Reviewed by Marianne van der Wel
New York, 1939: Tom Bradshaw is arrested for first degree murder. After Tom is tried, found guilty and sentenced, his lawyer disappears and the only way for him to prove his innocence is to reveal his true identity. And that’s something he’s sworn never to do in order to protect the woman he loves.
Meanwhile, the young woman in question travels to New York, unwilling to believe the man she was to marry has died at sea. She leaves their son behind in England, having decided she’ll do whatever it takes to find him. The only proof she has is a letter. A letter that has remained unopened on a mantel piece in Bristol for over a year.
Jeffrey Archer is a master of schemes. Throughout the story many schemes can be found, many subplots are uncovered. Of course, it isn’t too difficult to put multiple plots in one story, the hard part is not losing track of the main scheme. Archer never loses it. It’s always there, not always clearly visible, but it is there and he makes it play out brilliantly.
The realness of the characters makes this book a little nerve-racking. You feel for them, most of them anyway. With the story told from five different perspectives by one writer, I honestly didn’t expect so much individuality found in each of them, but I did. In contrast to the characters, a lot of what happens around them feels idealized. The war, somehow, sounds more like a scrape and a couple years in prison like being stuck at a bad holiday resort. What happens around them is not important though, what happens to them is what made me keep reading.
This being the second installment in The Clifton Chronicles, I had thought of reading the first, Only Time Will Tell, before reading Sins of the Father. In the end, I decided not to, since it’s easier to overlook things in a sequel when the first book is good, or if it was bad I wouldn’t want to read Sins of the Father any longer. I don’t think you really have to read Only Time Will Tell first. But, now I have read this book, I want to read it.
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