This story took a longer time to incubate than the five-star Prisoner of Birth. Once the story of Maisy and Harry took more form, the story became more engrossing. Moving in and out of different points of view, Archer uses the brilliant device of narrating the same story from the vantage of each of the seven main characters in the story. Spoiler coming>
As a mini-spoiler, the main evil character does not see justice done, for the most part, in this story, though perhaps time will tell, as the title suggests. And the ending, another Count of Monte Cristo/take someone else's identity similar to the one in Prisoner of Birth, is less satisfying, plausible, and wrapped up as Prisoner of Birth. But worth of credit.
I have truly, truly, truly enjoyed this book. The story was so well narrated, and well told until I couldnt put it down. Each and every person involved in the story had their own voice and I could see them in my mind's eye. When the "deep secret" finally came out I could barely contain myself. I loved the twists, and turns and the story told from everyones point of view. I'm only sorry that I will have to wait for the next book to see what happens to Harry. Loved it, loved it!
This post World War 1 novel takes place in English, but I would describe it as very light historical fiction. The story follows a fatherless boy (Harry Clifton) who is the son of a dock worker but as a result of an extraordinary singing voice, ends up with a scholarship to a prestigious private school. The first half felt so predictable (class differences, etc.) that I almost stopped listening. There was a bit of a mystery surrounding the death/disappearance of his father. The second half of the novel dealt with that mystery, and felt more like an unrealistic soap opera. I liked Harry and his mother enough that I did listen more eagerly to see what would happen. The end resolves the key issues of book one, but also hooks the reader into the next and very different chapter in Harry's life. No spoilers here, but even though I had already decided that one Clifton book would be enough, the end did intrigue me. If you like your historical fiction edgy and realistic, this is NOT for you. If you like a light weight page-turner, you might enjoy this.
ONLY TIME WILL TELL is my first Jeffrey Archer story. Loved the author's rich historical detail and multi-layered characters.
Reading the multiple points of view took awhile to get used to, but I wound up loving it. The only thing that keeps me from giving the story 5 stars is the cliffhanger.
Archer has a gift for telling a story. I've seen others here compare him to Follett. I can definitely see the similarities. As with Follett the good guys are wonderful, and the bad guys hopelessly despicable. The cliffhanger at the end is more a transition to a new phase of the same story.
I have read or listened to many Archer books in the past. Only Time Will Tell is a well worn tale. Archer has told it many times. It follows the story of a youth from birth through college in the pre-WWII era.
After about a quarter of the way through, I was cheering. I thought this was a great story and was eating it up. Only then it takes on a very strange story telling device. In this book, there are five or six main characters. It proceeds to jump from Harry (the protagonist) to his mother or other character. This is a little off putting, but that is not the crux of the problem. The problem is that the story rewinds and tells exactly what you have just read over again. Only from a different point of view. I believe that an author could have pulled this off, but the manner in which Archer approached this style felt very off.
So in the end, a story that had all the makings of a quality guilty pleasure turned into a confused jaggedly structured narrative.
I wish I had read the reviews more carefully before starting with "Only Time Will Tell" because these books end in the most awful cliffhangers in an attempt to force you into buying the next book. I liked the first book so much, that I bought the 2nd in The Clifton Chronicles despite the frustrating cliffhanger - I love a good series. Because of the cliffhanger at the end of the second book, though, I will not continue purchasing the series. Mr. Archer's story & the performances are very good; however, I feel almost tricked with the way he ends each book by basically saying "if you want to know how the story ends, you must buy the next book".
I understand that it is the concept of the author to tell the story from different viewpoints, but this as well means that the same parts of the story get told on average 3 times - and sometimes make you feel that you listen to the same story again and again. Therefore it takes almost the full first book or 10 hours to start to get excited about the story.
The first book ends with a cliffhanger, therefore be prepared to have the time to listen to all 5 books of the Clifton Chronicles.
In the interview at the end of the book the author gave too much away from the next parts of the series.
Alida in Colorado
Really enjoyed the first 40 chapters. A relaxing, feel good story. Many places where I thought it was a good place to end but it kept dragging on and on and getting less and less believable. 10 chapters too many. Great narrators though and that's key!
Good story line, strong characters but not destined to reach the status of a great classic. Still all in all very enjoyable.. Looking forward to the Next book in the series.