Reading Roundup: “His Secret Family”

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. 

Due out on September 11, 2019, I gave this story a rating of three and a half 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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