Published by Pan Books on January 1st 1970
When Harry and Emma Clifton hear about their son Sebastian's car accident, they rush to the hospital unsure whether it was their son who died or his best friend Bruno. Meanwhile, Don Pedro schemes to install Major Alex Fisher into Ross Buchanan's seat as the chairman of the Barrington Shipping Company, a seat that Emma desires following Buchanan's forced retirement. The Barrington family firm is threatened by Pedro's intentions just as the firm stands to build its new luxury liner, the MV Buckingham. In London, Harry and Emma's adopted daughter finds love in the Slade Academy of Art. However all delight at the news of the wedding vanishes when an old friend, Lady Virgina Fenwick, appears. Events take a turn when a hitherto unknown Yorkshireman, Cedric Hardcastle, takes a place in the board of Barrington's firm, changing the lives of both families.
[ Review ]
Be Careful What You Wish For is the fourth book in The Clifton Chronicles by Jeffrey Archer (something that I didn’t realise until I’d finished reading the book so silly me). It begins with a car crash involving two young men, but we are uncertain as to which one was killed in the crash. It turns out there is a feud between the families of the two boys and Don Pedro Martinez is trying to bring down the esteemed Barrington family. Throughout the book we see various different plots to destroy the Barrington’s family shipping business but whether Don Pedro Martinez is successful in his plans will remain a mystery…
I have to be honest, I didn’t think that I was going to like this book before I started reading it, nor when I had read 150 pages of it. It was not until after I’d read about a third of the book did it really begin to pique my interest. This book contains several passages which have either strong political or financial themes and I found these parts of the books much less accessible as a reader. That said, I haven’t read many political novels or anything of the sort so this was very much a new reading experience for me. I imagine existing Archer fans will greatly enjoyed these details passages.
The plot gets more and more complicated as time goes on and you begin to see how all the different characters fit into the action. However, Archer keeps the motives and relations between characters under wraps for the most part of the book. Archer is incredibly good at keeping the reader in suspense and weaving a tale so thick that it’s impossible to predict what’s coming next. There’s a lot of two-ing and fro-ing in this novel as you see the Barrington’s and the Martinez’s fight to destroy the reputation of the other and there’s absolutely no way of predicting the results of each party’s ploys. This story gets more and more exciting as it goes on, constantly surprising the reader with new and game-changing information that throws what you thought you knew about the story out the window. If you like to be kept on your toes, then this is the series for you.
Perhaps this was because I haven’t read the previous books in the series, but I didn’t really feel like I connected with any of the characters. This is not the story of one person, but the intersecting and overlapping stories of many, many characters. As a result, it is not only hard to to wrap your head around who’s who, but also to form any sort of emotional attachment to any character. This was a disappointment, but did not necessarily let the book down. The complex nature of the plot means that this book is very much about what is happening, rather than what each character feels about what is happening.
Another factor is that the character’s don’t have very strong relationships between each other so there isn’t anything for the reader to connect with. Instead, you remain removed from the busy plot but your interest is still maintained because you want to find out which character’s plans will ultimately succeed. The characters have a business-like relationship with each other and thus I felt like I had a business-like relationship with the book. This story was created to entertain me and entertain me it did.
All in all, Be Careful What You Wish For was a highly entertaining novel (once it got going) and I would highly recommend it to existing Archer fans. To those that have never read his books I suggest you pick one up. This book ends on one hell of a cliffhanger so I am eager to get my hands on the next instalment of The Clifton Chronicles (released in February this year). This book takes quite a bit of time to get your head around but if you’re a fan of political or business-related drama, entwined with family drama, then this is the series for you.
I received this book as part of the #StressFreeReading campaign a long time ago and it’s taken me ages to get this post up but I’d just like to say thank you to everyone behind the campaign at StressFreePrint, Kristina Bergwall in particular. Along with this book I received a gorgeous tin full of different teas, no doubt an essential for stress free reading, as well as a hot water bottle. I wouldn’t say that Be Careful What You Wish For is the most suitable read it you’re looking for #StressFreeReading, but what better way to start the new year than with a curled up with a cup of tea, a hot water bottle and a bestselling book?