His Secret Family

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 12 Sep 2019

Member Reviews

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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The author uses the chapters to allow the characters to tell the story from different perspectives. I love the way that each person draws you into their version of what happens. There can be more than one version of truth and this book is a great example.
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His Secret Family is the first book I’ve read by this author. I did enjoy it and found it quite hard to put down. Starting off in the present day the book then back tracks to fill in how we got to this event. Each chapter is written from the point of view of either Jenny, Paula, Ava or Ellie that I think adds a certain depth to the book. It’s gripping and emotional and will keep you entertained to the end.

Thank you to NetGalley, Bookouture and the author for the chance to review.
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Thank you Netgalley for my copy! This was an emotionally packed story that was heartbreaking and filled with secrets and lies. I was hooked from the beginning and did not want to put it down! I highly recommend reading this!
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Thank you Ali Mercer  and publishers for letting me read this book.  It had me from the start. There were so many levels to this book.. Jenny has two daughters, Ava and Ellie.  They live in a small apartment and she works as a hairdresser to support them.. Jenny meets Mark who she was close to many years ago.  He brings wealth into their lives and many secrets.  I could not put it down,  you will want to read this, a good long read with all the emotions you can think of......
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A family drama that will tug at your heart,  Filled with secrets, lies, deceit, and finally forgiveness.
Mark and Paula are married and have postponed having children for many years.  When they are finally blessed with their beautiful Daisy, she is not the perfect little girl Mark envisioned.  Distraught over Daisy's inability to be "normal" as he perceives it, he leaves asking that Paula and Daisy stay out of his life forever.
Meanwhile, Mark reaches out to Jenny, a single mom of two who works as a hairdresser to support her kids.  Years before Mark and Jenny had had a one night stand, and they quickly pick up where they left off.
As their romance moves through the years that follow, many changes occur in all their lives.  Together they work through the death of loved ones, teenage rebel years, and most importantly all the lies that Mark has told to all the different people in his life.  
This is a page turner that had me captivated from the start.  Great read
I received an advance copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
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I did not want this book to end. I wondered how long it would take for him to come clean. The Mother in law was a perfect villain and the wife was a perfect sap.  I wish the younger daughter had a bigger role and would have like to have more on her “insights”.  All in all a great book.
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I have mixed feelings about His Secret Family. This is a story about two mothers, three daughters, and the father who connects them. This book was incredibly emotional and I felt deeply for some of the characters and what they went through. I really disliked Mark and was frustrated with most of his decisions. There were some parts to the plot that felt incredibly random and I was unsure of their significance. Overall, I enjoyed this book and will have to check out the author’s others. Thank you to Bookouture and NetGalley for providing and advanced copy in exchange for my honest review.
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Thanks Netgalley and the Publisher.  What a strange book,  I could not relate to the characters at all and although I finished the book could honestly say I could not write a fair review.
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I found this a bit of a slow read and I wasn't keen on the story being told from four different people but it was a well written book overall with good characters.

Thank you to Netgalley and Bookouture for giving me the opportunity to read this book.
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This story is told from 4 alternating female perspectives. We get Jenny, her 2 young daughters, Ava and Ellie, and Paula. It revolves around the consequences of having Mark come into the lives of the first 3 characters, while leaving the fourth behind. The book starts out with a scene that is quite unexpected, Paula making a scene at a scene at a wedding, and then goes back to delve into what made that happen. The story is complex and moving, and I really found myself feeling the most for Ellie, though I'm not quite sure why. 

I did think the book started out kind of slow (it took me a while to read), but the more I read the more I was invested in the characters and wanting to know what happened. I think part of this was in regards to the relationship between Mark and Jenny. It just rubbed me the wrong way at the beginning of the story. I thought it was well-written and the alternating perspectives really worked for this book.

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Jenny and her two daughters live in a small flat. Ava (16) and Ellie (11) share a room. Jenny is divorced from her alcoholic husband, Sean. They scrape by on Jenny's job as a hairdresser.

