The Clifton Trilogy by Jeffrey Archer
Beginning many years ago, I have been a Jeffrey Archer fan. Starting with Kane and Abel, moving on to Prodigal Daughter, and loving the politics of Not a Penny More, Archer is the quintessential English writer. Not known for his lyrical style or his brilliant turn of phrase, Archer is 'merely' a good story teller. However, he's a REALLY good story teller, one of those authors that can suck you in quickly with his plot lines, making you stay up late for 'just one more chapter.' His characters aren't necessarily original - there's usually a titled Englishman who has 'issues,' a 'pull yourself out of the muck' commoner, and always a love interest that has challenges along the way. Throw in a bit of politics and intrigue and you've pretty much got the gist of it.
Archer's newest series follows the story of a boy named Harry Clifton. His is the usual tribulations in the first book, Only Time Will Tell - poor boy with hard-working mum, gifted singer, attends private boarding school, makes friends with titled and wealthy boy, and falls in love with the sister. However, there's a lovely little twist, with the question of who his father is, as well as the beginning of the second World War. The characters are all quite lovely, particularly his mother Maizy, who is a strong-willed, intelligent, though uneducated young woman. The teachers who influence Harry along the way are also quite delightful. In the second book, The Sins of the Father, we follow Harry to an American prison, as well as the continuing sage of his love affair and his best friend Giles' war conflicts. It's all quite British, with family inheritance, ship-building, politics, and unrequited love. It is definitely good brain candy.