the locks in search of old money. Others stared transfixed, as if gazing into a shipwreck. The diary was fished out of the dumpster by a doorman and given to resident and New York Times journalist, Lily Koppel. As she read the words on the leather bound pages, Koppel discovered a fairytale set in Manhattan during the Depression and the glowing world of a flapper and 1930s glamour girl.

“This book belongs to…Florence Wolfson” was the only clue left for Koppel. Who was this platinum blonde who wrote with such passion? Compelled by the stories and the lost New York captured so well by this teenaged author, Koppel set out to find the diary’s owner. One day, a chance call by a private investigator leads Koppel to Wolfson, now 90 years old, living in Connecticut with her husband of 67 years. Wolfson is mesmerized by how well the diary had been preserved and the life she had almost forgotten filled with art, theater, salons and many lovers (chief among them Eva Le Gallienne and the son of an Italian count, Filippo Canaletti Gaudenti Da Sirola).

In THE RED LEATHER DIARY Koppel recreates the world in which Wolfson lived and captured so prominently. It is a portal that leads readers to a lost world, a world in which New York is the centerpiece and life is filled with glamour and new beginnings. Similar to Mary Cantwell’s Manhattan Memoir, this is a book that will make readers fall in love with New York all over again.

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Listener Reviews

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  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Angie | 2/13/2014

    " I liked this book but didn't love it. I thought there would be more from the diary. Most of the story was just that.. a story. The entries from the diary are just one sentence... not a whole entry. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Lori | 2/8/2014

    " This was a decent book, I usually read dark memoirs, this was a healthy change of pace. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Alex | 2/1/2014

    " Amazingly the author took a great gift of a story idea that fell right into her lap and turned it into a fairly terrible read. Some good parts, but not worth reading the whole book for. She should have just let the woman that actually wrote the diary in the first place write the book. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Amanda | 1/27/2014

    " Terrible book. Only got through half of it. It's the true story of a spoiled rich girl growing up in Manhattan during the Great Depression. Could not feel for this character and her extravagant life when the majority of the country at that time was waiting in bread lines. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Juliette | 1/21/2014

    " I really wanted to like this book. The idea that the author found an old diary, and then located the still-living diarist, is amazing. However, the writing was really awkward and sort of boring. It didn't help that Koppel wrote so heavily in the past tense. I agree with another reviewer who wrote that the best thing about this book is the premise. I only read up to page 78 and called it quits. I rarely give up on a book, but life is too short to waste on something sort of boring like this. As a side note, I do think that this would make a really interesting movie. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Sally | 1/18/2014

    " I have really enjoyed reading this book. Not only is the story behind the story fascinating, but the story that the book tells was quite intriguing to me. I think Lily Koppel has done a masterful job at taking the research that she has done on New York during the 1930's and creating a wonderful setting for the life and times of the girl who originally kept the journal. I like the sense of adventure that both Lily and Frances show: Lily in pursuing the story she felt must be told, and Frances in living such a remarkable youth. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Rachel | 1/17/2014

    " Didn't care for this one. Did a LOT of skimming. Wouldn't recommend it. I didn't really care about what the owner of the diary was feeling or what was happening in her life. There was no connection for me with the writer of the diary. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jennifer | 1/13/2014

    " Really more of a three and a half stars for me. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Miranda | 1/8/2014

    " An interesting peek into the life of a teenager in the 1930's in New York City, biographical, based on an old diary found by the author and interviews with the 90-year old woman who had kept the diary. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jeanne | 12/17/2013

    " I love historical fiction and this tells a touching story, by way of a discovered diary, of New York in the 1930s "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Ms. | 11/19/2013

    " The idea of it kept me reading. I like that the author found a diary, found the woman and then wrote about her life as well as there were pictures. The writing is not great and there's a lot of social name dropping I don't get. Still enjoyed it though... "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Katie | 11/18/2013

    " What a story! I just loved Florence, who I began to think of as flapper-era New York's answer to a Doris Lessing heroine. (She reminds me very much of Martha Quest, in particular.) What a fascinating life and serendipidous tale of a chance encounter with the living past. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Renee | 11/17/2013

    " this is a weird book, couldn't get through it. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Laurie | 11/13/2013

    " This was an easy, entertaining read. I enjoyed parts of it, particularly those that dealt with old New York. However, the intimate details of the subject's life grew weary, and there was quite a bit of name-dropping involving people I could not relate to. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Dawn | 10/9/2013

    " This was a fascinating look at early 1900's New York City seen through the eyes of a 15-19 year old girl. Well put together with the diary and the interviews with the diarist. Worth the read, definately; but especially if you are interested in New York City. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Hanna | 9/28/2013

    " I enjoyed the descriptions of NY in the 20s and 30s, but honestly the description of the girl's life was poorly written and just made her look like a typical bored girl with money looking for a quick thrill. If it was meant to be inspirational...it fell short. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Paula | 2/8/2013

    " If you are interested in stories that come from other people's stuff (which I am) this is a great book. If you are not interested in those things, you'll probably be bored. Still, it is well written for what it is. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Amy | 10/4/2012

    " A voyeuristic glimpse into the life of a young woman in the 1920's. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Pam | 9/24/2012

    " Found this a bit annoying. The woman who wrote the diary was in love with herself. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jade | 8/27/2012

    " My review can be found HERE "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Briony | 8/25/2012

    " I read this book in one night - I was sucked in from the first page. Such a good book. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Donna | 6/2/2012

    " I'm not sure what I think of this book...in many ways I was more curious about the author, Lily Koppel, and the twist of fate which led her to the discovery of the diary and the startling discovery that the author was still alive and well. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Beth | 3/21/2012

    " I really loved this book. What a wonderful gift as a writer to find such a story and such a woman. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Sandy | 3/15/2012

    " I didn't really plan on liking this book. I enjoyed it very much. I loved the atmosphere lily shared and I love that rhe real characters were fleshed out under the circumstances. I will watch for more from her. "

About the Author

Lily Koppel is the bestselling author of The Red Leather Diary: Reclaiming a Life Through the Pages of a Lost Journal. She has written for the New York Times, the New York Times Magazine, the New York Times Book Review, the Huffington Post, and Glamour.

About the Narrator

Johanna Parker is an Audie and Earphone Award–winning actress living and working in San Francisco. Since narrating her first audiobook in 2002, she has received praise for her work in all genres, including her portrayal of Sookie Stackhouse in Charlaine Harris’ Southern Vampire books. She received her BFA in acting from Boston University and studied Shakespeare at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London. She has performed on stages in London, Los Angeles, Seattle, and New York and has numerous film and television credits. As a voice-over actress, she has voiced commercials, video games, documentaries, and websites.