Reviews for Best Kept Secret


Booklist Reviews 2013 March #2
Archer's epic-sized family saga, the Clifton Chronicles, continues in this third volume (following The Sins of the Father, 2012). It's the 1950s, and Harry Clifton and his best friend (and possibly half-brother), Giles Barrington, are battling over who will inherit the estate and title of Hugo Barrington. The outcome of the battle sparks one of the book's main story lines, which involves a shocking revelation in Hugo's will and what that spells for Giles' seemingly happy marriage and perhaps his career as a member of Parliament. Meanwhile, Harry, a best-selling author, has his own problems: his son is refused admission to a tony grammar school and soon gets mixed up in some unsavory goings-on. Running underneath everything is the story that forms the spine of the saga: the relationship between Harry and Giles, boyhood friends whose mutual affection is threatened by the demands of adulthood. No family saga would be complete without a villain, and this book has a good one, a well-drawn and believable character whose motivations are understandable. This thoroughly engaging old-school, multigenerational saga harks back to the work of Malcolm Macdonald, Belva Plain, and Irwin Shaw. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Archer has backed up a long-running track record for commercial fiction with a powerful social network, including 142,000 likes on Facebook. Copyright 2012 Booklist Reviews.

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Kirkus Reviews 2013 March #1
In this third of this much-like Downton Abbey series, Archer (Sins of the Father, 2012, etc.) takes the Clifton Chronicles into the post–World War II era. Employing a prologue, Archer slaps a final coat of paint on Volume 2, with the Lord Chancellor awarding the Barrington title to Harry's brother-in-arms, Giles, a Labor MP. Harry and Emma, Giles' sister, are finally free to marry. The two already have an out-of-wedlock son, Sebastian. In this installment, Emma and Harry discover Emma's cad of a father sired a young girl now living at a local orphanage. The Cliftons do the paperwork and the interviews and adopt Jessica, a budding artist, without revealing to her or Sebastian that she's blood kin. Meantime, Harry's become an acclaimed author of detective novels, and Emma meets a Pulitzer Prize–winning author who is impressed with her intellect and decides to help her obtain a degree. When family matriarch Lady Elizabeth dies, she disinherits Giles because he intends to marry Lady Virginia, a greedy, rhymes-with-witchy aristocrat. There's a divorce when Giles regains his senses and then a family reconciliation. And much more. Archer spins sufficient narrative threads for six novels, complete with ample money, Old-Boy connections, intrigue and a deus ex machina. What-will-happen-next reading best approached after picking up the series' first two entries. Copyright Kirkus 2013 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

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Library Journal Reviews 2013 March #1

The third installment (after The Sins of the Father) of Archer's five-volume "Clifton Chronicles" resumes in 1945 with the Lord Chancellor delivering judgment in the case of Barrington vs. Clifton, regarding the rightful inheritor of the Barrington shipping fortune. In typical Archer style, an ongoing mélange of sensational cliffhangers and disputes propels the Barrington's family feud. Giles struggles to retain his seat in the House of Commons, and brother-in-law Harry becomes a popular mystery writer. While raising the hyperactive and gifted Sebastian, Emma and Harry also adopt an artistic daughter, Jessica, who strikingly resembles both Emma and Sebastian. Giles's colorful political and private life disrupts the controlling interests in the Barrington empire, and Alex Fisher, a former detestable acquaintance of both Harry and Giles, returns to disrupt their financial security and professional lives. VERDICT Archer's consistent inclusion of trivial, autobiographical minutiae pertaining to parliamentary procedures and the election process dominates numerous chapters and belabors an already weakening plotline. Unlike the previous title, this chatty and tiresome volume lacks the captivating intrigue that is often a hallmark of Archer's writing. [See Prepub Alert, 9/17/12.]--Jerry P. Miller, Cambridge, MA

[Page 69]. (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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Publishers Weekly Reviews 2013 June #3

An artful blend of colorful characters, seething resentment, calculated revenge, and a shocking, tragic cliffhanger distinguishes Archer's third volume of The Clifton Chronicles. Picking up where The Sins of the Father left off, readers discover whether Giles Barrington or Harry Clifton will inherit the late Hugo Barrington's fortune. Harry becomes a successful novelist and marries his true love Emma Barrington; they adopt a daughter with a secret past to join their son Sebastian. Poor smitten, likeable Giles, fighting for his political life as a member of Parliament, is lovesick for the scheming, vindictive Lady Virginia, whom he marries. Sensing disaster, on her death bed Lady Elizabeth Barrington writes Lady Virginia out of the will, prompting the unpopular Lady Virginia to enlist Giles' nemesis, Major Alex Fisher, as she plots her way to the Barrington fortune. Sebastian becomes a young man, sowing his wild oats and naively getting mixed up with a school chum's nefarious father and his sketchy business. Business-savvy Emma earns a college degree, intending to join the family shipping empire. Archer provides a pitch-perfect continuation of the Clifton family saga; his shrewd twists and turns are addictive from the get-go, and he stuns with his signature series sign-off, a cliffhanger leaving readers longing for its resolution. (May)

[Page ]. Copyright 2013 PWxyz LLC

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Publishers Weekly Annex Reviews

An artful blend of colorful characters, seething resentment, calculated revenge, and a shocking, tragic cliffhanger distinguishes Archer's third volume of The Clifton Chronicles. Picking up where The Sins of the Father left off, readers discover whether Giles Barrington or Harry Clifton will inherit the late Hugo Barrington's fortune. Harry becomes a successful novelist and marries his true love Emma Barrington; they adopt a daughter with a secret past to join their son Sebastian. Poor smitten, likeable Giles, fighting for his political life as a member of Parliament, is lovesick for the scheming, vindictive Lady Virginia, whom he marries. Sensing disaster, on her death bed Lady Elizabeth Barrington writes Lady Virginia out of the will, prompting the unpopular Lady Virginia to enlist Giles' nemesis, Major Alex Fisher, as she plots her way to the Barrington fortune. Sebastian becomes a young man, sowing his wild oats and naively getting mixed up with a school chum's nefarious father and his sketchy business. Business-savvy Emma earns a college degree, intending to join the family shipping empire. Archer provides a pitch-perfect continuation of the Clifton family saga; his shrewd twists and turns are addictive from the get-go, and he stuns with his signature series sign-off, a cliffhanger leaving readers longing for its resolution. (May)

[Page ]. Copyright 2013 PWxyz LLC

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