Only Time Will Tell by Jeffrey Archer
Published by: St. Martin’s Press
Published on: August 30, 2011
Page Count: 400
Genre: Historical Fiction / Family Saga
My Reading Format: Audiobook provided to me by the publisher for consideration.
Audiobook Published by: Macmillan Audio
Narrator: Roger Allam and Emelia Fox
Audiobook Length: 12 hours and 41 minutes
Available Formats: Hardcover, eBook and Audiobook; Mass Market Paperback edition to be released on February 28th.
Note: This is the first book in the Clifton Chronicles. The second book in the series, Sins of the Father, is due to be published in May of 2012.
Harry Clifton was told that his father had died a war hero. Given the date of his birth, it wasn’t a possibility, but it didn’t much concern him when he was young. Then, he was content to skip school and prepare for a life working the docks like his uncle. It wasn’t until his beautiful voice was discovered and he began talking to a mysterious and wise older gentlemen that Harry began to think of a life outside of his working class origins. His mother worked hard as a waitress to support his attendance at an exclusive boy’s school, where he meets his best friend, Giles Barrington. Giles’ father would never even shake his hand, but he assumed that was due to his humble origins. The Barrington family owned the shipyard where his father and uncle worked. It wasn’t until he reached adulthood and something heart-wrenching and unforgivable happened that Harry learned the truth about his father.
Although I have only ever read one of his novel before listening to Only Time Will Tell, Jeffrey Archer has had an influence on my life. I read Kane and Abel over Christmas break during my Sophomore year of high school. It was that book that influenced me to write the short stories that led to me being offered a place in Honors English Junior year. As with my first read, I loved the epic quality to Archer’s storytelling. I loved all of the detail during Harry’s early years because I knew his story wouldn’t be completed within the covers of Only Time Will Tell. Just as I remembered from Kane and Abel, there were rich characters throughout. I especially loved Harry’s mother Maisie and Old Jack. They were characters crafted with care and made the book a richer experience. Even those less virtuous characters are fun to read. When I came to the end of this book, I immediately wanted to pick up the next book in the series. Because it has yet to be released, I had to settle for researching the release date of Sins of the Father and add it to my Google calendar.
Both Roger Allam and Emelia Fox were new-to-me narrators with this book. I enjoyed their work immensely. They made the hours fly by. Without being able to see the structure of the novel, I was a little confused when Roger Allam and not Emelia Fox narrated a large section from Maisie’s point of view. As the audiobook progressed, it soon became clear why those decisions were made. Even if it never made sense, it would have only been a minor issue. I loved Emelia Fox and likewise would have been okay had Roger Allam narrated the entire novel. As the second novel is going to take place in the United States (not a spoiler as this detail is mentioned in the synopsis), I’m not sure how narrators will be selected. I do hope that Roger Allam’s at least is able to continue.
I very much enjoyed jumping back into Jeffrey Archer’s writing. Only Time Will Tell was everything that I’d hoped it would be. Full of interesting characters and a compelling story. As this is part of a series, there is a cliffhanger at the end. While reading this I intuitively knew that there would be one. Still, when it came it caught me off guard. I must know what happens to Harry next. Come on Sins of the Father.