His Secret Family

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 12 Sep 2019

Member Reviews

Thrilling story, great plot and characters that keep you guessing right til the end.  Great for fans of this genre.  Really enjoyable.
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It is not very often that I will stray away from reading crime fiction, but every now and then a book in another genre will get my attention, which was the case for His Secret Family. I was intrigued immediately from reading the blurb and I just had to read this to find out more and how it would all unfold.

Ali doesn’t waste any time in getting things going with an opening that hooks you in straight away and leaves you on a cliffhanger. From there, you take a ride on an emotional rollercoaster where you are not let off until the final page.

Ali has crafted a story that covers topics of secrets, lies, infidelity, family drama, marriage, mental illness, loss, grief, autism, acceptance and ones need for perfection, which are entwined with twists and turns including a tragedy that will break your heart. Make sure you have the tissues handy!

Told in alternating chapters from the perspective of four women over different time periods, each one adds a layer to the story which is expertly done without it becoming too overwhelming with all of these points of view. The common denominator for all of these women is one man and the story follows how he has impacted each of these women’s lives.

I found all of the characters to be written perfectly. Each one is complex and not without flaws. In a story like this it is to be expected and adds realism to it. Some were unlikable, others likeable which was the perfect balance.

I really enjoyed Ali’s writing style. It is honest, raw, emotive and she has brought this story to life beautifully. Some of the topics covered in the book are at times hard to read, but Ali handles each one sensitively and compassionately.

Ali is a new author to me and one that I am so glad to have been introduced to. She is an amazing storyteller and knows how to get a readers attention and how to keep them engaged and enthralled from go to woe. I look forward to reading more books from Ali.

Thank-you to NetGalley, Bookouture and Ali Mercer for allowing me to read an advanced copy of His Secret Family which I have reviewed honestly and voluntarily.
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I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.   Thank you NetGalley!!  

I had high hopes for this story initially.   The summary/blurb was interesting and drew me in... but I honestly had a hard time getting into the actual book.     It was slow at times.   It dragged out in spots it shouldn't have.    and the ending wasn't anything too special. 

I'm sure there are others who loved this story... but unfortunately, it wasn't me.
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I found this book very difficult to get into, the storyline was extremely slow to get going and to be honest it never really did get going. It plodded along and at times I was really bored and nearly gave up on reading it. It was only due to a long train journey and nothing else to read kept me going.to finish it and when I did I felt reallly disappointed. Have never read any of this author so it wasn’t as if I expected it to be good like some of my usual fav authors..
Would I try another book but this author- not sure how to answer that.
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My Rating: 4.5 Stars

He simply walked away. After a few years of marriage to Paula, Mark had an affair with Jenny. However, he went back to Paula and they had a daughter named Daisy. However, as it was slowly revealed that Daisy was on the autism spectrum, it all became too much for Mark.

When Mark and Jenny originally had their affair, Jenny became pregnant with a daughter she named Ava. Jenny married another man, and even had another daughter named Ellie. When Ava was sixteen, Jenny and Mark began dating and soon married. Jenny had no idea that Mark had left his family, especially due to his not being able to cope with a disabled daughter.

This touching story by Ali Mercer is delivered in first-person from four points of view - Jenny, Paula, Ava and Ellie. Paula's entries are especially sad, as she was left to raise Daisy all alone. Jenny is thrilled, yet hesitant to have another chance with Mark, especially with two daughters that she has always put first in her life. Then Ava and Ellie have very different views on what is happening with their mother and the "new" man in her life.

Mark's point of view is not shared. However, readers get enough ammunition to dislike him greatly. After all, how can anyone be drawn to a person that walks out on a wife and child, never mind the original affair?

