His Secret Family

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 12 Sep 2019

Member Reviews

This story wasn't exactly what I expected, but it was a page turner none the less. The characters are complex. Told from multiple points of view, the story surrounding this family unfolds at a pace that keeps the reader engaged. Some aspects were a bit unbelievable. I couldn't decide if Jenny was an idiot or desperate. Mark is the most unlikable and self centered character. The supernatural aspect related to Ellie seemed unnecessary. Overall it's an emotional family drama.
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His Secret Family – Ali Mercer

I was fortunate to receive this book as an Advance Reader Copy from Netgalley, in exchange for an objective review. This review will also publish to my blog, tropicaldelusions.blog, a few days before publication. 

Jenny is a single Mom, divorced from an alcoholic husband, who struggles to raise her two girls, Ava & Ellie. Living in a second floor flat in the suburbs of London, Jenny barely scrapes by working as a hairdresser. Like most alcoholics, her ex, Sean, is largely absent and very unreliable, so it seems like a dream come true when Mark, a brief romance from the past, re-enters her life, with eyes only for her.

Mark, recently divorced after a lengthy marriage to Paula, has re-connected with Jenny, whom he had had a very brief relationship with many years ago. Wealthy, and now single, Mark brings Jenny and the girls on a whirlwind courtship, taking them to places they’ve never been, and he and Jenny quickly decide to marry. But sometimes things that seem too good to be true ARE too good to be true…

Told from the perspectives of Jenny, Paula, Ava & Ellie, we learn of Mark’s first marriage, its struggles, and of his daughter Daisy – a daughter his new family knows nothing about. Ava, Jenny’s oldest, a teen studying for exams before college, learns some stunning news that she struggles to accept. Ellie, meanwhile, is learning to cope with clairsentient ability as she discovers she can sense things about people, and Jenny revels in her newfound happiness and all that comes with it. 

This story has all the feels, happiness and heartbreak, growth and renewal, betrayal and forgiveness – and hope…

I loved it!!
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I found myself quickly pulled into this book.  Chapter by chapter is told from the POV of the different characters weaving a tale of love, betrayal, ignorance, blind trust and loss.  A satisfyingly emotional read that I highly recommend.
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This book had me hooked from the get go! Told from varying viewpoints, we slowly unravel the story of Mark, Paula, Jenny, Sean, Ava and Ellie.  Great storyline!
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What price are you willing to pay to have the perfect family? Although this book is written from the point of view of four women, the central character connected to all is Mark. Another female character is Mark's mother - which will explain why Mark has turned out the way he has. Interesting plot and and some sympathetic characterizations make this a good read.
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Jenny and her daughters Ava and Ellie are the focus of the story when Jenny brings home Mark. Mark is an old fling from before her daughters were born and wants to rekindle the romance they once had. As Jenny and Mark work to become a family with Ava and Ellie, they find their pasts coming back.

I enjoyed this book but felt the characters could be more developed. There were several storylines that could have been expanded upon and made the book even better.
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The story alternates from the perspective of the main characters.   I was utterly gripped by this book and found it hard to put down.   I look forward to reading more from this author.
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Nice suspense. 
Confusing at first but was intriguing.

Note: I received a free e-copy of the book via Net Galley in exchange for an honest review. Special thanks to the author and publisher for giving me a chance to read it.
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I have really mixed feelings about this book. It is definitely a slow burner but in all fairness is starts off well. There is an element of not knowing and surprise, making you wonder who each character is and where it will go. However, it then becomes rather dull. Nothing of excitement happens when it could have been a thrilling storyline. Also, there are parts that are hard to believe. A mother siding with a man over her children and forgiving many lies relating to children? The end of the book is not exciting and I lost interest in the middle. It was not the book that I was expecting from the gripping title and first paragraph.
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I received a free ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an unbiased review.

His Secret Family may be subtitled as "an absolutely gripping and emotional page turner" but this book is just dull. The author, Ali Mercer, couldn't decide what kind of book it should be - a family saga, a dysfuntional relationship drama with hints of emotional abuse, a psychic eerie tale, or a combination of all. 

Mercer employs multiple narrators who move the plot along at a rather glacial pace. Jenny and her daughters, Ava and Ellie, live a rather hand-to-mouth existence in London. A new man, Mark, appears who seems to be the answer to all their dreams. Of course, he has secrets of his own including the fact that he and Jenny had a one-night stand years ago that resulted in Ava. His truth about his marriage to Paula and their autistic daughter, Daisy, are just some of the secrets he doesn't share with Jenny. 

Oh, and Ellie sees shadows of ghosts.
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Thank you NetGalley for the advanced copy of this book. 

I was quite excited to read this book as the title screamed thriller with some family drama. The book starts off highlighting a part of the story that happens near the end (which I tend to love this type of writing). The book is written in the perspective of four women whose lives are entangled by one man. Jenny is a single mom raising Ellie and Ava. Jenny reconnects with an old flame, Mark, who has an ex-wife, Paula. Mark is not a truthful man to either of the women in his life. 

