Apr 19, 2011

Review of Only Time Will Tell by Jeffrey Archer

The profoundity in the elegant statement "Only time (or whatever that may be) will tell" made by Stephan Hawking in his book "A brief history of time" captivated my thoughts so much that when Jeffrey Archer wrote his book titled "Only time will tell", I pre-ordered my copy two weeks before its release date on landmark.

This said, the reader should not come to a conclusion that I have no idea of Jeffrey's writing, or I am no fan of his works. In fact, I have read two of his short story collections of which "Old love" and "The Hungarian Professor" are my favorites. His short stories inspired me later on to write one myself, while many newbies generally start with a novel!

"Only time will tell" is the story of a young man Harry Clifton, whose life began in the backstreets of Bristol. I have never heard/read of a poor/poverty stricken people living in one of the most advanced nations. So when I read about poor Arthur, Maisie and uncle Stan, I was surprised at first.

As the author narrates the story, I realized that poor man is a poor man anywhere in the world. But Maisie, mother of Harry, decides to change their fate by sending him to the best possible school, and later on to Oxford with all the scholarship he could get, and with her sacrifices when he couldn't get any.

That education plays a crucial role in raising one's class of living has been narrated in a way only Jeffrey can, with all the dramatic stumbling blocks and the way Harry overcame every one of them. But there is only one set back that Harry can never overcome. His love.

Earlier, Maisie confides into Old Jack (Harry's mentor) that Arthur may not be Harry's father, as she had sex with Hugo Barrington a week before their marriage. This makes Hugo's  daughter Emma, Harry's step sister. But Harry and Emma did not know about this, and were deeply in love with each other. The secret was revealed to everyone by Old Jack only when they both were about to get married in a church.

In order to find a solution to the complicated relationship, and also to serve His Majesty, The King, Harry ventures into voyaging, with help from Sir Walter Barrington (father of Hugo) as his grandson. But as soon as he lands in America with a fake identity, he was arrested by the immigration officials for a first degree murder.

Will Harry get acquitted or escape from The US of A by proving his real identity or other means? Will he be able to prove that he is indeed Arthur's son and reunite with Emma? Will Maisie's dream of living a respectable life come true? Only time will tell, for one has to wait till Jeffrey writes other volumes to know the answers to those questions.