This was a difficult story to read at times. My heart bled for Paula and Daisy. Meanwhile, I hated to wonder whether or not Jenny would be hurt by letting Mark back into her life. However, it was these very issues that made this book such a compelling read. Ms. Mercer writes an affecting story, allowing readers to be drawn into the delicate lives of these characters, all the while hoping beyond hope that they would all find a happy future. With so many issues touched on: autism, cheating, divorce and more, this was a superb read. The author did a fine job leaving me satisfied with the conclusion.

Many thanks to Bookouture and to NetGalley for this ARC to review. This is my honest opinion.
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A strange book as told from the perspective of four woman.  Paula is Marks first wife. Jenny is the second wife and mother to his eldest daughter Ava. Ava is the oldest daughter but doesn’t find out who her real dad is until her teens. Then there’s Ellie. Jenny’s younger daughter. She’s also slightly psychic. 
Mark is the connection and through the book you begin to take a real dislike to the fella. Especially his views on disability. 
Overall a good read.
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An enthralling family drama told from four female perspectives that reveals a story that is emotional, honest, poignant and shocking.

Beginning with a wedding, two uninvited guests, and a seemingly tragic event, you may be forgiven for thinking you know what this story is about before it begins, but you’re probably wrong.

The story begins with Paula and the wedding. Then the time frame slips into the past and Jenny (Mother,) Ava(Eldest Daughter), and Ellie(Youngest Daughter) begin to tell their stories. The plot reveals events that change their lives and shape their futures. The appearance of Mark gives hope to Jenny, but disruption for the daughters. Gradually you learn Mark’s secrets and his controlling personality traits. The major plot twist confirms my opinion of Mark.

The story’s pace, keeps the reader engaged. The twists are subtle but resonate. The complex plot, never loses its way, even as detail and layers are added.

The characters are complex and authentic. It is easy to empathise with all the female characters, excepting Ingrid(Mark’s Mother). Ellie’s character is particularly well written, and I enjoyed the added dimension she brings to the story.

The ending is satisfying, being both hopeful and realistic.

I received a copy of this book from Bookouture via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
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Jenny Harris is a hairdresser who is divorced and raising her two daughters, Ava and Ellie.  Ava is the brainy but bossy one.  Ellie is more easygoing, quiet, and enjoys reading.  One day, Jenny receives a bouquet of red roses and the girls are intrigued as to who could have sent them.  Jenny tells them that they are from an old friend, Mark, who is rather wealthy.  He takes them out for a full tea one day which is something the girls have never experienced.  Ava has decided that she does not like Mark and Ellie is willing to give him a chance.

Mark had been married to Paula.  They ever had children although all their friends did.  Mark didn’t want children because he liked nice things and couldn’t be bothered with friends talking about their children.  That’s when Paula realized that their marriage was all wrong for her unless he wanted children too.  But she becomes pregnant and Daisy is born.  The child is slow and it appears she has a type of autism.  Mark cannot handle this and leaves them both.

Now, he is happily married to Jenny.  The story takes the reader through the ups and downs of their lives and how Ava and Ellie mature.  I believe that the author is trying to show us how the decisions we make in life can come back to haunt us later.

The story itself is good, but I couldn’t help but anticipate something that never came.  I’m sure that a lot of readers will enjoy it.

Copy provided by NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.
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I tried really hard to like this book. I just couldn’t get into it. Four narrators seemed like a lot at the beginning, but I finally kept up. It took too long to get to the main point of this story. I felt as if it dragged on and on. I couldn’t relate to the characters at all. It just wasn’t the book for me.
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3 1/2 "secret-filled" stars

There is an old saying that families often have skeletons in their closets.  "Skeletons" was a term used to refer to "secrets".  Well, if one used that term for this family, there would basically be a graveyard in their closet because they have so many skeletons.

This novel starts with present day and then flashes back.  It bounces between multiple POV's and time periods.  All the information you are given is meant to help you understand what led to the incident at the beginning of the story.  The one common denominator between all the women involved is a man named Mark.  You just have to understand what his relationship is with everyone else and how they are all connected.

