Gerald's Reviews > The Sins of the Father

The Sins of the Father by Jeffrey Archer
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's review
Aug 02, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: 2012, author-archer, genre-fiction, theme-family-saga
Read from July 29 to August 01, 2012

The recently published The Sins of the Father is the second of Jeffrey Archer’s planned trilogy of the Barrington and Clifton families. At the end of last year’s first volume Only Time Will Tell, Harry Clifton is about to marry his sweetheart Emma Barrington when it comes to light that he may very well be Emma’s brother, the offspring resulting from a single encounter between Emma’s father Sir Hugo and Harry’s mother Maisie just six weeks prior to Maisie’s marriage to the long-deceased Arthur Clifton. Obviously, the marriage is called off, devastating both Harry and Emma. A most significant additional implication of this disclosure is that if the paternity by Sir Hugo is proven conclusively, Harry is heir to the title and all properties related thereto at Sir Hugo’s death. This is because he is several weeks older that Emma’s brother Giles, who is also Harry’s best friend.

Harry makes a drastic decision to leave all these nightmares behind and join the military. Before his slightly delayed enlistment can begin, he decides to sign on as fourth mate for a one-month turnaround cruise to America on a merchant ship. The ship is torpedoed and sunk with only two survivors, Harry and Tom Bradshaw. Tom dies shortly thereafter but not before Harry assumes his identity. As soon as he lands in New York, Harry posing as Tom is arrested for murder. With no identification and having identified himself as Tom Bradshaw, Harry is talked into pleading guilty to the lesser charge of military desertion rather than murder. Having been railroaded by an unscrupulous lawyer, he soon finds himself serving six-year prison sentence. He wants to leave the continued impression with his family in England that he was buried at sea so that the complications for Emma and Giles remain resolved as they were with his supposed death.

Emma, who had Harry’s child about nine months after his disappearance, discovers that Harry may still be alive and, still desperately in love with him, leaves immediately for America to try to find him. While she is develops numerous leads regarding Harry’s circumstances and whereabouts, she seems to be thwarted at every turn. She had planned to be gone from England and her son only a few weeks, but soon finds that she is stuck in America following the Japanese attack at Pearl Harbor. Emma moves in with her great aunt in Manhattan and remains tenacious in her search for Harry.

Jeffrey Archer keeps the action fast-paced with many unexpected turns. I highly recommend this follow-up to the first of the trilogy and very much look forward to volume three.

[Book 61 of revised 2012 target 70 (Jan-10; Feb-11; Mar-9; Apr-8; May-7; Jun-8; Jul-7; Aug-1)]

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