Best Kept Secret (Clifton Chronicles Series #3)

( 138 )

Overview

Jeffrey Archer's mesmerizing saga of the Clifton and Barrington families continues...

1945, London. The vote in the House of Lords as to who should inherit the Barrington family fortune has ended in a tie. The Lord Chancellor's deciding vote will cast a long shadow on the lives of Harry Clifton and Giles Barrington. Harry returns to America to promote his latest novel, while his beloved Emma goes in search of the little girl who was found abandoned in her father's office on...

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Best Kept Secret (Clifton Chronicles Series #3)

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Overview

Jeffrey Archer's mesmerizing saga of the Clifton and Barrington families continues...

1945, London. The vote in the House of Lords as to who should inherit the Barrington family fortune has ended in a tie. The Lord Chancellor's deciding vote will cast a long shadow on the lives of Harry Clifton and Giles Barrington. Harry returns to America to promote his latest novel, while his beloved Emma goes in search of the little girl who was found abandoned in her father's office on the night he was killed. When the general election is called, Giles Barrington has to defend his seat in the House of Commons and is horrified to discover who the Conservatives select to stand against him. But it is Sebastian Clifton, Harry and Emma's son, who ultimately influences his uncle's fate.

In 1957, Sebastian wins a scholarship to Cambridge, and a new generation of the Clifton family marches onto the page. But after Sebastian is expelled from school, he unwittingly becomes caught up in an international art fraud involving a Rodin statue that is worth far more than the sum it raises at auction. Does he become a millionaire? Does he go to Cambridge? Is his life in danger? Best Kept Secret, the third volume in Jeffrey Archer's bestselling series, will answer all these questions but, once again, pose so many more.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble

In the third volume of Sir Jeffrey Archer's Clifton Chronicles, the Cliftons and the Barringtons are now officially united, but sweet matrimony brings no end to either family feuds or legal dramas. As usual, master tale spinner Archer artfully juggles multiple story lines while dispensing telling insights about how British parliamentary systems really work. An episode of a multi-generational series that will leave you wanting more.

Publishers Weekly
An artful blend of colorful characters, seething resentment, calculated revenge, and a shocking, tragic cliffhanger distinguishes Archer's third volume of The Clifton Chronicles. Picking up where The Sins of the Father left off, readers discover whether Giles Barrington or Harry Clifton will inherit the late Hugo Barrington's fortune. Harry becomes a successful novelist and marries his true love Emma Barrington; they adopt a daughter with a secret past to join their son Sebastian. Poor smitten, likeable Giles, fighting for his political life as a member of Parliament, is lovesick for the scheming, vindictive Lady Virginia, whom he marries. Sensing disaster, on her death bed Lady Elizabeth Barrington writes Lady Virginia out of the will, prompting the unpopular Lady Virginia to enlist Giles' nemesis, Major Alex Fisher, as she plots her way to the Barrington fortune. Sebastian becomes a young man, sowing his wild oats and naively getting mixed up with a school chum's nefarious father and his sketchy business. Business-savvy Emma earns a college degree, intending to join the family shipping empire. Archer provides a pitch-perfect continuation of the Clifton family saga; his shrewd twists and turns are addictive from the get-go, and he stuns with his signature series sign-off, a cliffhanger leaving readers longing for its resolution. (May)
Kirkus Reviews
In this third of this much-like Downton Abbey series, Archer (Sins of the Father, 2012, etc.) takes the Clifton Chronicles into the post–World War II era. Employing a prologue, Archer slaps a final coat of paint on Volume 2, with the Lord Chancellor awarding the Barrington title to Harry's brother-in-arms, Giles, a Labor MP. Harry and Emma, Giles' sister, are finally free to marry. The two already have an out-of-wedlock son, Sebastian. In this installment, Emma and Harry discover Emma's cad of a father sired a young girl now living at a local orphanage. The Cliftons do the paperwork and the interviews and adopt Jessica, a budding artist, without revealing to her or Sebastian that she's blood kin. Meantime, Harry's become an acclaimed author of detective novels, and Emma meets a Pulitzer Prize–winning author who is impressed with her intellect and decides to help her obtain a degree. When family matriarch Lady Elizabeth dies, she disinherits Giles because he intends to marry Lady Virginia, a greedy, rhymes-with-witchy aristocrat. There's a divorce when Giles regains his senses and then a family reconciliation. And much more. Archer spins sufficient narrative threads for six novels, complete with ample money, Old-Boy connections, intrigue and a deus ex machina. What-will-happen-next reading best approached after picking up the series' first two entries.
From the Publisher
Praise for international bestselling author

