Saturday, March 30, 2019

Be Careful What You Wish For by Jeffrey Archer

The fourth installment of the Clifton Chronicles, Be Careful What You Wish For, picks up right at the end of #3. It resolves the cliffhanger, which I had suspected all along. The continuing narrative takes the readers into the 1960s as the Cliftons and Barringers expand families and their shipping business.

Although wary of committing to the building of a luxury liner due to the increased efficiency and popularity of the airline business, the company does enter into contracts for the construction of one in Ireland. As one can imagine that process is fraught with delays and sabotage instigated by one Juan Pedro and Diego. Much of the novel deals with the machinations of stock trading that leads to the composition and recomposition of the Board of Directors. 

In another parallel story, Jessica, Emma and Harry's adopted daughter is accepted to the Slade School of Art. She meets and falls in love with Clive Bingham. The two announce their engagement and both families are exceedingly happy. However, enter Lady Virginia Fenwick, a friend of Clive's mother, who manages to poison the occasion. Her revelation of Jessica's parentage brings on dire and tragic consequences. 

To reveal much more of the plot would lead to major spoilers. As is typical of Archer, the novel ends with another cliffhanger. The Barrington ocean liner, Buckingham, is about to begin her maiden voyage when the party is infiltrated by IRA terrorists. As the bomb explodes, the novel ends. Archer's next book in the series will illuminate what actually happened. 

The Clifton Chronicles is an addictive series that keeps the reader engrossed. Is it sometimes predictable? Yes. Is the action sometimes unrealistic? Yes. But the enjoyment is still there and I anxiously await the time when I can get back to the series. 

Monday, March 4, 2019

The Sins of the Father and Best Kept Secret by Jeffrey Archer


The next two books in the Clifton Chronicles by Jeffrey Archer were fairly quick reads because of Archer's writing and the fact that I couldn't make our book club for two months. 

Harry Clifton has joined the British Navy and after his ship sinks, he assumes the identity of Tom Bradshaw. As a result, he is sent to prison to serve Bradshaw's term for desertion. Emma Barrington, believes that he is still alive, having read The Diary of a Convict that was published by another inmate in his name. She sets out to find Harry. In the mean time,  Hugo Barrington, possibly Harry's real father, fathers another child by Olga. Hugo refuses to admit to it and Olga murders him and then commits suicide, leaving the daughter as an orphan. As a result of Hugh's death, Giles and Hugo were both contenders to inherit the Barrington estate and title. The novel ends with the judge pondering which of the men is the true heir.

Best Kept Secret opens with the judge's decision that Harry is not Hugo's son. Giles is the
rightful heir and that leaves Harry free to marry Emma. Emma is determined to track down the child of Olga and Hugo. Meanwhile, Lady Barrington changes her will  to only recognize Emma and her sister, Grace. Giles is omitted from the will because of his marriage to Lady Virginia. This sets up one series of revenge moves. 

Sebastian becomes involved with one of the most sinister figures in all of literature - Don Pedro, the father of his best friend at Cambridge. He is unknowingly enlisted to help smuggle counterfeit money into England from Argentina. The plot is foiled and Don Pedro seeks his revenge against the Cliftons and Barringtons. The novel ends with a tragic car accident in which Sebastian is killed, or is he?

I love books in series like this. Although sometimes predictable, it is definitely entertaining. There are three more installments and it will be interesting to see how far Archer takes the revenge theme.