His Secret Family

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 12 Sep 2019

Member Reviews

His Secret Family is a  compelling story about relationships, secrets and dysfunctional families. There is a lot of suspense and drama, but also well-thought out and developed characters with depth to their personalities.
The story is well paced and I raced through the pages,  the tension was built up brilliantly..

I have read and enjoyed previous books by this author Alison Mercer - Stop The Clock and After I Left You which were amazing books, so I will definitely look out for more by this talented author.
Was this review helpful?
Thank you Netgalley for a copy for an honest review.
HIS SECRET FAMILY by Ali Mercer. Is an ok read , I did enjoy the various points of view , I just wouldn't exactly consider it a thriller. Over all Ali did an ok job.
Was this review helpful?
His Secret Family is brimming with secrets. 

Past secrets seem to always have a way of surfacing and colliding with the present when the truth must be discovered.

The hopes, dreams, heartbreaks, trials, healing, and elusive joys in the lives of Ava, Ellie, Jenny and Paula - seen through their eyes, immediately engage you. Their stories are threaded together by the actions and decisions of one man. A man who has intentions of his own, regardless of the fall-out and has deviously played them all. 

Some societal issues; divorce, alcoholism, infidelity, autism, even a touch of the mystic, are dealt with grace and sensitivity in this well-paced and emotion driven book. 

Ali Mercer has that on on-target ability to lock in your emotions from her first sentence and her stories stay with you long after the book is finished. 

I highly recommend His Secret Family and reading everything Ali writes. 

Thank you to NetGalley and Bookouture for the read of Ali Mercer’s, His Secret Family. 

Opinions expressed in my reviews are my own.
Was this review helpful?
This book was weird, wicked and wonderful in all the right ways. It wasn't at all what I was expecting but I really loved it nonetheless. His Secret Family is nicely paced with suspense right from the opening chapter. As I read the first few pages, I feared the story was going to be overly sentimental, but I was soon reassured this would not be the case. The characters were well thought out and the topic of merging families raised intriguing questions and even stirred anger in this reader (This is no Brady Bunch). I loved how unique the plot-line was and what made this book an exceptional read, to me, were the chapters told from different perspectives and from various time-lines. It was very engrossing, making me want to continue to turn the pages until three o'clock in the morning.

I adored this novel. Absolutely, one-hundred percent adored it. This is my second read by Ali Mercer and she writes so beautifully, I will definitely be reading all her books. His Secret Family packed such an emotional, powerful punch, one that I don't think I've felt before that I'll always associate with her novels from now on. Exquisitely written, highly emotive page turner.
Was this review helpful?
It’s a beautiful day for a wedding. White roses scent the air and the summer sunlight streams in. A spoon chimes against a champagne flute and the room falls silent. And there he is – my husband – getting to his feet to propose a toast. He’s still handsome. His new wife is next to him, gazing upwards, oblivious.

I’m not supposed to be here. All these years in the same town and I had no idea until I saw his name on the seating plan. He lived with me, once. Loved me. Small-town memories are long, but the people in this room don’t want to remember.

They say the healing is in letting go, but after what he did, he needs to know we haven’t gone away just because he’s shut his eyes.

So I take Daisy by the hand and step forward from the shadows. He notices us and his eyes widen. The champagne glass falls from his hand and smashes. Then he sags forward, making a terrible sound – a sort of strangled scream…

****

I found it slightly difficult to really follow this book. Not overly sure why. I think because from the 'blurb' I was expecting a different story. But... I kept picking it up, every opportunity I had! So figure that one out!! I would recommend people to read it though.
Was this review helpful?
Feel free to read this wonderful book if you love a powerful and soul-stirring family drama!

Past secrets are uncovered and other lies and deceptions are laid bare along the way, making for an interesting and engaging read. His Secret Family has some fabulous, well-drawn characters but, for me, Ava and Ellie stood out as both were very different in nature and outlook. I loved the way Ali Mercer brought life to the characters and the special way she had in making the words flow. I also enjoyed that the story was told from four different view points, as this complemented an already great plot and added another dimension to its level of depth. A fabulous and emotional roller-coaster read that I would not hesitate in recommending. 

I received a complimentary digital copy of this novel, at my own request, from Bookouture via NetGalley. This review is my own unbiased opinion.
Was this review helpful?
I'm not sure how I feel about HIS SECRET FAMILY. It certainly wasn't what I expected and it certainly left a feeling of distaste at times. It is emotional and often uncomfortable for those for whom it may hit too close to home. It is messy, it is imperfect and it is heartbreaking. A dramatic tale of families, relationships, secrets, lies, deception and honesty  with many threads woven together to complete the picture.