JEFFREY ARCHER

“One of the top ten storytellers in the world.” —Los Angeles Times

“There isn’t a better storyteller alive.” —Larry King

“Archer plots with skill, and keeps you turning the pages.” —The Boston Globe

“Cunning plots, silken style…. Archer plays a cat-and-mouse game with the reader.” —The New York Times

“Archer is a master entertainer.” —Time

“A storyteller in the class of Alexandre Dumas…unsurpassed skill.” —Washington Post

And for the Clifton Chronicle series

 

 “Archer delivers another page-turning, heart-stopping saga, with delightful twists, and a surprise ending… readers will surely wait for the next with bated breath.”—Publishers Weekly on Sins of the Father

“You’ll risk back injury just from being kept on the edge of your seat…. I guarantee that anyone who takes this book from the shelves will not be able to put it down.”—The Spectator on Sins of the Father

“A master of fiction…[Jeffrey Archer] can tell a story, and he does so with such conviction, such appealing naïveté, that you suspend disbelief, and read happily on.”—The Scotsman on Sins of the Father

 

“General readers as well as Archer fans will enjoy this unforgettable tale, which abounds with cliff-hangers that propel its intriguing and intricate plot.”—Library Journal (starred review) on Only Time Will Tell

“The drama of Harry Clifton’s young life takes the reader to the edge of the cliff, where they must hang until the next Clifton Chronicle...” —Sunday Telegraph  

“What appears at the outset to be a straightforward coming-of-age tale becomes, by the end, a saga of power, betrayal, and bitter hatred. The novel ends on a deliberately dark note, setting the stage for the sequel…An outstanding effort from a reliable veteran.”—Booklist (starred review) on Only Time Will Tell

 

 

Library Journal
The third installment (after The Sins of the Father) of Archer's five-volume "Clifton Chronicles" resumes in 1945 with the Lord Chancellor delivering judgment in the case of Barrington vs. Clifton, regarding the rightful inheritor of the Barrington shipping fortune. In typical Archer style, an ongoing mélange of sensational cliffhangers and disputes propels the Barrington's family feud. Giles struggles to retain his seat in the House of Commons, and brother-in-law Harry becomes a popular mystery writer. While raising the hyperactive and gifted Sebastian, Emma and Harry also adopt an artistic daughter, Jessica, who strikingly resembles both Emma and Sebastian. Giles's colorful political and private life disrupts the controlling interests in the Barrington empire, and Alex Fisher, a former detestable acquaintance of both Harry and Giles, returns to disrupt their financial security and professional lives. VERDICT Archer's consistent inclusion of trivial, autobiographical minutiae pertaining to parliamentary procedures and the election process dominates numerous chapters and belabors an already weakening plotline. Unlike the previous title, this chatty and tiresome volume lacks the captivating intrigue that is often a hallmark of Archer's writing. [See Prepub Alert, 9/17/12.]—Jerry P. Miller, Cambridge, MA
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781250000989
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 4/30/2013
  • Series: Clifton Chronicles Series , #3
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 384
  • Sales rank: 158,207
  • Product dimensions: 6.40 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 1.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Jeffrey Archer

Jeffrey Archer was educated at Oxford University. He has served five years in Britain’s House of Commons and nineteen years in the House of Lords. All of his novels and short story collections—including Sins of the Father, Only Time Will Tell, Kane and Abel, and False Impression—have been international bestselling books. Archer is married with two sons and lives in London and Cambridge.

Biography

Few contemporary writers can lay claim to as many career highs and lows as Jeffrey Archer -- bestselling novelist, disgraced politician, British peer, convicted perjurer, and former jailbird. And whether you view his misfortunes as bad luck or well-deserved comeuppance depends largely on how you feel about this gregarious, fast-talking force of nature.

Born in London and raised in Somerset, Archer attended Wellington School and worked at a succession of jobs before being hired to teach Physical Education at Dover College. He gained admission to Brasenose College at Oxford, where he distinguished himself as a first-class sprinter and a tireless promoter, famously inveigling the Beatles into supporting a fundraising drive he spearheaded on behalf of the then-obscure charity Oxfam.