This book has much family drama but lacks the thriller aspect I was expecting. All in all a quick, easy read which I could not put down. I would recommend this book as it kept me enthralled throughout its entirety.
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This book wasn't exactly what I expected but it still ended up being a pretty great story. I felt like I connected with each of the four narrators, especially Ava. I was expecting a little more of a revenge twist at the end, but was pleasantly surprised with the way the story was wrapped up. I wasn't expecting to feel so much for each one of the ladies.
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Everyone has secrets.  Everyone has something to hide.  Sometimes, no matter how much we try, our secrets surface and there is nothing that you can do to stop it. This is the case with Mark, who has spent years hiding one secret or another.   
The story is told from the perspective of four women-Paula, Jenny, Ava and Ellie.  The dynamics of the relationships are complicated.  Paula was married to Mark.  After a time when she had some feelings develop with a co-worker, her and Mark separated.  It was during this brief time that Mark met Jenny and they had a one-night stand. 
After Mark lets Jenny know that he is going back to his wife, she finds out she is pregnant and chooses to raise her daughter Ava without his help.  Instead she has agreed to marry Mark and raise the child as if she is his own.  Several years later becomes pregnant with Ellie.  
Paula has no clue that Mark had a secret family, even after he discovered that Jennie had a daughter that was his.  After Paula and Mark have a daughter together, it is determined that she has autism, and this is too much for Mark.  It takes away from his perfect image, so he deserts them both, and begins to develop a relationship with Jenny again.
The two have a whirlwind romance resulting in a pregnancy, engagement, and wedding.  It is not until just before the wedding that Jenny learns Mark has a child by Paula, however, he has twisted the story so that he is the victim, in a true narcissist fashion.  
Fast forward ten years, and Ava is getting married.  At her wedding Paula and their daughter enter and Mark collapses.  
There were aspects of this story that I liked and aspects that I didn’t.  I didn’t like Mark.  Not at all and not even at the end when he tries to do better.  I don’t know that I have ever found a character in any story that I have disliked as much as I disliked Mark.  However, that is the calling of a good author - the ability to make their readers develop strong feelings for a character.  
I liked the theme of forgiveness towards the ends of the story, and the strength that each woman had to show in order to forgive Mark.  I liked reading the story from each of their perspectives.  There were aspects of the story that could be a trigger for some people, that readers should be aware of.  Abandonment, autism, mental illness, child loss/infant death are all prevalent in this story. 
This book will be published on September 11, 2019, and receives a rating of three stars.  
I received an electronic ARC copy of this story in exchange for my honest opinion.  It has in no way impacted my opinion of the story.
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This ARC was courtesy of netgalley - all thoughts and opinions are mine and unbiased

Told from 4 different perspectives, a great example that there is always more than one version to a story.  

I absolutely loved this - hearing the 4 different voices was interesting and I found it compelling

A slow burner, I was drawn in from the start and was sad when I came to the end.

A great summer read I would highly recommend
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Thank You Net Galley and Bookouture for an early copy of His Secret Family. I was anxiously looking forward to reading this book by the synopsis. It was NOT disappointing. I did not like the main character Mark but it was an engrossing book. Worth the read.
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Your wedding should be a picture perfect, sun shiny, happy family, type of day wth a radiant bride at its heart. This story begins on Ava's special day and everything is going wonderfully. Unfortunately for her this isn't going to last! As the speeches are about to begin there is a late arrival to the festivities and everything begins to fall apart. 

Ultimately this seems to be a book about perfection and the lengths some people will go to attain it. There are other threads leading from this but for one of the main characters at least there seems to be a need to be seen as the lucky one who has everything they could wish for and then some. 

Of course beneath the surface things aren't that simple and as the story goes back in time it becomes apparent that in the search for something just out of reach we dismiss the good things we already have.  

Told from four perspectives and two timeframes this is a tale of love, loss and acceptance which works on many levels but not all. One main thread, concerning the secret abilities of a child, seemed unnecessary to me and added very little to the story as a whole only serving to show where everything was heading, making it almost unnecessary to actually finish the book! I did however reach the end but my enthusiasm had unfortunately waned by then. This was a shame because parts of it were very well done and the characters were varied and most of them worked. There is a jump of a decade in the second half of the book and it seemed rushed from then on. Threads were finished in an unsatisfactorily hasty manner, leaving me wanting more. Another few chapters could have made for a far more realistic and satisfactory ending. 

I was able to read an advanced copy of this book thanks to NetGalley and the publishers in exchange for an unbiased review and think fans of family drama stand alone novels should enjoy this.
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I really enjoyed this book 
It is written from the point of view of four people which I liked 
I really liked all the characters and they were easy to engage with
The ending was lovely even if it wasn’t the happy ever ending one
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Thank you Netgalley and the publisher for the opportunity to read this book for an honest review.

This book is about secrets and lies in a family with many dynamics of love and loss. The story is told from all the main characters perspective of their story. I enjoyed this book however I thought the ending was a bit too rushed and too convenient.
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This was a bit of a disappointment for me to be honest. I’d seen that the other reviews were quite mixed, but thought I’d give it a go, and at first I really enjoyed it.

Yes, 4 narrators sounded like a lot, but once you get into it it’s easy to tell them apart, and it follows a pattern so you always know who’s section is coming next. There was a clear mystery element to the plot at the beginning - who is Paula? How do Jenny and Mark know each other? And what the hell os going on with Ellie? Once this is resolved, it all becomes a bit more domestic, but still readable.

My main issue is the last few sections. Something sad happens, that is totally out of the blue, and everything then skips 10 years ahead, and then skips again to an ending that is just trite, and for me, quite unfulfilling, giving apparent ‘redemption’ to a character who has been awful and yet has a last minute change of heart and learns the error of their ways. Ugh. 

To me, it felt like the author had build up this story, had no idea where it was going, and then threw together this really underwhelming ending to get it finished in time. Personally, I’d give it a miss.
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Everyone has to read books by this author,this is my 2nd in no time at all. I was hooked and gripped from the beginning. Sometimes with things taking me by surprise! You must read this. I won't give any information as the book always gives a taster. A must read for all. Thank you Ali for writing a superb book.
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