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"If history lessons had been this entertaining, I would have scored an A+!." -Andrene Low, author of the Excess Baggage series
"This story is one for devotees of adventurous historical fiction and tales of plucky young women finding their feet." -Stephanie Jones, CoastFM Book Reviewer
"I think the author has done a commendable job in bringing the story to life and it's obvious that she has used extensive historical research to ensure that the story always feels authentic and that's not an easy feat to pull off." -JaffaReadsToo, Book Blogger
About the Author
For many years Kirsten McKenzie worked in her family's antique store, where she went from being allowed to sell the 50c postcards to selling $5,000 Worcester vases and seventeenth century silverware, providing a unique insight into the world of antiques which touches every aspect of her writing.
Now a full time author, her historical fiction novels Fifteen Postcards and its sequel The Last Letter have been described as 'Time Travellers Wife meets The Far Pavilions', and 'Antiques Roadshow gone viral'.
Her horror novel Painted was released in June 2017.
She lives in New Zealand with her husband, daughters, and her SPCA rescue cat, and can be found procrastinating on Twitter.
Kirsten McKenzie’s Fifteen Postcards. Ever wonder what happens to people who just disappear, leaving no trace, never to be heard from again? Or do you ever stand outside your door on a town side-street and wonder, what was it like here, in this exact spot, one hundred years ago? Are you fascinated by the way family intertwines through time, with questions like Who’s child is that? and did you know such-and-such was that persons great-great grandfather? If you are intrigued by those issues, you should read Kirsten McKenzie’s novel, Fifteen Postcards, for one possible, incredible, intriguing explanation. Present day London-based Sarah Lester, a ‘gifted procrastinator, who cries in movies and even emotionally poignant commercials’ but is ‘unafraid of spiders or tigers, or madmen and monsters’, has prematurely inherited her parent's antique shop, the Old Curiosity Shop, for a very particular reason. They have both disappeared, her mother first, then her father, without a trace. Sarah is determined to keep the shop going. From having run a stationary shop, this reviewer can vouch for the fact that the author knows small off beat shops and the people who frequent them. Those who want to purchase, but don’t have the money; those who want to chat. All sorts come into stationary shops and, it seems, antique shops. One day she receives a call to clear out an old estate, and Sarah’s whole life changes. She is one step closer to understanding what happened to her parents. The book is structured on fifteen pillars, the fifteen postcards that are part of the goods Sarah purchases from the old Williams estate, fifteen postcards ‘in an old biscuit tin from an old estate’. Each chapter is headed with a name such as ‘The Riot’, ‘The Basement’, and so on. This is an excellent idea which is not so popular now as it was. However, what would be a great help, especially for Kindle readers, would be if they were incorporated into a Table of Contents (toc). From that point on, on touching certain objects in the shop, Sarah begins a journey backward through time and then forward again, returning to her shop in present day London. While the book starts with a cosy-read feel, this escalates during the course of the novel. Some of the places she finds herself are extremely dangerous, but also very romantic, leading in one specific case to a very amorous encounter between Sarah and that of a man whose life she saves. The historical background details are very well researched To add to the danger, she is no longer safe either in present day London, because a descendant of the deceased estate, one horrible individual called Benjamin Grey, is stalking Sarah. He has discovered that she has come into possession of valuable family heirlooms, which he claims were stolen from him. At one point, when she is transported back to present day London from Nineteenth-century New Zealand, she is followed through time by an unwitting but dangerous stalker. The author skilfully and I believe, poignantly, weaves a connection between all the people, places and objects Sarah stumbles across. The end is poignant and left this reviewer thinking ‘Wow! That is so sad and incredible’. But it couldn’t happen—or could it?
Mention antiques and I'm hooked. I enjoyed the concept of Fifteen Postcards and how each of the postcards led the story forward. The detailed research of the places that Sarah 'visited' was superb. I found Sarah a little bit of an air-head at times, but that's a minor point, and it took me a while to make the connections from the past to the people of the present. If you like a story that leaves you wondering what happens next, then this is the one. The story doesn't end, but leaves two threads hanging for you to catch on to. There must be a sequel - check out McKenzie's next book.
In ‘Fifteen Postcards’ Kirsten McKenzie has built a magical, multi-layered flash back to our recent past – Victorian England, the British colonialization of India, New Zealand missionary and goldrush days. This time-travel world is made all the more intriguing by the fact that the parents of Sarah, the main character, are themselves hovering in differing moments in the past, while other characters from the various past times that Sarah is whisked off to recur from scene to scene. The time travel episodes are bound together by Sarah’s real-world, modern-day life as a second-hand and antiques shop owner in London. McKenzie’s historical scenes are well researched, and her modern-day London scenes reveal a fascinating side of the world of antique auctions. Her taut writing skills keep the many threads of this story separate but resolutely pulling towards the inevitable, dramatic climax. Although the book could be taken to end on the last page, I’m certainly hoping that Sarah’s adventures won't belong in continuing in a sequal.
This book was a mixture of time travel and antiques road show gone viral. Sarah Lester's parents have gone missing one at a time from their second hand shop and now Sarah has gone missing. And she has returned only to go missing again. When she finds what causes the time travel she uses it to do just that. Couple of things that stood out. The book was long and rather bogged down with lots of good research but no real identified plot except find her parents but it was really not the focus overall. The time and lives she interacted with were. Her detail was great but sometimes the postcards were hard to see their relevance. Also, when anything physical as in accidents, etc happened to Sarah, she returned home with those impediments but once she came back with one physical issue but not the other. So it was quite enjoyable but I would have loved a short series instead with each travel one book. But if you are a history buff, you will like this.
Well Done Kirsten McKenzie! I absolutely loved this book. You drew me in to Sarah's world and what a world it was! The weaving of your writing was so clever and I just couldn't stop turning pages.... The story line intrigued me and I originally thought it may have got a little obscure but the talent of the story teller left me wanting more and enveloped me into the story with open arms. The ending wasn't at all what I expected - again clever writing left me hanging till the last page! Highly recommend.
Now this is not really the genre that I choose to read, however a friend convinced me to give it a go and I was extremely pleased that I did! Great pace, brilliant lead character and some entertaining moments. Well researched historical events and the author obviously has a great knowledge of a wide variety of antiques. The language was beautifully descriptive and I certainly have a picture in my mind of items, people and locations. An ending that left me eager to pre-order the sequel!