Also, one of the girls, Ellie, appears to have some type of ability to sense future events.  It seems to be more of a sense of foreboding as opposed to an actual foresight where she knows exactly what will happen.  They don't dwell on it very much and none of her parents seem to really acknowledge it.  I felt like it was a plot line that could have had more development.  I do think there was a nod to it at the end of the book and I felt that was well done.

This novel covers a multitude of family issues.  Ms. Mercer truly included numerous emotional, social and medical topics within this story.  I won't mention any of them specifically in this review because I want to allow them to unfold naturally within the pages of the story.  

This was the first book I have read by Ali Mercer but I will definitely read more in the future.

Thank you to NetGalley and Bookouture for this ARC.
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This is a story a out two mothers, three daughters and the father who is the connection to them all. Jenny is a single mother to her daughters Ellie and Ava. They are visited by their father, Mark. Jenny had recently reconnected with Mark who had been an old flame. Mark also has an ex-wife Paula. The story starts with the ending of the book followed by the story of events that took place leading up to it.

The story is told from four peoples point of view Paula and Jenny (the wives) and Ellie and Ava (the daughters). We gradually learn what had happened in Mark's first marriage that could  now impact on his second. The story cover: divorce, disability, adultery, secrets and mistrust. The characters are complex and believable. The timeline is a bit all over the place.  I liked the authors style in writing this story.  The story just flowed off the pages. I was drawn in from the start, needing to know just what had happened to get us to the point I'd just read. Loved it.

I would like to thank Netgalley, Bookouture and the author Ali Mercer for my ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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First, I want to thank Ali Mercer, Bookouture and NetGalley for providing me with this book so I may bring you with this review. 

In His Secret Family an Absolutely Gripping and Emotional Pageturner By Ali Mercer had more family drama than a prime-time soap opera!! In fact, this is one book I would love to see on the big screen! I know it would be a box office hit! This book was filled with lies, secrets, infidelities, tragedy, shocking moments, twists and turns, family, and weddings.

So many times in this book my heart went out to so many people for so many reasons. My heart went out to Daisy the most. A sweet innocent girl who at a young age was different from all of the rest of the kids in her class. She just learned differently than the others. Paula did everything she could to find her the best care. My heart didn’t go out to her just because she was diagnosed with Autism. It was because her Dad Mark couldn’t handle having a disabled child as his own. He was so rude and crude to her and Paula! Oh, that really set me off in the book!! I was yelling at my Kindle for the conversation that went on between him and Paula! I was livid that he rather leaves her and have a normal family with a daughter that would thrive and get married someday. Not someone with an unknown future! I hated this man with every bone in my body for leaving Paula and his daughter because he was not man enough to be accepting of his Autistic Child!  

Ali Mercer in my eyes is an incredible storyteller! At the very beginning of the book we see a woman and a girl watching a wedding from the outside. From the inside you see a man getting married but glimpses over to the window and is shocked. This instantly hooks you and you don’t find out til the end how this all fits into to place! It all comes full circle and you will be shocked at the ending of the book. Many things I didn’t see coming. Many of them I was plenty surprised.
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Secrets, secrets, lies, lies.  This family’s dramatic story is well told by each character, which really helps the reader to understand what each is experiencing.  A quick, easy read that all comes together in the end with a few surprises along the way.  Many thanks to Bookouture and Netgalley for the opportunity to read an advance copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
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Ali Mercer's newest release, His Secret Family, is more of a family drama than a gripping, suspenseful story. Single mother Jenny has raised her two daughters mostly alone for the last several years and a man from her, Mark, past re-emerges and attempts to sweep her and her daughters off their feet. However, Ellie, the youngest, is suspicious of Mark-with good reason. He is keeping a secret, as the title alludes to, and the story told with alternating points of view weaves together a little slowly and then the last section really picks up the pace.  Fans of emotional, family-based stories will enjoy this book.

