#Review : Best Kept Secret (The Clifton Chronicles #3) by Jeffrey Archer

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Best Kept Secret (The Clifton Chronicles #3) by Jeffrey Archer
Publication Date: March 6th 2013
Publisher: Pan Macmillan
Genre: Historical Fiction
Pages: 381
Stars: ★★★★☆ (4.5)

The third novel in Jeffrey Archer’s compelling saga, the Clifton Chronicles

1945. The vote in the House of Lords as to who should inherit the Barrington family fortune has ended in a tie. The Lord Chancellor’s deciding vote will cast a long shadow on the lives of Harry Clifton and Giles Barrington.

Harry returns to America to promote his latest novel, while his beloved Emma goes in search of the little girl who was found abandoned in her father’s office on the night he was killed.

When the General Election is called, Giles Barrington has to defend his seat in the House of Commons and is horrified to discover who the Conservatives select to stand against him. But it is Sebastian Clifton, Harry and Emma’s son, who ultimately influences his uncle’s fate.

In 1957, Sebastian wins a scholarship to Cambridge, and a new generation of the Clifton family march onto the page. After Sebastian is expelled from school, he unwittingly becomes caught up in an international art fraud involving a Rodin statue that is worth far more than the sum it raises at auction. Does he become a millionaire? Does he go to Cambridge? Is his life in danger?

Best Kept Secret was most dramatic in The Clifton Chronicles series so far. It revolved around Clifton and Barrington’s life after dispute on inheritance of Barrington estate. New phase, new obstacles, and new enemies in their life. There was bit of everything, family drama, rivalry, court room drama, revenge, family support and love, loss, suspense, entertainment, politics, money and art fraud.

What I Liked-

The writing was amazing, I’m getting used to author’s style and I know what to expect from his books. Again the story was divided in time period tht started from 1945 and ended in 1957 narrated by Harry, Sebastian, Giles and Fisher. What I love most in this series is narration from antagonist. It spiced up stories in each book and so in this.

Book started from where the previous one ended. There was little overview on what happened in previous books, enough to catch up if you are picking book after a little gap but I suggest you read this book in order to get the clear picture.

The prologue concluded who inherited the fortunes of Barrington estate, which was satisfactory and relief for readers. Emma and Harry started their new life, Harry’s was now popular author and was on his journey to Time’s bestselling author; Emma started looking for Jessica, her half-sister and was planning to adopt her; Giles was quite successful, going to fight election for MP and was engaged. You would think what can go wrong! But by this time I should have known Barringtons and Cliftons are never ever short of troubles. There was loss of beloved family member that sparked the fire of trouble. And that trouble came in form of Giles’ wife, Lady Virginia and old nemesis Fisher. Not just that but Harry and Emma were facing their own parental issues.

Virginia and Fisher was dangerous combination. I couldn’t wait to see what they were up to and how Giles and other family member were going to fight them. Things were getting so dramatic, juicier, and entreating. I literally couldn’t put down the book. And just when one problem was solved, Seb got himself into bigger trouble, was caught in net of criminal and art fraud. It was exciting to read how Emma and Harry were going to save their son and what would be Seb’s future.

Character were developed and were growing wise and clever in as the series progressed by experiencing different phase and problem in life. I loved Jessica and Seb’s bonding. Seb was much clever, smarter and mature for his age. Martinez’s introduction and his life story was brilliant and even Virginia was mind-blowing. Emma never cease to awe me. She was fabulous in the book. Both old and new characters shined throughout the book.

The setting was perfect and I loved historical aspects in the book. Harry’s narration told about the publication industry, different publications styles in UK and US, mentions of famous authors and actors of the era. Emma’s narration told about the struggle of educated women, beginning of their rights and position in various industry. Gile’s story told about the politics, political system, thoughts about change in divorce law, election battles, and voting system during that time. I’m not big fan of politics but author’s writing style made it intriguing. Seb’s part dealt with art fraud which covered whole third half of the book. This was big surprise and very exciting portion, and I could figure out which secret title was referring to in this part. It will be best you don’t know much about it.

Twist and turns, climax it all was great. There were many surprising, tense, and edgier moments that kept me flipping pages. I can’t believe Clifton and Barrington made a new enemy who was deadlier than Virginia and Fisher combination. End was big cliffhanger. I can’t wait to read what this new enemy is going to do to next.

Why 4.5 stars-

Just small issue- Things were overly dramatic at some points. Seb’s teen trouble was given a bit more portion. I must say I liked second book more than this one.

