England is on the brink of war with Germany. The countrymen are tense and poised for battle. The women are scurrying around to protect their lovers, husbands and children. But some people seem to believe themselves above all that, like Hugo Barrington.
"THE SINS OF THE FATHERS, the second book in Jeffrey Archer’s The Clifton Chronicles, is a good old-fashioned war-torn romance that reads a bit like a British 'Peyton Place.'"
Hugo couldn’t be a more awful man. His father and his grandfather before him built Barrington Shipping Line into a thriving business. The name was synonymous with respect, right up until Hugo got his greedy hands on it. All he cares about is living the life of a rich playboy, replete with fast cars and faster women. Young Hugo must have exuded at least a temporary charm, long enough to win over even the most level-headed of women, because his conquests are many. Thus, when his daughter Emma wishes to marry Harry Clifton, a question arises as to whether Harry could be Hugo’s son.
With the marriage averted at the altar, Harry joins the merchant marines, hoping to release Emma from her ties to him. When the ship goes down, Harry seizes the opportunity to perish in the tragedy, reborn as American Tom Bradshaw, who died when the Germans sank the ship. But if Harry thought the identity switch would solve all his problems, he was sorely mistaken. Almost immediately upon reaching New York, he is arrested for murder. Some legal shenanigans ensue and Harry ends up in prison, serving Tom’s sentence.
But Emma is not a young woman to give up easily. She refuses to believe Harry is dead. And she has a special reason to remain steadfast in her belief: Harry’s son, Sebastian. With the future so uncertain, she sets sail for America to prove Harry still lives and to let him know he has a child.
Back home, Hugo is busy liquidating everything worth a quid in order to keep himself in the manner to which he has become accustomed. The rest of his family avoids him at all cost, possibly hoping that if they ignore him, he’ll simply go away. That would be too easy. While many honorable sons are joining the war effort, including Hugo’s own son, Giles, Hugo is busy chasing his selfish desires, most of them involving women and booze.
Giles will be up for the Barrington title and whatever fortunes Hugo hasn’t gone through when the time comes. That is, unless Harry returns home to claim his legacy as Hugo’s firstborn --- if it can be proven. But the catch-22 is that Harry doesn’t want the title nor anything that comes with the Barrington name. He wants only Emma.
THE SINS OF THE FATHERS, the second book in Jeffrey Archer’s The Clifton Chronicles, is a good old-fashioned war-torn romance that reads a bit like a British “Peyton Place.” There are some really odious characters, and a few who transcend sainthood. It’s a compelling story, if only to see which horrible person gets his just desserts and which hero comes out on top.
Reviewed by Kate Ayers on June 22, 2012