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BEST KEPT SECRET by Jeffrey Archer


From the Clifton Chronicles series, volume 3

by Jeffrey Archer

Pub Date: May 14th, 2013
ISBN: 978-1-250-00098-9
Publisher: St. Martin's

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.