Overall, it was dramatic, entertaining, suspenseful family saga with many twists and turns and interesting historical aspects. I really enjoyed this book.

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Let’s discuss!

What do you think about the book and my review? Have you read this book already or any in this series or any book by Jeffrey Archer? Are you going to add it to TBR?  Are you fan of historical fiction? Recommend your series favorite in this genre? Nothing Ventured, first in William Warwick  series is released this month. The main character of this new series was mentioned throughout Clifton Chronicles. What do you think about it? Are you going to read it?

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#Review : The Sins of the Father (The Clifton Chronicles #2) by Jeffrey Archer

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The Sins of the Father (The Clifton Chronicles #2) by Jeffrey Archer
Publication Date: March 2012
Publisher: Pan Macmillan
Genre: Historical Fiction
Pages: 384
Stars: ★★★★★

New York, 1939. Tom Bradshaw is arrested for first degree murder. He stands accused of killing his brother. When Sefton Jelks, a top Manhattan lawyer, offers his services for nothing, penniless Tom has little choice but to accept his assurance of a lighter sentence. After Tom is tried, found guilty and sentenced, Jelks disappears, and the only way for him to prove his innocence would be to reveal his true identity – something that he has sworn never to do in order to protect the woman he loves.

Meanwhile, the young woman in question travels to New York, leaving their only son behind in England, having decided she’ll do whatever it takes to find the man she was to marry – unwilling to believe that he died at sea. The only proof she has is a letter. A letter that has remained unopened on a mantelpiece in Bristol for over a year.

In Jeffrey Archer’s epic novel, family loyalties are stretched to their limits as secrets unravel, and the story moves from the backstreets of Bristol to the boardrooms of Manhattan. Join the great storyteller on a journey where there are no stop signs, no cul-de-sacs and no dead ends. 

The Sins of the Father, sequel of Only Time Will Tell, was great historical fiction that was filled with amazing characterization, family dynamics, twist and turns, and clever plot. It was about love, friendship, hardship, family drama, resilience, determination and hope.

I haven’t read anything like this before. This is so original and exceptional and I could see why this series is so famous. Writing was simple but still had a pull that makes it unputdowanable. Book was narrated from Harry, Emma, Giles and Hugo’s perspective. Style was same. It was divided in time period that started from 1939 and ended in 1945.

There were many things that was better than first book. First, there was no repetitiveness in plot. Same time period said the story from different perspective but this time they were in different situation and in different setting. Harry in prison, Giles fighting Germans in WWII and Emma on her adventure of finding Harry, and Hugo hiding from his father and adding more sins to long list. Second, the plot and pace was much better. Era of WWII was seamlessly incorporated in characters’ life that had huge impact in their development. Third, there were some new characters both good and bad. They all were creative, good going through lot of hardship, bad using their power to crusg good ones but they all got what they deserved. And I loved old characters even more. Not villains, obviously!

Book started from where the first book ended, with Harry being trialed for crime he didn’t commit in New York. He assumed a false identity with stupid reason that he mentioned in previous book. He trusted a lawyer to get out of the mess who betrayed him and was sentenced for 6 years. Who will think about taking lessons on prisons and prisons etiquettes while on way to prison convicted of crime you never committed? Harry does! Now you might think he just spent his years in monotonous prison life, but it’s not possible when you are reading Clifton chronicle.

Harry quickly made friends, got rid of another bully and found a way to get his desired job at prison. But I have to admit he was too naïve, too humble to trust those who can ruin him. He was clever, smart and never missed opportunity to learn something. I almost forgot what his dream career was until I saw it taking shape. I even liked his prison friend. Same goes to Giles and his new friend Bates.

Giles surprised me in lot of ways. First he proved not to be like his father by being recruited in army and not just that but was quickly promoted for his bravery. His friendship with Bates was great to read. His training, camp officers, war and POW scenes were flawless, it felt like playing movie in mind. He grew lot during this time was whole new person at the end of it.

Hugo was once again utter bastard. He was so manipulative and once he found his way to get hold on money he once again started snooping in Maisie and His family’s life. I was now desperate to count his days. I couldn’t understand, why Maisie’s happiness troubled him? One can see how low this despicable character can go. He was true villain of the book.

Even after repeatedly stricken by Hugo, Maisie was most fortunate woman, who fell in love and had more than one proposals. She handled her worst time so bravely that I admire her for her strength and courage.

