Cover Image: His Secret Family

His Secret Family

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

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?
" 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?
I really enjoyed this book. The story stars in the present day (sort of) at a wedding where an unwanted guest appears during the reception, the story then jumps back in time to give us the events that lead up to the wedding.
A story filled with lies, betrayal and family secrets, all to strive for perfection and is told from the point of view of four of the female characters. 
I’m not usually a fan of multiple viewpoints in books, however this wasn’t confusing and was quite easy to keep up with. It gives you the different insights into how each character dealt with things. 
Personally I felt that the 10 year jump towards the end of the book left a few unanswered questions. And the story felt rushed after that jump. The ending was a bit abrupt and forgiveness came a little to quick in my opinion. 
That being said I would recommend this book to friends and family as I did really enjoy it.
Was this review helpful?
This book made quite a simple plot into something with mystery and thrill. There were so many unexpected parts in the book keeping you on the edge of your seat waiting for the next mystery to unfold. I would highly recommend this book as an easy read with enough mystery to add a thrill!
Was this review helpful?
Thrilling story, great plot and characters that keep you guessing right til the end.  Great for fans of this genre.  Really enjoyable.
Was this review helpful?
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.
Was this review helpful?
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.
Was this review helpful?
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 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.
Was this review helpful?
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.
Was this review helpful?
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.
Was this review helpful?
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.
Was this review helpful?
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.
Was this review helpful?
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.
Was this review helpful?
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.
Was this review helpful?
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.
Was this review helpful?
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.
Was this review helpful?