Sarah Lester’s parents have mysteriously disappeared, leaving her with The Old Curiosity Shop, an antique shop on the verge of financial ruin. Trying desperately to maintain the shop, which is the last link with her parents, Sarah takes on the contents of a deceased estate including a pile of intriguing postcards, apparently written during the Second World War. Her interest catapults her into other times and dimensions which seem to relate to her parents’ disappearance.
Kirsten McKenzie has written a very unusual novel: part time travel, part historical, and part antique review. Sarah’s adventures in other times and other continents, linked together by the postcards and the antiques, are well researched and entertainingly written. The twists and turns are a little frenetic, and the reader can sometimes feel as if they are running to keep up. At times the plot is somewhat convoluted and a little unbelievable, but Sarah is an engaging heroine, and the need to know what happens next overrides these minor inconsistencies.
This is a very striking debut novel with an ending that is unexpected and implies a sequel. I await that sequel with interest.