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WWII Backdrop to Personal Drama
on April 7, 2014
If you have not read the first book of the Clifton Chronicles, Only Time Will Tell, this review may be considered to include spoilers. This brings up my first complaint about this book. It can not really stand alone. It picks up a moment after the first book ends and ends abruptly, leaving the reader looking for more chapters. This series feels more like a continuous story than sequels.
That being said, I did pick this up immediately after finishing up book 1 and have book 3 in the wings, so I wasn't bothered too much by this. If you read these as they came out and had to wait a year for a scene to be completed, that would be annoying.
The melodrama and implausibility of the first book continue, though the overwhelming naivety in this one was a little too much for me. The characters became too stereotypical, and God help Harry if he ever has to figure out anything on his own. He is taken advantage of, makes bad decisions, and doesn't know how to get himself out of tough situations to save his life. This time we have the background of WWII, which means the characters are spread around and not all in Bristol.
It all begins with Harry's bad decision made at the end of book 1 when he decides to take the name of Tom Bradshaw. While the reader shakes their head, realizing that there was something dark and creepy about old Tom, Harry is clueless until he is in handcuffs. This eye-opening experience doesn't make him any less trusting when he gets swindled by Big Time NY Lawyer. Thank God he has Emma to save his butt, except of course that she is predictably too late.
In the meantime, we have Selfish Rich Guy, Hugo Barrington ruining lives of all he encounters in England and Needs to Prove Himself, Giles Barrington lying to serve his country and running into Schoolhouse Bully Fisher in Egypt.
The writing is a little bit better, lacking the smattering of first person chapters and the timeline backtracking of the first installment, but the story itself was predictable and unsatisfying. I had to roll my eyes at the number of times we are asked "who is Harry's father", never because it would be creepy if he had a child with his sister, but because we need to figure out who gets all that money. Of course, this question is left unanswered because something has to get people to pick up book 3.