After leaving Oxford, Archer continued work as a fundraiser and ran successfully for political office. He was elected to the House of Commons in 1969 but was forced to step down in 1974 when he lost his fortune in a fraudulent investment scheme. He turned to writing in order to stave off bankruptcy. His first novel, Not a Penny More, Not a Penny Less, was published in 1976 and became an instant hit. It was followed, in quick succession, by a string of bestsellers, including his most famous novel, Kane and Abel (1979), which was subsequently turned into a blockbuster CBS-TV miniseries.

On the strength of his literary celebrity, Archer revived his political career in 1985, serving as Deputy Chairman of the Conservative Party under Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. The following year he was forced to resign over a scandal involving payment to a London prostitute. (He admitted paying the money, but denied vehemently that it was for sex.) In 1987, he sued a British tabloid for libel and was awarded damages in the amount of 500,000 pounds.

Despite the adverse publicity, Queen Elizabeth (acting on the advice of Prime Minister John Major) awarded Archer a life peerage in 1992. The Conservative Party selected him to run for Mayor of London in the 2000 election, but he withdrew from the race when perjury charges were brought against him in the matter of the 1987 libel trial. In 2001, he was convicted and served half of a four-year prison term. (He turned the experience into three bestselling volumes of memoir!) Since his release, Lord Archer has expressed no interest in returning to public office, choosing instead to concentrate on charity work and on his writing career.

Controversy has dogged Archer most of his adult life. Claims still circulate that he falsified his paperwork to gain entrance to Oxford; and, at various other times, he has been accused of shoplifting, padding expenses, insider trading, misappropriation of funds, and financing a failed coup d'état against a foreign government. Needless to say, all this has kept him squarely in the sights of the British tabloids.

Yet, for all the salacious headlines and in spite of lukewarm reviews, Archer remains one of Britain's most popular novelists. His books will never be classified as great literature, but his writing is workmanlike and he has never lost his flair for storytelling. In addition to his novels, he has also written short stories and plays. Clearly, in "art," as in life, Jeffrey Archer has proved himself an affable survivor.

Good To Know

Archer was once a competitive runner and represented Great Britain in international competition.

Regarding the sex scandal that ultimately landed her husband in prison, Lady Mary Archer, the author's wife of 35 years, told reporters that she was "cross" with her husband but that "we are all human and Jeffrey manages to be more human than most. I believe his virtues and talents are also on a larger scale."

The prison where Archer was transferred for carrying out his perjury sentence in October 2001 is a "low security" jail on the Lincolnshire coast, a facility known for raising high-quality pork. According to one authority, "It is considered to be a cushy little place."

After his "fall from grace," Archer counted former Conservative PMs Margaret Thatcher and John Major among his many loyal supporters.

In the 1980s, Archer and his wife, Mary, purchased the Old Vicarage, Grantchester, a house associated with the poet Rupert Brooke.
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    1. Hometown:
      London and the Old Vicarage, Grantchester
    1. Date of Birth:
      April 15, 1940
    1. Education:
      Attended Brasenose College, Oxford, 1963-66. Received a diploma in sports education from Oxford Institute

Read an Excerpt

Best Kept Secret


By Jeffrey Archer

St. Martin's Press

Copyright © 2013 Jeffrey Archer
All right reserved.