A huge bunch of red roses starts the story. Sent to Jenny - signed "Love, Mark" The girls are all questions. Their mum is cagey, but she states that Mark is "a good man". In order to meet the girls, Mark and Jenny take them to tea at a posh place. Ellie is nicer to Mark but she feels like he is spending more time with her older sister, Ava. Their mom's comment is that Mark only has the best intentions - he is not used to children. Mark was married before, as well to Paula, who had an affair (?) and he left her. 

Jenny's attitude (she is 36) is that this dating period should be quick. She knew Mark before - so it was time to move on to the next stage. After all he is "solvent & sober."

The narration goes back and forth among Jenny, Paula, Ava and Ellie. Jenny is either too forgiving or desperate to be married and ready to have another baby. She is already pregnant with Mark's child, so... However, Jenny should see what her daughters are aware of. But no - Jenny continues to keep the engagement going - regardless. (Even after meeting Ingrid, Mark's mother).

To not let any spoilers out, it must be said that this is a twisty read with a touch of the paranormal. Fast reading; recommend.

Many Thanks to Bookouture and NetGalley for a good read.
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Not my usual read but glad i read it. A nice heartwarming and at times heart breaking story. I liked how the story was told through the different characters.
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Overall: 2.5/5 Stars
Characters: 2.5/5 Stars
Blurb: 2.5/5 Stars
Peeve Factor: 3/5 Stars
Personal Opinion: 2/5 Stars

*Potential Spoilers*

Looking at the name of this book. Reading the blurb and the first piece in the book (noted as the foreword in my copy) and you get the impression that you are going to get a pretty intense and potentially emotional book. I was really excited about this when I read the blurb. Getting it and reading that first section, which is sort of an expansion on the blurb, made me feel like I'd made a really good choice.

Once you get into the book, you get chapters that cycle through 4 different character perspectives. Ellie, Ava, Jenny, and Paula. None of which are the one name that was noted in that first piece that drew you in. I can see how this may create a deep sense of mystery for some readers, but for me, it was more frustrating trying to understand what that first bit had to do with anything at all as it seems completely unconnected to what is going on immediately after that.

I don't mind the alternating character perspectives. That is something I normally enjoy, but with the 4 you get in this book it felt a bit too much. Ellie, Ava and Jenny's timelines all run mostly concurrently with tiny bits of overlap in events here and there. Paula's is more fluid and doesn't run in line with the others, creating an additional level of confusion for the reader when attempting to make connections because you don't know that her timeline isn't running the same as the other characters. It takes a very long time before you see that and any of the pieces begin to fall in place.

There is this small thread through the story that runs more along the lines of paranormal. I really enjoy paranormal stories, but that isn't what this story is about and it feels out of place.

Ellie and Paula's characters were probably the most well rounded and interesting. Their perspectives were the pieces I liked the most throughout the story. I did not like Mark at all as he was a self-absorbed narcissist to the core and I have issues with characters like this (yes, they are realistic and human, but this is a personal thing for me). I didn't see him as redeemable in any way. Getting his perspective for the final chapter bumped into one of my peeves as I'm not a fan of that kind of perspective inconsistency in a book. When you already have 4, you really, really don't need one more at the very end. Ava wasn't too far behind Mark in being the self-absorbed, often bratty teenager. The teenager thing being the only reason I was willing to overlook some of her personality, but she seemed to get worse as the book went along. Jenny was a character that I just couldn't find much of interest in. While she wasn't entirely selfish, she did seem to be the type that was easily blinded by materialistic things.