Thanks to NetGalley, the publisher and author for this ARC in exchange for my honest feedback.
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Lots of emotions in this but not really anything happy or laughable. Mostly sad, mad and gloom. We start out at Ava's wedding and someone is there with their daughter that shouldn't be there. Then we go back about 10 years. We meet Jenny with her 2 daughters, Ava and Ellie. Jenny is divorced and her ex is an alcoholic and kind of a dead beat dad. Jenny brings a new man into her family, Mark. He is not what she thinks. We find out secrets about him and one that Jenny and him have been keeping and it all comes out.
I think Mark s not a very nice guy. He seems to think that kids and life should be perfect and when they aren't then he moves on. His mother was just a mean person as well. Her life was all about Mark.
I did like Jenny even though she needed to have a little bit of a backbone but she does get her point across and Mark does seem to really love her.
I received this from Bookouture for an honest review.
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What a captivating, true-to-life story this is.   I was hooked from the very first pages of this story of divorced mum Jenny who is struggling to raise two daughters, 11 year-old Ellie and 16-year-old Ava, working as a stylist.  The story is told with each chapter from the point of view of each character which makes it very interesting and full of twists.   Jenny connects with Mark, a former love interest from before she was married to former husband, Sean. Thank you NetGalley and Bookouture for the ARC of this powerfully emotional book in exchange for an honest review.  I highly recommend this book.
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This book certainly opens with a bang! 

Once you are over the initial shock it slows down, but you are still very intrigued because you want to know how the beginning and the rest of the book connect.

The story is told through the eyes of different characters. This gives the reader an excellent tour inside the heads of those people.

At the beginning of the story, the reader starts with an empty plate, but slowly but surely the author adds emotion after emotion until you have an overflowing one.

I never would have thought the author would take me on this road, but I am glad she did.

Every child is precious and unique and you most certainly can't treat them all the same way. Sometimes life gives you lemons. It's up to you to find the perfect mixer to obtain the best result. 4 stars.

 Thank you, Ali Mercer and Bookouture (via Netgalley)
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A convoluted mess of family situations which showed the thoughts and feelings of people. A story written in 4 POV of women, some of whom had overlapping lives, all concentrating on the man Mark.

Jenny and Mark had an affair and daughter Ava was the result. Mark went back to his legitimate wife and had a child Daisy who was on autistic spectrum, so he rejected mother and daughter as they were not perfect. Jenny married someone else had another daughter Ellie. Mark came back to Jenny, blaming his ex-wife, hiding his shortcomings, and they tried to live happily ever after till Ava got married, and things came to a confrontation.

My second book by author Ali Mercer, the story had me grappling to get a hook on to the thoughts of these characters. Each of them were unlikable and selfish, except for child Daisy. She was innocent and sweet.

The author has tried to get into the psyche of the human mind to show us the nature of some. Selfishness and a need for perfection were ingrained. Some didn’t want to face facts and believed in explanation without clarifying. All the characters seemed to seek happiness at any cost, primarily their own.

It was down the line when Ali transformed them, and there was light in the dark tunnel as facts presented themselves. Forgiveness is for one’s own soul rather than for the guilt-doers. The story brought to the forefront what we rarely want to face. It removed the masks off people. The opening scene was at its most dramatic, and then the layers swirled and waved feebly in the winds of time.

Life is a blend of situations and circumstances and people who face them, some bravely, but most, not so much. This book was a honest portrayal of some of them, stark and raw drawn as characters in a fictional situation, people whom we have all come across in real life. A reflecting read.
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Thanks to Netgalley for the advanced copy....

Well, it was a good read..really enjoyed it...

Looking forward to read this book from this author soon...
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I mistakenly thought, by the blurb, the cover and the title that this was going to be a domestic noir, a psychological thriller and although there is a mystery it’s not the heart of the novel.  It’s a family drama, well written, and covering many different difficult topics.  Told with different narrators in different timelines, I loved one character and despised another but all four were well crafted and fleshed out.  It’s a story of motherhood, love and loss.
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