Emma steal the show this time. In first book you might easily consider her as side character as it was based for protagonist, Harry, and beginning of his life journey, but here she outshone Harry and I loved it. She was quick to learn language of America and not just literally but in all other aspects. She had her own style and personality. She proved to be true blood of Lord Harvey and Sir Walter Barrington. She knew how to turn tables, how to present her point that have fullest impact and how to get things she wanted even in foreign country. I enjoyed her narration most in the book. It was so exciting to see her in action.

All characters’ journey was interesting kept me flipping the pages to know what new will happen next. Twist and turns were brilliant. I could see where things were going at some point, but couldn’t guess how all character will get out of their complicated situations. Author surprised me during Hugo’s narration and end of it was totally unpredictable. I was even bouncing like Emma reading all events from climax to end. End was, again a cliffhanger! I should get used to cliffhanger for rest of the series. It ended it at such crucial point that was about to decide fates of Emma and Harry that now I have to start third book as soon as possible.

Overall, it was gripping, steady paced, clever and exceptional family saga, with interesting turns and characters, set during WWII that I surely recommend to reader of this genre.

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What do you think about the book and review? Have you read it already or any book in this series? Are you going to add it to TBR? Do you like to read historical fictions and family saga? Have you read any falling in this theme? If so, recommend me your favorite book.

Share your thoughts in the comment-box below.

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Only Time Will Tell (The Clifton Chronicles #1) by Jeffrey Archer

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Only Time Will Tell (The Clifton Chronicles #1) by Jeffrey Archer
Publication Date: September 1st 2011 (first published May 12th 2011)
Publisher: Pan Publishing
Read Date: July 6th 2019
Genre: Historical Fiction / Literary Fiction
Pages: 450
Stars:
★★★★ / 5

The epic tale of Harry Clifton’s life begins in 1920, with the chilling words, ‘I was told that my father was killed in the war’. But it will be another 20 years before Harry discovers how his father really died, which will only lead him to question: who was his father?

Only Time Will Tell was interesting historical fiction and family saga that revolved around main character Harry Clifton, his life story from birth to childhood to love, a journey of son of dockworker from dock and streets to school, education, university and war. It was about family, friendship, money, power, struggle, misfortunes and tragedy. And as blurb says, uncovering the family mystery, finding out what really happened to Harry’s father or was he really his father?

After a long time I don’t have a clue how to write review! It’s not like the book was bad in fact opposite, it was simply amazing. But I don’t know from where should I start and how much should I tell without giving away much.

I will start with writing style, as I loved it most. It was different and uniquely told one story in different timeline by different perspective. It was beautifully narrated that hooked me from the very beginning. The plot was character driven that was basically was set between end of WWI and start of WWII. It was divided in sections, a different time periods from 1919 to 1933 and 1936 from the perspective of Harry Clifton, his mother Maisie, Hugo Barrington, his son – Giles and daughter – Emma, and Old Jack. Each characters told the story in same timeline until 1936, a major turning point of the story. Then it continued up to 1940 when Brittan got involved in WWII.

Prologue was interesting that said how Maisie married to her husband but she made a mistake before marriage which raised a question about Harry’s father from the very beginning.

I loved Harry’s Perspective, first few chapters, that told about his family’s condition, how he consistently asked about his father’s death, how he started doubting story his family told, his singing talent that motivated him to go to school, and how his journey started from a dockworker’s son to smart, educated young man. This portion was filled with friendship between Harry, Giles and Deakins. This trio was amazing. It was clear Giles was not cut from the same cloth. He was much nicer and better human than his father. Probably mother’s influence! I could see how Harry was turning out so smart, clever and better than what he might have been if he stayed at home or followed his uncle’s footsteps. I admired his courage and determination, walking against the stream of whispers and jealous eyes. He was wiser than his age, he understood her mother, what she was doing to pay his school fees.

Then came most touching part of the story and I must say I loved it more than all other perspectives, Maisie’s narration. Story was getting better and better from here. Plot picked up speed, there was lot of drama and emotions in this part. This tells about what happened to Harry’s father, Arthur, not the whole truth just revealed people who might have known what happened that night. Maisie’s struggle as single mother and attempt to get job, pay for her son’s school, her admirers and love, new venture, betrayal, people trying to destroy her, everything was brilliant. I had my guesses who was behind Maisie’s misfortunes but I wanted to know whys. I empathized with Maisie and as a mother I could feel what she was going through. After reading all about her I admired her and she was getting stronger and stronger. She was real inspirational figure in the story.