Overall, I didn't feel like the book really lived up to the dramatic, intense blurb or the title. I love situational drama. I love emotional drama. I do not love manufactured drama and that is where most of the drama is derived from in this book, through those differing timelines and the dragging out of events followed by a 10 year time jump towards the end. The actual events weren't that dramatic. The big secret isn't really a secret, either to the reader or to the characters. What little bit you do get at the end feels anticlimactic because, as the reader, you see it all unfold. The character reactions to it compound that feeling as it ends up not being any kind of an issue for them either. The pieces of this story that should have been sort of emotional volcanoes for me, just weren't. I don't know if it was because of a lack of connection to the characters or if it was the way those pieces were written, but it sort of felt like even the characters were experiencing the events they were going through from a distance rather than directly.

I do think it should be noted that some readers may find they have problems with how some issues were presented and dealt with in this book. If you have problems with cheating, you may have issues with this book. If you have problems with how people on the Autism spectrum are sometimes viewed and treated, you may have issues with this book. If you have problems with how mental illness is sometimes viewed by some people or some of the ways it was treated historically, you may have issues with this book. These aren't normally things that stick out for me, but I found I really disliked many of the situations surrounding these issues and how they were presented in this book.

*I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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I found this a compelling read but I didn't like Mark for his weakness and letting Ingrid manipulate him into abandoning Paula and Daisy because she wasn't the perfect daughter and granddaughter and for using Jenny to create his image of the ideal family. It's only at the end when he recovers from his illness that the truth of how his behaviour affected all those around him hits home. I have never read anything by Ali Mercer before and would definitely would again. It's a story filled with heartbreak and betrayal and second chances for most of the characters. I was given this to read in exchange for my honest opinion and I would like to thank the publishers and netgalley for letting me have the book to review and the opinions expressed are entirely my own views.
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I originally was intrigued by the title of the book and the description. I though that it was going to be a thriller about a man having two families at once. After looking at the book on goodreads, I assumed it was going to be an emotional book as the longer title suggests. However, it this book was neither. 

I really enjoyed Mercer’s writing and enjoyed the story layout. I was much more engrossed in Paula and Daisy’s story than I was in Jenny’s and wish that it was more evenly distributed between the wives. I enjoyed Ellie’s sensing of the paranormal and though that was an interesting addition to the story. 

Mark seemed to get off the hook far too easily. He was the villain for the entire story yet never had any consequences for his actions. I also didn’t particularly enjoy the ending. It felt as if everything was just overlooked and forgotten and packaged with a little bow just for the sake of having a happy ending.
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Wow, this novel packed a lot more “feels” than I expected!  His Secret Family was a quick read for me because I HAD to see how this emotional read would end!  I think Ali Mercer did a great job of giving the reader a full scope by telling the story from four perspectives and also going between the past and present.  There was great  character development—some characters I wanted to give a huge hug to and other characters not so much lol!  There were a couple twists and turns that took me by surprise!  I am looking forwards to reading more from Ali Mercer in the future!
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this not my usual read but so glad i read .very emotional .sure to pull at your heart 3women there story make sure you got tissues buy you very beautiful written will definitely read more from this author a must read
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This is a book that grabs you on the first page and doesn't let go. It is well written and full of emotions. This is a "Must Read"! Thank you Bookouture via NetGalley for the ARC copy of this book. All opinions expressed are my own.
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Jenny and Mark are about to embark on a second marriage. Mark, in particular, hasn't been straight with his women and harbours secrets. Mark displays a lot of duplicitous behaviour and I found him nauseatingly weak-kneed.  How will he resolve matters? What most impressed me about this novel was its incredible perception. I love the effortless way it fleshed out the characters whom you get to know well as you proceed through the story. Unwrapping the idiosyncrasies of the characters was skilful and entertaining. I'm not sure it was intentional but they amused me., especially Ingrid. She was a type we all recognise. I am not keen on this format as a rule but sheepishly I have to confess that it was effective and successful. There were some salient points made about love, marriage, relationships and motherhood. What drifted through my mind while reading was how people judge others in such simplistic terms and possibly expect too much of others and have their expectations too high. The dialogue and interaction between the characters were impressive. I was fascinated by the theme of Autism and the demise of Felix. - so perfectly enacted. Thank you to NetGalley and Headline.
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