Book Review

Book Review: Best Kept Secret by Jeffrey Archer (The Clifton Chronicles #3)

Title: Best Kept Secret

Author: Jeffrey Archer

Series: The Clifton Chronicles (Book 3)

Publisher: Pan MacMillan

Genre: Historical Fiction, Family Saga

First Publication: 2013

Language: English

Major Characters: Harry Clifton, Maisie Clifton, Sebastian Clifton, Hugo Barrington, Giles Barrington, Emma Barrington, Lady Virginia, Major Alex Fisher

Narration: Third Person

Preceded by: The Sins of the Father

Followed by: Be Careful What You Wish For


Book Summary: Best Kept Secret

1945. The vote in the House of Lords as to who should inherit the Barrington family fortune has ended in a tie. The Lord Chancellor’s deciding vote will cast a long shadow on the lives of Harry Clifton and Giles Barrington. Harry returns to America to promote his latest novel, while his beloved Emma goes in search of the little girl who was found abandoned in her father’s office on the night he was killed.

When the General Election is called, Giles Barrington has to defend his seat in the House of Commons and is horrified to discover who the Conservatives select to stand against him. But it is Sebastian Clifton, Harry and Emma’s son, who ultimately influences his uncle’s fate.

In 1957, Sebastian wins a scholarship to Cambridge, and a new generation of the Clifton family march onto the page. After Sebastian is expelled from school, he unwittingly becomes caught up in an international art fraud involving a Rodin statue that is worth far more than the sum it raises at auction. Does he become a millionaire? Does he go to Cambridge? Is his life in danger?

Best Kept Secret, the third book in Jeffrey Archer’s gripping family saga The Clifton Chronicles, will answer all these questions, but once again, pose so many more.


Book Review: Best Kept Secret

‘Best Kept Secret’ picks up after the events in “The Sins of the Father” and is a real pot boiler that continues the Clifton gripping family and political sagas which spans the years 1945 to 1958 in this installment.

The momentum of the narrative swings between Giles Barrington, now Member of Parliament and the Cliftons: Harry and Emma. The first have of the story moves forward by the legal ruling as to who is the true heir of the Barrington’s and the second part see Sebastian, son of Harry and Emma embroiled in an international fraud crime. Eventually the two families use their influence to pulled Sebastian out of his mess and by the time we reach the last page we are left in a cliff-hanger that we do not see coming. Plot-driven novels are hard to discuss without spoilers, so I will say no more…..

“There are defining moments in one’s life when you learn about yourself, and you deposit that knowledge in the experience account, so you can draw on it at some later date.”

So far, I have enjoyed reading the Clifton Chronicles series. The style is simple and the prose is straightforward with minimal description. Mr. Archer knows how to build tension to move his plot forward and how to leave us breathless by the end. The characters may be a bit the cookie cutter type but I love them the way they are. This is definitely a soap opera at its best….

“if you’ve got a problem, sleep on it before you make a decision you might later regret. Things always look rosier in the morning.”

“Best Kept Secret” tells a story by itself, with enough explanation of how the characters came to be without retelling the previous events but rather focusing one the events that were unfolding.

The second half of the book involves smuggling, counterfeit and a rigged auction which reads like a thriller. You do not realize when you started the book and when you finished as the pages flow smoothly. Definitely worth reading it.

Buy Now: The Clifton Chronicles by Jeffrey Archer

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