Hugo Barrington’s narration showed how low a person can go to preserve name, money and power. He was filled with lie, greed, arrogance, and ego. He was real coward who ran away from his responsibilities and to save his name and money he lead all characters to tragedy. Suspense about Harry’s father was good in this part. My wild imagination went lot ahead until it was revealed. It surprised me how this big truth could be buried so long.

I loved old Jack. He proved to be most important in both Harry and his mother’s life and so had his own separate section. This answered added another puzzled piece to how he managed to inspire and motivate Harry, how he helped Maisie. It also surprised me to know how influential he was. His principles, ethics and honesty was even more surprising. I didn’t expect him to speak up the truth at the last moment.

Emma and Harry’s relation was charming. It was not the strongest but turned the tables in the story. I liked how they remained faithful to each other even after knowing the worst truth about their family. Giles was also amazing supportive to their relationship and helped Harry even after disastrous revelation about Harry.

There were many other secondary characters, most were great, and some were unlikable but all affected Harry and Maisie’s life directly or indirectly. I loved the way all characters played their part, helped in growth of Harry and changed his fate entirely. I also loved the setting of dockyard, Bristol, hard times between two major wars of history, education system of the era. Concept was great. The family drama and suspense and characters journey was written flawlessly.

As the climax neared the drama became exciting. Climax was not unexpected but surprising. It changed the paths of all characters. I was not sure what Harry, Emma, and Giles will do about the fact, how other Barringtons will react and how it all will affect Maisie. It turned out brilliant. From climax to end everything was unpredictable. I didn’t like that cliff hanger at the end. Ah, but I’m eager to read next book to see what happened next.

It was little slow for me, especially in beginning. It picked up speed almost after 80 pages. loved different perspective in same timeline but at the same time it repeated small part in all of them as we have already read that part in first time. And that cliffhanger at the end. Was it really necessary!

Overall, it was enjoyable, really interesting, flawlessly written family saga with many great characters. I highly recommend this book to historical and literary fiction lovers.

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WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT THE BOOK AND MY REVIEW? 
HAVE YOU READ THIS BOOK ALREADY OR THIS SERIES? 
ARE YOU GOING TO ADD IT TO TBR?

Tell Tale: Short Stories by Jeffrey Archer

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Expected publication: October 24th 2017 by St. Martin’s Press

Read Date: October 3rd 2017

Pages: 227

Stars: 5/5

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Nearly a decade after his last volume of short stories was published, Jeffrey Archer returns with his eagerly-awaited, brand-new collection TELL TALE, giving us a fascinating, exciting and sometimes poignant insight into the people he has met, the stories he has come across and the countries he has visited during the past ten years.

Find out what happens to the hapless young detective from Naples who travels to an Italian hillside town to find out Who Killed the Mayor? and the pretentious schoolboy in A Road to Damascus, whose discovery of the origins of his father’s wealth changes his life in the most profound way.

Revel in the stories of the 1930’s woman who dares to challenge the men at her Ivy League University in A Gentleman and A Scholar while another young woman who thumbs a lift gets more than she bargained for in A Wasted Hour.

These wonderfully engaging and always refreshingly original tales prove not only why Archer has been compared by the critics to Dahl and Maugham, but why he was described by The Times as probably the greatest storyteller of our age.


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Tell Tale is collection of 13 historical, Fiction short stories. As it is said in the burb, some of the stories author has written based on real incidents he came across during his travel. All stories have few things in common which made the book real amazing.

Perfect title for each story which itself gave the hint of what I will expect in the story.

Drastic twisty ending- I couldn’t guess in most of the stories what will happen in the end. All stories kept thinking what will happen to character, who will be the culprit. Most of the stories had fair ending.

Determined and strong main character – all main characters in different stories were in different occupation and they were brilliant in that story. Even though the stories were short, I got to know all characters closely. I didn’t feel in any story that I was missing out something about the character or I couldn’t understand character’s action.

  1. Unique– Book starts with the 100 words story challenge for author given by an editor of Reader’s digest. What a brilliant start of the book!
  2. Who killed Mayor? – Lieutenant in Naples, was assigned a murder case in the small town Cortoglia.

Conversation of this helpless young man with town people during investigations was so funny and mysterious. Loved he details of town and people there, the way misery of young officer was shown in the book. And my goodness that end! Just brilliant.

  1. View of Auvers-sur-Oise – Tale of Guy who always wanted be detective gets his first case and first arrest. How? That’s the story.

Few stories had beautiful first lines which showed the turning point in one line without giving away anything. This was one of that. This story proves that whatever you learned in life never goes to dumpster even though chose a different profession. It always helps to have knowledge. Guy’s second love of history of art helped him in his first love police detective.

