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