English Short Story about Family

The Secret

Join Max on a journey of self-discovery in this English short story about family as he learns some surprising news about his family and works to build a new life for himself. Along the way, he must navigate complex emotions and decide how to move forward.
Will Max find the strength to forgive those closest to him and embrace his new path? Follow his story and find out.
English Short Story about Family: The Secret

Lesson Table of Contents

1) Story Glossary

Story Glossary

accountant: a person who works with financial records and reports.
adopted: legally taken and raised by a person or couple other than the birth parents.
attentively: paying close attention.
biological: related by blood.
bond: a close connection or relationship between people.
colleague: a person who works with another in a professional or business context.
disillusioned: disappointed with someone or something after finding out the truth.
distance himself: to separate or keep oneself apart from someone or something.
embrace: to accept or support something willingly and enthusiastically.
implications: the consequences of something.
intimate: having a close relationship.
motivation: the reason someone has for acting in a particular way.
mysterious: not easily understood.
newfound: recently discovered.
overcome: to successfully deal with and be able to move beyond a difficult situation or emotion.
revelation: a surprising and previously unknown fact that is made known.
reconcile: to restore a close relationship after a disagreement or misunderstanding.
reluctance: the feeling of being unwilling to do something.

The Secret

a quiet neighborhood

Max lives on his own in a small apartment in a quiet neighborhood. He works as an accountant and has always thought he has the perfect family with his parents, Andrea and Ryan, and his younger sister Jenna.

Max is very close with his sister, Jenna, who lives at home with their parents. Jenna is a high school student and has always looked up to her older brother. Max has always been the one to give her advice and support, whether it be about school or relationships.

One day, Max receives a mysterious letter from a stranger claiming to be his biological father. He is shocked and confused by the letter and decides to investigate further.

As he tries to unravel the mystery, he uncovers a family secret that his parents have been hiding from him for years: he is adopted.

The news comes as a surprise to Max and he struggles to process the implications of this revelation. He can't understand why his parents have kept this secret from him for so long and feels betrayed by their lack of honesty.

He shares the news with Jenna, who admits that she has already known about it from their parents. She tries to help Max through this difficult time and encourages him to talk to them about his newfound identity.

Max eventually confronts his parents and after a long talk, he comes to understand he can never forgive them for keeping this secret from him. And despite her best efforts, Jenna is unable to erase the pain.

Andrea and Ryan try to explain their motivations for keeping the secret and apologize for not telling the siblings earlier, but Max is unable to forgive them.

Max is angry and hurt that his parents have kept this secret from him and decides to distance himself from the family.

Disillusioned, Max moves away in search of a new life.

~ ~ ~

Max starts a new life in a different city, determined to move on from the pain of the past.

He works hard and becomes successful in his career as an accountant. Despite his initial reluctance to open up to anyone about his past, Max eventually meets a kind and beautiful colleague named Olivia.

Olivia is understanding and patient as Max slowly opens up about his adoption and the pain he experienced as a result. She listens attentively and offers her support, helping Max to heal and move forward. Over time, Max and Olivia grow closer and eventually fall in love.

As Max and Olivia's relationship deepens, they decide to get married and start a family of their own. Olivia asks Max to invite his parents and sister to the wedding. Even though he does not admit it, they still mean the world to him. "I don't understand them, and I can never forgive them", he says with a mix of anger and sadness.

"So be it", Olivia responds.

Max and Olivia get married in a small and intimate ceremony. "Olivia's family is all we need", he thinks to himself.

Life goes on. Months and years pass. Despite their many efforts, Max and Olivia are unable to have children of their own. They decide to adopt.

~ ~ ~

They adopt a young girl named Ava who brings joy and light into their lives.

Max loves Ava as if she were his own daughter and cannot imagine loving her any more if she were actually related to him by blood. However, Max and Olivia are hesitant to reveal Ava's adoption story to her, as they do not want to cause her any pain or make her feel different from other children.

It hits him like a ton of bricks: his parents had kept the truth about his adoption from him for years, to prevent him from experiencing this exact pain.

Max finds himself often thinking of Jenna and his parents. He wonders how they are doing. It pains him to think that he was so selfish and angry all those years ago. He regrets not being able to forgive them when he had the chance.

Raising Ava helps Max to fully understand and forgive his parents and sister, and he finally feels ready to reconcile with them.

Max writes to his family a long letter, apologizes for the past, and invites them to meet his wife Olivia, and his daughter Ava. With tears in their eyes, they write back and accept.

The day they come together, Max is overcome by emotion. His family warmly embraces him, as if nothing had ever happened, and together they create beautiful new memories.

The secret has caused a lot of pain and conflict in the family, but in the end, Max learns that the bond of family is stronger than any difficult situation they may face. He also learns that it is never too late to forgive and be forgiven.
filled with joy and gratitude
He looks around the room at his family and is filled with joy and gratitude for all the love he has been given. He knows that no matter what, no one can ever change his story, or take away the love he has for them. He is home.


Explore our extensive collection of short stories designed specifically for English learners of all levels in our eBook store. Improve language skills while enjoying engaging stories.

Get Updates, Special Offers, and English Resources

Download your FREE GIFT (the first two chapters of
English Short Stories Book and Workbook)
as soon as you join!

English Short Stories

By submitting your email, you consent to receiving updates and newsletters from us and to the sharing of your personal data with third parties for the purposes of sending you communications. We will not spam you. You can unsubscribe at any time. For more information, please see our privacy policy.