It is the story of two mothers, three daughters and the father who connects them all.

Jenny is a single mother to daughters Ava and Ellie with the occasional visit from their father Sean, who left soon after Ellie was born. That was 11 years ago. And since then Jenny has raised both girls single-handedly in their small two bedroom council flat. Then one day a knock at the door reveals a bunch of red roses which Ellie accepts on behalf of her mother. She begins to wonder if their mum has met someone and what it would mean for them. Ava, the tough and often moody 16 year old cynic, sneers at the thought slamming the door to the bedroom she shares with her sister. When Jenny arrives home and sees the flowers, Ellie is sure that their mum has found someone. She seems different. Happier.

It isn't long before Jenny introduces the girls to Mark, who does his best to impress and befriend them. Ellie is quite taken with him but Ava is a tougher nut to crack. And while Ellie is happy to enjoy conversation with him, Mark seems far more interested in Ava. Noticing this, Ava tells him in no uncertain terms not to ignore her sister who has been trying to talk to him. Ava doesn't know what his game is, but she doesn't trust him.

Then one day Ellie overhears her mum on the phone to who she can only assume is Mark saying "we have to tell them but not just yet. She will come round." Who are they talking about? The next thing they know, Mark has whisked the lot of them away on a holiday to the South of France, buying each of them a new wardrobe for the occasion. Is he too good to be true? But Ava still isn't impressed by his looks, his smile, his good nature or even his money or his flashy Jaguar. It's not until they are left alone in the bar that Ava sees her reflection next to Mark - blonde hair, blue eyes, same complexion. If anyone saw them together they would naturally assume... Ava turns to Mark and says "You're my father, aren't you?"

This new information puts a whole different spin on things as their secret comes to light. Jenny and Mark had a one night stand when Jenny was still a trainee hairdresser. The two clicked and enjoyed a meal and one night together. But then Mark went back to his wife from whom he'd been separated and asked Jenny never to call him again. A couple of months later, Jenny discovered she was pregnant and, feeling Mark had a right to know, called him. But a woman answered she she hung up. Alone, emotional and pregnant, Jenny married her friend Sean whom she shared a flat with. He knew about Mark but was more than happy to take on Ava as his own, for he adored Jenny. But cracks began to appear in their marriage when Ellie was born and he left, leaving Jenny alone once again. But now Mark was back. But is it for good? Can Jenny trust him?

Then there is Paula, Mark's ex-wife. Desperate for a baby, Paula began planning and timing when they would make love which grated on Mark and put a strain on their marriage. She tried to coax Mark into trying IVF but he would have none of it. They separated but decided to try again, with Paula still harbouring a burning desire for a child of her own. Then one day, the miracle she thought would never happen! The blue line on the pregnancy test confirmed it - she was pregnant! Mark doted on her, made sure she ate the right things and took care of herself, and they were excited to see their baby on the monitor during the ultrasound. 

Then baby Daisy was born. All ten fingers and toes, their beautiful sweet miracle of a daughter. Life was good. Everything was perfect. Until it wasn't.

Small things at first, they began to notice Daisy wasn't making the normal growth milestones - first words, first steps. She didn't even seem to be paying attention to anyone or anything. Paula took her to see a specialist who confirmed, after a series of tests over a period of time, that Daisy had autism spectrum disorder. Mark refused to believe it. This was meant to be perfect. He could not have an imperfect child. The final straw was Daisy's pre-school Christmas concert where Mark was humiliated by Daisy's non-performance, believing they were a laughing stock. Feeling no support from her husband when she needed it most, Paula threw him out.

And now, at a loose end, Mark remembers the young hairdresser who cut his hair late on that rainy night afterwhich they enjoyed a meal and the night together. Jenny. So he got in touch. And the rest, they say, is history...or is it? 

Is Mark really who he says he is? Is he telling Jenny the truth? Where does Paula and Daisy fit into his new life? And what is it Ellie senses about him that makes her uneasy?

The story unfolds through the eyes of Jenny, Ava, Ellie and Paula as we are given a glimpse into each of their lives and their thoughts as all the secrets begin to unravel. Each character brings their own strengths to the tale and each are likable or dislikable in their own ways. Mark is someone I didn't trust from the beginning with a narcissistic personality in a world that seems only to revolve around him. He has secrets and lies and misrepresents many aspects of his life for no other reason I can think of but to place himself in a better light. But will be face up to his actions at the end?

