Grafton Public Library

Review: Only Time Will Tell by Jeffrey Archer

Posted by bethg on

Only Time Will Tell book coverI have been on the lookout for a new Jeffrey Archer novel after having read his book of short stories, “And Thereby Hangs a Tale.” There it was on the new book shelf just waiting for me: Only Time Will Tell.

Encompassing the years between World War 1 and World War 11, Only Time Will Tell is a Dickens-style tale of a young man brought up with limited means who has a gift.

Harry Clifton is the boy in question whose mother Maisie tells him that his father was lost in the war. Harry is destined to be a dockworker like his father and uncle until he is discovered by a benefactor and given a scholarship to an exclusive boys’ school in England.

The description of life in the boys’ school not only reveals class distinctions but the regimen all students must follow in their studies, extra-curricular activities and the fierce competition to get to the next level of education. I found this insight into the British educational system enlightening.

The method Archer uses to reveal this complex tale is by introducing each main character in a narrative told from his point of view. Although it may seem redundant to hear about the same occurrence from various characters, I found it original and effective. After all, there’s more than one (or more) sides to every story.

It is clear to me that Jeffrey Archer is a great story-teller, but he also has a sense of history and is not afraid if writing sweeping, multi-generational works.

All of this discussion brings me to the fortuitous conclusion that this is the first in a series, The Clifton Chronicles. What a treat if you like tales of adventure, romance, treachery, intrigue and all those good things. 2012 is already looking upbeat for readers.

I give Only Time Will Tell 4 Oxford English Dictionaries.

Happy reading from Beverly!

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