  1. A Gentleman and a Scholar– Dr. Burbage while giving her last lecture, recalls her first day of lecture at Yale.

Here is my most favorite story in whole book. This was the tale about struggle of female professor in the time period when women were not accepted as a professor and when people thought a woman cannot teach a man anything. Our strong lady professor Dr. Burbage did PhD on Shakespeare’s sonnet. And on her first lecture student decided to test her knowledge on whole canon by reading random scenes and asked for about play, act, and scene. That was a tough battle and Dr. Burbage answered them in smart and amazing way. Again mind blowing ending of the story. I simply loved this character.

I knew plays, as I have heard those stories or watched the movies but I never read anything by Shakespeare or know much about him or his work. Even though I enjoyed this story. Discussions about playwrights and debate on his work was brilliantly written that made me wish to read Shakespeare’s work. I felt like I don’t know anything about old literature. This story is for Shakespeare and literature lovers. Reader like me will also love this one.

” ‘How important is it to have good knowledge of the text,’

‘Most important, but not as important as being able to interpret the meaning of the words, so you have a better understanding of the text.’ ”

  1. All is fair in love and War– Tale of two lover and an arrogant man, Ralph, who did all in his power to separate two lovers and forced a woman to marry him. Even after loveless marriage he refused to divorce her and was plotting strategies to punish her.

I never liked that Ralph dude in this story, if you know me you might know I’m highly against forced love and patronizing nature and that character had all of it to earn my dislike. 😉 I was so happy with the ending. This story proves that all is fair in love and war strategy never works against fair fate and God who is watching everything.

  1. Car Parking Attendant– As title says this was story of car parking attendant. One certificate in math, car parking attendant experience and his wife’s problem solving accountant mind helped Joe earn fortune. How? Well, read the story.

Here is second best story of the book that I loved. Brilliant story and ending. I liked both Joe and his wife, Molly in the story. They made one true perfect pairing. I was so amazed by Joe calculative hard working mind and Molly’s intelligence and never ending support.

  1. Road to Damascus, which changed the life of a school boy who found about his family’s business.

This tale was about life changing trip, friendship, history and aftermath of war.

  1. Wasted Hour- tale about a university student who wanted to be writer, thumb ride to college to learn and experience with different kind of people and their life.

I loved character in this story, her consciousness of picking ride and interesting things she learned from those ride was awesome.

  1. The Cuckold– the title says all. Tale about a wife and a best friend cheating a successful lawyer for money.

This story had a shocking ending. It felt little hanging. I wanted to know what happened next especially with Adam and the case.

  1. Holiday of a lifetime– Holiday of a lifetime gives Mr. and Mrs. Pascoe the idea of earning fortune during their retirements.

This story was about the greed of a retired couple. The way they conned people in this story was mind-blowing. Best thing was author has given this story 3 different ending and left for readers to decide which was most suitable. A was no learning, B was too harsh. So I think I will go with C.

  1. Double or quits– Manager of casino try to follows orders by owner to prevent more suicide that they can’t afford.

This was no doubt smart story but also okay. I was smelling swindle from the very beginning but who was actually behind it, came out in the surprising end.

  1. Senior Vice President– Another tale of tricky old chap finds a brilliant way for his retirement.

This was the longest story in the book and I must say what a brilliant story it was! It was also kind of revenge story and finding another way of earning fortune for retirement. There were 2 twists and unpredictable climax in the book. I do not appreciate what Arthur did but also don’t appreciate what bank did to him. This was the only story that I felt little slow because of its length.

  1. A good Toss to Lose- this was the story of English student and German professor. Professor had to leave England because of disputed relationship between countries and meet again with to his student in the middle of war end up standing against each other and to be fair they let toss decide their fate.

This story showed how a war can divide two people but cannot divide their hearts and respect for each other. I admired friendship between characters in this story. The end was tragic and author also told what happened to all character.

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This was my first book by Jeffrey Archer and after reading this fabulous collection, I was kicking myself for not reading his work before. I’m definitely going to read his famous Clifton Chronicles.

Overall, all stories were creative, refreshing, gripping, easy read, and fast paced that everyone will enjoy.  


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Author: Jeffrey Archer

To know more about author click⇒ Here.

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press.

Note: I won ARC via Goodreads giveaways.


What do you think about the book and review? Have you read any book by Jeffrey Archer? Share your thoughts in the comment-box below.

Happy Reading! 🙂

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