HIS SECRET FAMILY deals with the attitudes towards autism, mental illness, infidelity and infertility as well as the secrets, lies and deception woven within. It is honest and raw with a maelstrom of emotions felt by the reader as well as the characters within.

A multi-layered story, HIS SECRET FAMILY is engaging and emotional, enthralling the reader from beginning to end. I'm still trying to work out which one is "his secret family"... I still don't know how I feel about it but that doesn't stop me from recommending it. Pick it up, have a read and see what you think.

I would like to thank #AliMercer, #NetGalley and #Bookouture for an ARC of #HisSecretFamily in exchange for an honest review.
Was this review helpful?
I enjoyed this book very much. Could not put it down. I would recommend this book to get lost in. Very well written.
Was this review helpful?
Perfect chick lit!  I loved the premise and the characters were well developed!  I recommend this for anyone looking for a light and fun read!
Was this review helpful?
Thank you Netgalley and Book Outure for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review. Gave it four stars. I liked the writing style. Holds intrigue since you know there are secrets to be revealed.
Was this review helpful?
I'm sorry but I just didn't enjoy this book at all! I found it boring and it just didn't seem to go anywhere! I persevered though and read it to the end. More than likely it was a case of just not being my cup of tea and other people will enjoy it.
Was this review helpful?
His Secret Family is the second book by Ali Mercer I’ve read and did not disappoint.
The opening chapter in this book throws you right into the ending, it starts off high paced with what is meant to be an idyllic wedding but turns out to be far from the point. The book is told from multiple points of view but is very easy to follow...well I had no problems.
This was a book that was about his secret family and finding out the ins and outs of the deviousness and awfulness that the husband to be had done and lengths to cover everything up. It was an emotional read at times and never felt stagnant moving on at a good pace with really good characters even if they all weren’t likeable.
I would highly recommend this book and I read it in a day as I couldn’t put it down.
I would like to thank Netgalley and Bookouture for this ARC I received in exchange for an honest review.
Was this review helpful?
A book told in different view points, 4 women. When a one night stand turns into a marriage, there are bound to secrets. Secrets can be very damaging, how far will one go to keep them. 

I was a bit confused at first, but the book does come together. 

Thank you Netgalley for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Was this review helpful?
This book has an excellent plot line because everyone secrets, and the damaged caused when the secrets come out.

Mark and Jenny had a one-night stand that left Jenny pregnant.  Mark went back to his wife Paula, and Jenny goes onto marry someone else.  Both have other children.  

Jenny’s marriage ends in divorce, and Mark simply walks away from his wife and child due to their daughter Daisy being on the autism spectrum.

The plot is told through 4 different perspectives, Jenny and her daughter Ava, little sister Ellie and deserted wife Paula.  Mark’s side is not told and maybe because of that he comes across and being selfish.

The woman in the book are strong and loving.  I liked the alternating chapters although it took me a while to get into the plot.  Maybe because I didn’t like Mark and thought that he would get some kind of comeuppance but its no that type of book.

Thank you to the publishers and Netgalley for an advance copy in return for an honest review.
Was this review helpful?
WoW...........What a brilliant book His Secret Family by Ali Mercer. Here's an author that never disappoints, she always writes with so much passion and love, all her books are always beautifully written throughout. However, they should always come with a warning sign! Always have a box of tissues by the side of you as you will need them!!!! "So be warned!!!"

I started to read this wonderful book and I just knew it was going to be an emotional roll a coaster of a book.

Highly recommend all of Ali Mercer's books.

Big Thank you to NetGalley and Bookouture for the e-book ARC to read and review
Was this review helpful?
Ali Mercer has written an honest and emotional story. This book is based on truth and will make you feel uncomfortable at times because it might hit a little too close to home. Life is messy, it is imperfect, and no one‘s intentions are always pure. This is the tale of two mothers, three daughters, and the lies and deceptions that bind them together.

   The story is told from four different perspectives Paula, Jenny, Ava, and Ellie. Jenny is a single mother to Ava and Ellie. Paula is also a mother to Daisy who is on the autism spectrum. The book starts out with a bang and you know these two storylines are somehow connected, but you are not sure how. The layers are peeled, the lies are revealed, and the truth is laid bare. None of these characters were especially likable and the story involves a lot of ugly: infidelity, abandonment, addiction, and denial. But the story is also about family, healing, hope, and forgiveness. I really liked Ali Mercer’s storytelling it was smooth and addictive. My only tiny complaint with the book is it jumps forward 10 years and I really would have liked to know what all had been going on during that timespan, with one character in particular. An interesting family drama that kept it real.

