Cover Image: His Secret Family

His Secret Family

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

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.
Was this review helpful?
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.
Was this review helpful?
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
Was this review helpful?
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.
Was this review helpful?
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.
Was this review helpful?
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
Was this review helpful?
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.
Was this review helpful?
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.
Was this review helpful?
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.
Was this review helpful?
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.
Was this review helpful?
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.
Was this review helpful?
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!
Was this review helpful?
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......
Was this review helpful?
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.
Was this review helpful?
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.
Was this review helpful?
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.
Was this review helpful?
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.
Was this review helpful?
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.
Was this review helpful?
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.
Was this review helpful?
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.
Was this review helpful?