ISBN: 9781250000989

1
 
 
“THEREFORE IF ANY man can show any just cause why these two people may not lawfully be joined together in holy matrimony, let him now speak, or else hereafter forever hold his peace.”
Harry Clifton would never forget the first time he’d heard those words, and how moments later his whole life had been thrown into turmoil. Old Jack, who like George Washington could never tell a lie, had revealed in a hastily called meeting in the vestry that it was possible that Emma Barrington, the woman Harry adored, and who was about to become his wife, might be his half sister.
All hell had broken loose when Harry’s mother admitted that on one occasion, and only one, she had had sexual intercourse with Emma’s father, Hugo Barrington. Therefore, there was a possibility that he and Emma could be the offspring of the same father.
At the time of her dalliance with Hugo Barrington, Harry’s mother had been walking out with Arthur Clifton, a stevedore who worked at Barrington’s Shipyard. Despite the fact that Maisie had married Arthur soon afterward, the priest refused to proceed with Harry and Emma’s wedding while there was a possibility it might contravene the church’s ancient laws on consanguinity.
Moments later, Emma’s father Hugo had slipped out of the back of the church, like a coward leaving the battlefield. Emma and her mother had traveled up to Scotland, while Harry, a desolate soul, remained at his college in Oxford, not knowing what to do next. Adolf Hitler had made that decision for him.
Harry left the university a few days later and exchanged his academic gown for an ordinary seaman’s uniform. But he had been serving on the high seas for less than a fortnight when a German torpedo had scuppered his vessel, and the name of Harry Clifton appeared on the list of those reported lost at sea.
“Wilt thou take this woman to thy wedded wife, wilt thou keep thee only unto her, as long as you both shall live?”
“I will.”
It was not until after the end of hostilities, when Harry had returned from the battlefield scarred in glory, that he discovered Emma had given birth to their son, Sebastian Arthur Clifton. But Harry didn’t find out until he had fully recovered that Hugo Barrington had been killed in the most dreadful circumstances, and bequeathed the Barrington family another problem, every bit as devastating to Harry as not being allowed to marry the woman he loved.
Harry had never considered it at all significant that he was a few weeks older than Giles Barrington, Emma’s brother and his closest friend, until he learned that he could be first in line to inherit the family’s title, its vast estates, numerous possessions and, to quote the will, all that therein is. He quickly made it clear that he had no interest in the Barrington inheritance, and was only too willing to forfeit any birthright that might be considered his, in favor of Giles. The Garter King of Arms seemed willing to go along with this arrangement, and all might have progressed in good faith, had Lord Preston, a Labor backbencher in the Upper House, not taken it upon himself to champion Harry’s claim to the title, without even consulting him.
“It is a matter of principle,” Lord Preston had explained to any lobby correspondents who questioned him.
“Wilt thou have this man to thy wedded husband, to live together after God’s ordinance, in the holy estate of matrimony?”
“I will.”
Harry and Giles remained inseparable friends throughout the entire episode, despite the fact that they were officially set against each other in the highest court in the land, as well as on the front pages of the national press.
Harry and Giles would both have rejoiced at the Lord Chancellor’s decision had Emma and Giles’s grandfather, Lord Harvey, been in his seat on the front bench to hear his ruling, but he never learned of his triumph. The nation remained divided by the outcome, while the two families were left to pick up the pieces.
The other consequence of the Lord Chancellor’s ruling was, as the press were quick to point out to their rapacious readers, that the highest court in the land had ordained that Harry and Emma were not of the same bloodline, and therefore he was free to invite her to be his lawfully wedded wife.
“With this ring I thee wed, with my body I thee worship and with all my worldly goods I thee endow.”
However, Harry and Emma both knew that a decision made by man did not prove beyond reasonable doubt that Hugo Barrington was not Harry’s father, and as practicing Christians, it worried them that they might be breaking God’s law.
Their love for each other had not diminished in the face of all they had been through. If anything, it had grown stronger, and with the encouragement of her mother, Elizabeth, and the blessing of Harry’s mother Maisie, Emma accepted Harry’s proposal of marriage. It only saddened her that neither of her grandmothers had lived to attend the ceremony.
The nuptials did not take place in Oxford, as originally planned, with all the pomp and circumstance of a university wedding, and the inevitable glare of publicity that would accompany it, but at a simple register office ceremony in Bristol, with only the family and a few close friends in attendance.
Perhaps the saddest decision that Harry and Emma reluctantly agreed on was that Sebastian Arthur Clifton would be their only child.


 
Copyright © 2013 by Jeffrey Archer


Continues...

Excerpted from Best Kept Secret by Jeffrey Archer Copyright © 2013 by Jeffrey Archer. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 138 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(64)

4 Star

(42)

3 Star

(20)

2 Star

(7)

1 Star

(5)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 138 Customer Reviews
  • Posted May 3, 2013

    This was a good trilogy, and very enjoyable. Mr. Archer left it

    This was a good trilogy, and very enjoyable. Mr. Archer left it open to continue the saga of the Cliftons & Barringtons. I would love to read more of their story.

    5 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 13, 2013

    Jeffrey Archer is one of the better plotters, if not THE best, i

    Jeffrey Archer is one of the better plotters, if not THE best, in the business. I read his books to the exclusion of all else; eating (including feeding my family), sleeping and the occasional shower. Just be prepared; you won't be able to put it down once you start it. And that only makes the wait until the next in the Clifton Chronicles even longer. I think Best Kept Secret is the best of the series, so far. My only negative is that I didn't write it.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 12, 2013

    left you hanging his plot twists a little too much to keep you h

    left you hanging his plot twists a little too much to keep you hanging in te end

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 8, 2013

    I liked this book, but....

