By: Jeffrey Archer
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication Date: May 2012
Reviewed by: Mary Lignor
Review Date: July 2012
This novel is the second installment of Jeffrey Archer’s new series called the Clifton Chronicles.
Only Time Will Tell is the first in the series and tells the tale of a family that will cross generations, oceans and very difficult situations. The first book begins with Harry Clifton, a dock worker’s child who is born to Maisie Clifton. As he grows up he develops a talent for music which gets him a scholarship to an exclusive school. At the school he meets boys who are much richer than he but become very good friends of his. This book takes the reader through World War I and the outbreak of WWII when Harry has to decide whether to join the Navy or stay in school.
The second book, The Sins of the Father, is very much a continuation of the first. It is best to read Only Time Will Tell first to gain an understanding of the characters and sitiuations. In the first book, Harry was about to marry Emma Barrington when they found out that the marriage would be a big mistake because Harry’s parentage is questioned. He might be the son of Hugo Barrington, who had a one-nighter with Harry’s mother. This would make Harry and his bride related so Harry decides to join the Merchant Marines rather than get married.
When the ship Harry is on is torpedoed by a German U-Boat, Harry makes a quick decision to take the identity of a passenger who was killed. Why? Because Harry wants a new identity and wants to disappear into New York City. This turns out to be a big blunder because the passenger, Tom Bradshaw, is wanted for murder. Harry, thought to be Tom, is arrested and sent to prison. Now, Harry has more problems than he had before coming to the city. Harry ends up in prison, serving the sentence that was handed down to Tom Bradshaw.
Back in England, Harry’s bride-to-be at the wedding that never happened, Emma Barrington, refuses to believe that Harry is dead and goes to America to prove that Harry is alive and to let him know that he has a son. Emma’s brother, Giles, who is also Harry’s best friend, joins the service of his country and becomes a war hero. This second novel in the series takes readers through WWII and we meet many characters who are both saints and sinners and readers will read avidly to see which sinner gets what he/she deserves and which saint will come up a winner.
Quill Says: This is an excellent story, as Archer’s stories always are however it jumps around a lot and is a bit confusing at times. The reader will definitely have to read the books in sequence as not very much is explained - book two is continued on from book one without any explanation.