WRITING STYLE: 5/5
ENTERTAINMENT QUOTIENT: 5/5
Writing a series is not as easy as the plethora of successful titles that you see on the shelves of your local bookstores. Not only would you have to make sure the long drawn out story is of interest to the reader, but also end each book of your series in such a way that the reader would be eagerly looking forward to the next one to be released. And perhaps, for Jeffrey Archer, that was the ultimate challenge – we all know he can keep the reader glued to the story in his books, but can he do it over a series, with a story that transcends generations? “The Clifton Chronicles” is a resounding yes to that question.
In case you haven’t read the first 3 books of the epic family drama series (which is a big miss on your part by the way), let me help you get up to speed. The story is essentially about Harry Clifton and Emma Barrington, from the time they were born, get married and have children of their own, with the trials and tribulations of life that they face together. The 3 previous books tell us about all the sacrifices Maisie Clifton, Harry’s mother, makes; of Hugo Barrington and the trouble and shame he brings to the Barrington family; of Harry impersonating a wanted convict to get away from England and everyone he knows there; and finally Emma and Harry getting back together to live with their Sebastian and adopt Hugo Barrington’s illegitimate child as their own.
There are some memorable characters throughout the 3 books, especially Lady Virginia and Major Alex Fisher, who try their best to seek revenge on the Cliftons and the Barringtons. The story continues in the latest book of the series “Be Careful What You Wish For”. The story picks up from the cliffhanger that was the end of “Best Kept Secret”, with Sebastian and Bruno (son of Don Pedro Martinez, the one against whom Sebastian helps the Home Office thereby forever earning the Don’s wrath) in the midst of an accident. The book opens by telling us what happens in the accident, and the reader would be a bit relieved to know that it was Bruno who was the unfortunate victim of the Don’s plans rather than Sebastian.
Things do not stop there, with Don Pedro hell-bent on exacting revenge on the family, blaming the Cliftons for his son’s death. He, therefore, decides to destroy the Barrington Shipping Company, which Emma Clifton, on the other hand, tries to take control of. The boardroom battles and the share market battles make for delightful reading and keep the reader hooked to the book from the first page to last.
“Be Careful What You Wish For” is everything you would want from a Jeffrey Archer novel, and as always, the writing is smooth and the author’s narration style, as always, takes the reader on a delightful journey through the lives of the characters, with whose qualities most readers would be able to identify themselves with. It is a pity that there will be a gap for at least a year before the final instalment comes out, but it is well worth the wait!