    I was enjoying the continuation of the Clifton saga, it got exciting towards the end, and then... Really, Jeffrey Archer, ANOTHER cliffhanger! It's obvious and overdone. Why not just put a sentence at the end, saying "Buy my next book". At this point, who cares?

    3 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 7, 2013

    Horrible ending to a boring book.  Jeffrey Archer is now crossed

    Horrible ending to a boring book.  Jeffrey Archer is now crossed off my list of must-read authors.

    3 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 31, 2013

    Very Good Read

    I love all of Jeffrey Archer books. I started my love affair with Kane & Abel, moved on to Sons of Fortune and have read everything else. He's such a great writer, makes you feel like you are a part of his character's lives.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 13, 2013

    A disappointment...... The first two books were excellent - I do

    A disappointment......
    The first two books were excellent - I don't know what happened here.
    I can only hope that there is another book to follow. This was a terrible
    ending to a pretty good trilogy. Please don't disappoint us again Mr. Archer.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 12, 2013

    3rd book????

    Really!..... how could you not even offer the hint of a follow up book when you have that kind of ending!.... i think i am done with this author......

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 5, 2013

    Best Kept Secret is the third book in a series. Unfortunately y

    Best Kept Secret is the third book in a series. Unfortunately you have to read the first two books in the series to fully enjoy this story. It would be best if Archer gave a little synopsis to remind readers of the characters and plot.




    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 31, 2013

    This is an absolute must read!

    If you are not yet a fan of Jeffrey Archer (and I can't imagine anyone not being a fan) I highly recommend you read the Clifton Chronicles. This is the absolute BEST series I have ever read. Each installment ends with a cliff hanger. I read all three books in order (recommend you do this) and cannot wait for #4. Jeffrey Archer is a true master of suspense and his eye for detail and intrigue is amazing. Get your hands on every Jeffrey Archer book and you will never be disappointed.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 16, 2013

    as with the others in the series i am left with a longing for th

    as with the others in the series i am left with a longing for the next book
    Can't wait

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 15, 2014

    This was my first Jeffrey Archer book and I had a hard time putt

    This was my first Jeffrey Archer book and I had a hard time putting it down. The ending was a "WOW"! My question for other readers is whether or not it matters that I have read the Best Kept Secret before reading the first two books in The Clifton Chronicles? I didn't know that this was the third book in a trilogy, and I'd like to read the first two books in the series. I'd appreciate input from Jeffrey Archer fans.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 25, 2014

    The Best Kept Secret is the third in a series by Jeffery Archer

    These 3 books are so well written it is very hard to put it down. This third book includes 2 generations of a wealthy shipping company. lots of happenings to this family, good and bad. I am hoping there will be yet another book in this series by Jeffery Archer......

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 22, 2014

    Highly recommend

    I have not read an Archer book I have not thoroughly enjoyed. He is not a "cookie cutter" writer. This novel continues the story as excitingly as the first in the series. I'm anxious to read #4.

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  • Posted April 4, 2014

    Great series.

    I like Jeffrey Archer's writing, and this series is very, very good. Can't wait to start on #4.

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  • Posted March 28, 2014

    Excellent!

    Awaiting next book and I understand it will not be published until 2015. The writer is fabulous and defines each character in much detail. I would gladly pre-order the next book whenever it is supposed to be published.'

    I enjoyed his books so much I am looking at other books by him.

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  • Posted March 21, 2014

    still reading

    a little drawn out on this one. three pages of what a town looks like is a little much.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 7, 2014

    Highly Recommended!

    Best Kept Secret is the 3rd book in The Clifton Series and Jeffrey Archer continues to weave an intricate web connecting the lives of all the characters. As always, the end of each book leaves you WANTING MORE. I can't wait to purchase the next in the series!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 28, 2013

    If Your Read the First Two, You Must Read This One

    Book three in a four book series. Not as good as the first two. Very little action and poor character development. Really enjoyed the first two. Look forward to the fourth book due out in March 2014.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 20, 2013

    Highly recommend

    Love this series and can't wait for the next book to come out

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 138 Customer Reviews

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