Cover Image: His Secret Family

His Secret Family

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Member Reviews

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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Excellent book,loved all the character's and the way the book was divided up to show the character's feelings.
Could not put the book down,a real page Turner.This book is a must,
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His Secret Family,  Ali Mercer

Review from Jeannie Zelos book reviews
Genre:Literary Fiction, Women's Fiction.. 

Ah no, women's fiction again....why do we insist on having this biased and outdated category? There's no reason why men should read this book, it will appeal to anyone who likes a well written mystery. 
 Im not quite sure I can say I liked it, but I was certaily gripped to see what would happen to the characters. I felt so sad for Paula, an innocent victim, as were Ava and Ellie. The rest of the characters were a selfish group IMO. Jenny made an initial error and at least tried hard with her girls until she became involved with Mark, then she seemed to become a bit of a doormat. Mark was a real nasty, selfish character, his mother was awful and maybe had something to do with his character but he's a grown man, and I felt his actions were incredibly selfish, he seemed to see everything only for how it acted or reflected on him.  
Its a book full of sadness and tragedy, one that's played out daily for so many folk, especially those with kids with issues. I did want to see what happened, it was slow starting but soon had me gripped by the unfolding events, and how they connected.  It's  not a story I'd read a second time, though I'm glad I read it.  At the end I felt the characters had come to some kind of resolution but there's a lot of hard work ahead of them all to make up for events, the past can't simply be rewritten. 

Stars: Five, a book I'm glad I read, full of surprises, characters with flaws, situations that occur in everyday life, but not one I'd re-read. 

ARC via netgalley and publishers
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His Family Secret is a emotional family book that is wonderfully written. Great characters and storyline. Ali Mercer is a wonderful writer that can draw out the readers emotions.
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His Secret Family is a doozie. Im not quite sure I can say I liked it, but I can say it evoked emotions in me. I feel sad for Paula, and for the things she went through. I feel sad for Jenny, and Ava, and Ellie- especially, for the trauma and the lies they lived with. Mark was a real son of a bitch, but no wonder reading the way his mother was. I wish that I could say that whole scenario was unrealistic, but it's not. Its a reality that many special needs parents face on a daily basis. Im rating this book 4 stars, only because I wish Ellie had been more of a focus than she was. I feel her story and ability was the most interesting part.
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Firstly thanks to NetGalley for giving me the opportunity to read this amazing story which is heartbreaking and heart-warming. 

I have never read any other books by this author but this book has defiantly given me another author to add to my reading list. 

This is a powerful family domestic drama filled with emotion and secrets. 

The story is well developed with lovable "real" characters that you find yourself very invested in. 

A captivating story that kept me hooked until the end.
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Absolutely brilliant and had me gripped from cover to cover! I found the writing style to be very captivating and the characters to be immaculately developed. I also enjoyed the fact that the story was told from four different view points as it really helped to thicken the plot and give it a whole new level of depth. Would highly recommend!
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This is a powerful and emotional family drama, based on the lives of mark, Jenny and her two daughters Ellie and Ava! Jenny has a busy life as a single mother to Ellie and Ava and they are a tight unit of three, with occasional visits by the girls father. Once Jenny and mark meet and become an item the girls lives change dramatically, past secrets are revealed and other lies and deceptions are revealed along the way making for an interesting and revealing read. Many great characters but fir me Ava and Ellie stand out as both very different!
Thank you net galley for this early read.
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I found this to be an interesting story about an extremely selfish and self centered man. Matt is a man who will mislead the women in his life to always have the women in his life see him in good light. Paula and Jenny are women who do their best to love Mark. Is Mark able to be a family man? Can he love his children as true gifts that they are? 

This was a very detailed book with many different points of view. It took several days to read.
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I really enjoyed this story and that it was not an obvious story.  The book is written from four POV Paula and Jenny who are the first and second wives of Mark.  Also Ava and Ellie, Jenny’s daughters.   You gradually learn what occurred in Mark’s First marriage that could now impact on his second.  I liked all the characters but particularly Ellie who is a unique eleven year old.  I read the book over two days and could of read it quicker.  I wanted to learn about the characters and get to the ending which might not be the traditional happy ever after but still lovely. My first task after completing this was to purchase he author’s previous book and I will be looking out for her third.  
Thanks to Bookouture and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
#HisSecretFamily #NetGalley
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Ali Mercer writes with heart and soul.  His Secret Family is another well written, true-to-life family suspense-er.  Each character is lovingly developed and all-so-human.  Secrets abound  and the reader won't know them all until the end.  A definite for your TBR list!
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Compelling. Heartbreaking. The character development was superb. It was an emotional read, inducing contrary pangs of empathy and apathy for the characters, specifically Mark. What he appeared to be—a cold and heartless cad—masked what he truly was: a very flawed man. Paula and Jenny were admirable women. It was an evocative story that left its imprint.

I highly recommend this book.

Thank you to NetGalley, the publisher, and Ali Mercer for an ARC of 'His Secret Family' in exchange for an honest review.
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Really enjoyed this novel. The writing flowed and the characters were depicted very well. Couldn't wait to find out what happens next.
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