Friday, March 6, 2015

Jeffrey Archer's Clifton Chronicles #4 - HOLY TOLEDO (as Bill King used to say)!

I read the 1st 3 books in Jeffrey Archer's Clifton Chronicles each about a year apart.  It's been almost a year and a half since I read #3.  Did too much time pass for me to enjoy #4?  Hardly.  Be Careful What You Wish For is truly one of the few books that I couldn't put down.  People use this expression all the time.  But this is one time when it is really true.  I read it everywhere - and I do mean everywhere!  In fact, when nature called, I was excited.  Okay, enough of that.  Suffice it to say that I loved this book.  After having no 4/4 since late 2013, now I've got 2 - in the last 35 days!  So cool.

Book 1 starts in 1920, and book 4 ends in 1964.  And 4 ends with a real cliffhanger. Fortunately, I waited so long to read #4 that #5 is almost in the stores.  I don't think I will be waiting another year and a half to read #5!

I had my usual range of emotions while reading Careful, with one significant exception/modification - on Page 199 I actually cried.  I don't mean I teared up, my normal reaction.  I actually cried.  I did everything except sob (thank goodness for that, since I was eating lunch at The Garrett while reading page 199).  Do you remember me telling you that when I read Pat Conroy's South of Broad I felt personal loss when a central character died?  Well, that almost happened here.

Other than that (when I was obviously coming down with some kind of illness and was more sentimental than usual!), I had raised eyebrows, tears, and exclamations (on page 11, I said out loud, "Whoa!  What?").  Did I connect with the characters?  Yeah, I would say that I definitely did.

In any series, the author has to keep it fresh.  That means, he/she has to add significant characters, while maintaining the stars from earlier books.  Archer does that very well here.  He adds several great characters, including a fish paste magnate and a banker. And, of course, we still get the Barringtons and the Cliftons.  In book 4 he develops the main protagonists even more than he did in 1-3.  That's as it should be.

And, finally, just a couple of quick notes:

- There's a scene that takes place in Bath, England.  When Lauren had a semester abroad in London (about 11 years ago), Joni and I visited her and took a day trip to bath. That was really fun.
- We've all heard about Simon Weisenthal, who led the Israeli search for Nazi war criminals on the run. Well, he makes a memorable appearance in this story.
- This is the 1st one of the series I've read since I started watching Downton Abbey.  I enjoyed comparing the book with the TV series regarding the upper class and their servants - even though the book takes place about 40 years after the latest episode of D.A.


  1. Thanks, Nicci. I hope you like my review of Love Caters All, too. I should be posting it tomorrow night.

  2. I think I read Archer years ago but I'm not 100% sure so I guess I need to try him again.

  3. Kathy, this is such a good series. If you start with #1, Only Time Will Tell, I think you will want to stay with it.