I’ve been curious about Jeffrey Archer books for a while. I know very little about him other than he was a politician and he ended up in prison but he has been writing books now for some years and they seem to do pretty well. This isn’t the first one of his books I would have chosen but it was free on Kindle so it was the obvious choice for the group.
My over whelming thought whilst reading this book was this is ‘Paul Henke’s Tears Series’. With Henke you get a series of books following various members of a particular English family around the time of the Second World War. With Archer you get a series of books following various members of a particular English family around the time of the Second World War. Similar huh? I really enjoyed the Tears Series although haven’t completed the what was a trilogy and is now into I think book 5 or 6. I enjoyed Only Time Will Tell but it felt like I was going over old ground and that really spoiled it for me.
We all liked the characters, especially Old Jack and enjoyed reading about Harry’s time at boarding school. It was easy to read, well written (as a member of the group commented it had good grammar) but was predictable in places – Harry passing his entrance exams, Harry and Emma falling in love. It was very English, something that always goes down well with the Book Club (see the Little Village School by Gervase Phinn review). The book spanned quite a few years and enough happened to move the plot along which kept you entertained.
I do question why everyone was so keen on helping Harry, yes he had a stunning voice but why, in a time when everything would have been against him, did people keep flocking to his aid? He was a nice enough character but not to the point that the interest in him seemed to warrant. One member commented that there are people like that in life who the sun just seems to shine on for no reason. Harry was definitely one of those.
It was also a little annoying that when a new character took up the storey there was a period of overlap where their perspective of the storey we had just read was given. Archer tried to keep these parts brief and in certain cases we did learn things that we hadn’t the first time round so it wasn’t a terrible negative but there none the less.
I would probably enjoy reading the second and third books in the series (did someone mention there was now going to be a fourth?) but am not going to. I can guess pretty much where it will take me (no doubt with various twists and turns along the way) and to be honest there are too many other treasures under my bed to spend my time on. Family sagas have a tendency to expand and the once planned 3 can often turn into 5 or 6 (as happened with Henke). I just don’t have the desire to spend the next few years waiting for yet another ‘last in the series’ to be released. Having said that 2 members of the group have now also read the second book, they hadn’t read Henke (had never heard of him in fact) and have really enjoyed reading the Clifton series so my view is very tainted.
Whereas I won’t be reading the series I will return to Jeffrey Archer if I get the opportunity. I was very surprised that someone like him had written OTWT (Sorry that’s very TOWIE esk which I detest). I understand that his other books are quite varied and I would be interested to read further. If I hadn’t read Henke before I think I would have awarded the book an 8 but as I have I give it a 7. The group did score it quite highly which I wasn’t surprised about as it’s a gentile kind of book that rolls along nicely. As one member summed up ‘it’s easy to read with good characters but it didn’t blow me away and I won’t remember it in 6 months’ time’.
Group score 7.3
Interesting storey about Paul Henke. My mum was in Waterstones one day when a man came up and asked her what she thought about a particular book. My mum confessed that she had never heard of it to which the man replied he had written it. I’m not sure of the exact conversation that followed but my mum ended up purchasing the book for me as a Christmas present and the man ended up signing it. The book was Silent Tears, the man Paul Henke. I still have the book and to this day it’s the only signed copy of a book that I own. Anyway it was a quirky marketing technique that led me to buy more of his books (for a start Silent Tears wasn’t the first in the series!) and has indirectly led me to talking and therefore advertising it today. My question of the month is therefore this - Do you own a book signed by an author? If yes how did you come about getting it?