This book in three emojis: 👩‍👧‍👧 🏡 🤰🏻
Was this review helpful?
Every once in a while you pick up a book and find yourself thoroughly hooked right from the start. His Secret Family by Ali Mercer is one of those stories that will easily pull you right in with an opening chapter which will leave you desperate to find out what comes next. Mercer has written an emotionally charged story that is both heartbreaking and in some ways also uplifting at the same time.

Family, with all of its trials and tribulations, is at the forefront of this story. Told in alternating chapters mostly between Ava, Ellie, Jenny and Paula. Their stories are not easy ones to read and not every character is likeable, but the realness that is portrayed from each of these women will definitely leave a lasting impression. I found each character to be perfectly written and three dimensional which left me feeling like I connected with what each person was going through in the story.

His Secret Family really delves into such real time issues such as infertility, the stigma of mental illness, marriage, family, the things mothers do for their children. But on the other side there are also, secrets and lies that slowly unravel as the story progresses. This is definitely a story that goes deep with some truly heartbreaking and emotional scenes, but in the end Ali Mercer does let in some light at the end of the tunnel and I can see where there is hope and forgiveness.

If you are a fan of books by Kate Hewitt with her signature emotionally heartbreaking stories and maybe even a touch of Nicholas Sparks thrown in, then you will definitely want to add Ali Mercer’s His Secret Family to your reading list.
Was this review helpful?
A good domestic drama.  The story is told by four female characters. All very relatable characters particularly to me as a mother of teenagers.  Heartbreaking at times with big secrets as the backdrop.  A riveting read about love, loss, lies, and forgiveness.
Was this review helpful?
"...life was what happened in the space between what you wanted and what you got."

Jenny has two daughters, Ava and Ellie, and she's divorced from Sean when she reconnects with Mark Walsh -- the married man she had an affair with 16 years ago. Despite the misgivings her daughters have, Jenny is excited and happy to find him free and interested in re-establishing a relationship. But they both have secrets they've been keeping and now it's all coming out. Will the love between Jenny and Mark be strong enough to withstand his lies about his other family? NO SPOILERS.

Told in alternating points of view, the narrative unfolds with revelations and the subsequent reactions of the various characters. Each individual woman has a story to tell and the reader begins to see Mark in a different light as the truth emerges. The writing was good and the pace ideal for all the harbingers of things coming to be dropped to the reader. I couldn't quite buy into Ellie's apparent sixth sense or whatever she was experiencing, but all of the characters were a bit difficult to relate to. Although I'm not a huge fan of women's fiction or romance, this did engage and entertain me well enough. This is advertised as an "emotional page turner" and it pulled out a lot of those stops with the events in the book. 

Thank you to NetGalley and Bookouture for the e-book ARC to read and review.
Was this review helpful?
The description of this story gives a glimpse into this emotional family drama, but only a glimpse. There's so much more to the story! It is told throughout from the points of views of four different characters, making it easy to discover what each of them is thinking. There are plenty of shocks, surprises and revelations as the story progresses and so many twists and turns, too, to keep you guessing. It is a story of loves, past and present, of so many different secrets kept for different reasons. It is a story involving celebrations, drama, tragedy, growing up and family life. It starts with a wedding before going back to relate what led to it all. It is a journey filled with misunderstandings, one where relationships are the key and honesty is in question. It is a page turner and a story I didn't want to put down until I'd discovered all those secrets . . . .

Most of the story revolves around Mark and the people he interacts with. He seems a really narcissistic character in so many ways and at times he endeavours to prove himself to be perfect by misrepresenting the actions and attitude of others, only facing up to his own flaws and mistakes at the end of the story. Attitudes to people with autism and mental health are also involved, including some discussions relating to treatments in less enlightened times.There's also one character with psychic abilities but that seemed somewhat incidental and not really acknowledged by others which I felt was strange. It is a story with so many threads running through it and it is only towards the end that they are woven together to complete the picture. It is an intriguing and dramatic  story of families, relationships, secrets, grief, honesty and facing up to reality.

I requested and was gifted a copy of this book via NetGalley and this is my honest review after choosing to read it.
Was this review helpful?