Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Only Time Will Tell by Jeffrey Archer

Only Time Will Tell (The Clifton Chronicles) Jeffrey Archer's latest book comes out this month. Only Time Will Tell is the first volume in a trilogy, the story of the Clifton family and therefore called The Clifton Chronicles. It begins in Bristol, England and at the end of the first book Harry Clifton comes to New York City.

The plot of this book is as old as storytelling and so it takes a master writer to make it fresh, new, different from all the other versions. Archer solves this problem with an unsettled time period and with the characters he creates to populate his story. His characters, after all, have to be real enough and interesting enough for the reader to care what will happen to them in the next volume of this trilogy.

As I finished the book yesterday afternoon I was anxious to know what will happen next, particularly since there is a fascinating twist at the end that throws everything up in the air.

The major character is Harry Clifton, a boy of only about five when the story begins and a young man at the end of the book. He is a character so believable and vividly drawn that I'm sure he will stay with me until the next book comes out. The poor kid goes through struggles that would make most people give up, but Harry struggles on showing he is truly his mother's son. She works as a waitress and has her own difficulties as she works to make enough money for Harry's schooling. His amazing voice helps him get ahead for several years, but puberty sends him to the drama department where his maturing voice and theatrical talent added to his determination to make good grades ensure his success.

The other character I love in this book is known as Old Jack Tar. He lives at the docks and befriends Harry, becoming a father to this fatherless boy. You'll be surprised at who Jack really is, as is most everyone in the town.

There are many other wonderful characters in the book, all of whom raise this story above the ordinary telling of this well-worn plot. I do recommend the book which I won from the blog "Tutu's Two Cents."


  1. This sounds really good! I HAVE TO KNOW WHO JACK IS!!! LOL

  2. Jill, Jack is a mystery man but you'll be very surprised when you discover who he is and why he lives where he does. Uh-oh, just realized "Jack and Jill." How often have you heard that?

  3. Trilogies seem to be the thing these days. It sounds like this is the start of a good one though, since you're anxious to know what happens next.

  4. I've never read any Jeffrey Archer. Have you read others by him?

  5. I used to read Jeffrey Archer back in the 80s and 90s. I loved Kane and Abel - the books, not the TV movies. But then I got turned off by some of his later books and stopped reading him.

    I saw this book at Costco the other day. I read the cover and thought it sounded good but I didn't buy it. I told myself that I'd wait to see what book bloggers thought of it before I bought it. So . . . thanks for checking it out for me. Your review tells me I need to go back to reading Archer.

  6. Nan, Like Margot I used to read Archer a lot but then stopped although I don't remember why. So this was my first in quite a while.

    Margot, You'll recognize the plot as one you've read over and over, but the characters save it from being trite. As they say, there's nothing new under the sun.