In Manhattan, being recently dumped by her soulmate becomes the least of Charlotte (Charlie) Morgan’s problems after she is viciously pushed off a subway platform in front of an oncoming train. Her modeling career seems over and she may not walk again. Throughout her lengthy hospital stay the police have no success finding her assailant or determining a motive. A handsome detective recovering from similar injuries is assigned to be her physical therapy partner. Concerned that her attacker will try again, he urges her to draw up list of anyone she might have angered or rejected. Eliminating those who don’t fit a compiled description of her attacker leaves just one suspect – a millionaire power broker with a famous art collection.
In his quest for his next wealthy wife, lovable lothario/conman Jack is in Buenos Aires romancing women he meets at a fashionable hotel where he even isn’t a registered guest. To finance this precarious existence, Jack ever-so-gently exploits foreign tourists and local land barons. But whether he succeeds, falls short or fails miserably, rely on sexy Jack to be entertaining.
Understandably bitter Naomi is in Israel works on an archeological dig and seeks temporary relief from her demons in one-night-stands and meaningless affairs. Unwilling to be yet another in a series of her lovers, a rough-hewn widowed farmer relentlessly pursues her. On three continents, with thousands of miles separating them, will Charlie, Jack and Naomi meet? Will their individual stories end in triumph or disaster?
*Warning: This review may be slightly spoilerish if you have not read the first book. I'll do my best to keep it to a minimum, but please read with caution*
Usually the first thing I would do in a review is to give a quick synopsis in my own words about the story. However, I'm going to skip this today because the synopsis above provided by Goodreads is pretty thorough and I feel that adding anything else to it might give away important plot points that I don't want to spoil. So today I am just going to get right into what I did, or did not, enjoy about the story.
Actually, in this case, it's only what I enjoyed because there wasn't a thing I didn't love. Paradise Misplaced is the sequel to Exceeding Expectations, which I also enjoyed quite a bit. You can read my review here. The story picks up shortly after book one ends. Unfortunately for our main character Charlie though, her boyfriend Raul has suddenly dumped her and has moved out. I found this a little upsetting because I absolutely loved Raul in the first book and though he and Charlie made an excellent couple. Charlie is a very successful, independent woman. Even though she is devastated by Raul leaving, she isn't about to lay down and wither away. She continues to work, socialize and do her best to keep going. This is what I love most about her, besides her large heart.
Unlike in Exceeding Expectations, we finally get to hear from Naomi, Charlie's mother. Believed to have been killed in WWII, Naomi has been struggling to survive in Europe while desperately trying to find her husband and children. After many years of no results, Naomi has accepted her fate and now works at an archaeological dig in Israel. I found Naomi's story very interesting, but also a little upsetting. Even though I didn't care for her in the first book, I began to feel sorry for her in Paradise Misplaced. Hearing her side of the story made me change my opinion of her and I also started to feel sorry for her. She had to overcome quite a bit to get to where she was and even though she was still struggling with her emotions, I had hope for her. I wanted nothing more than to see her reunited with Charlie and Amelia and finally live a happy life.
Along with Naomi's and Charlie's stories, we also get to hear once again from Jack, Charlie's father. I can't exactly say that I approve of his lifestyle or what he did to his children, but the author has a unique way of making you feel sorry for him anyway. I was very pleased with the way his story ended.
In fact, I was thrilled with this story all around. Each character had such a unique voice and perspective and made for a very satisfying read. And even though I was happy with the way these stories tied up, I'm kind of sad to see these characters go. After spending so much time with them and living their lives along with them, I feel as if they are real friends I am about to say goodbye to. I'll miss them.
Overall, I can't recommend this book enough. If you love a good mystery and a little romance as much as I do, then I highly suggest you pick up copies of Exceeding Expectations and Paradise Misplaced. They are the kind of stories that lure you in, grab hold and don't go until you have finished every last bit.
About the author:
Author Lisa April Smith lives with her husband, He-Who-Wishes-to-Remain-Anonymous, in Eternal Playland, Florida, a delightful spot just off I-95. Ms. Smith describes Eternal Playland as "a little piece of level heaven with occasional dampness, where the bugs are plentiful but respectful, and even the smallest strip mall contains at least one pizza place and a nail salon."
Before discovering a passion for writing, Ms. Smith sold plumbing and heating, antiques, taught ballroom dancing, tutored, modeled, designed software and managed projects for IBM. She returned to college multiple times to study anthropology, sociology and computer science, in which she holds degrees, as well as psychology, archaeology literature, history and art. Combine those widely diverse interests with a love of travel and a gift for writing page-turners and it’s easy to understand one reviewer’s unbridled praise for Exceeding Expectations, “She (Ms. Smith) has a brilliance for conveying characters, and the intellectual capacity to place them in historical settings that sparkle with glamorous detail . . . that make it fun to read . . . ”