It’s 1961 and Palm Beach socialite, irresistible rascal and devoted father Jack Morgan encounters genuine danger while staging his suicide to shield his beloved daughters from scandal and disgrace. Next, meet his daughter Charlotte (Charlie), an over-indulged 23 year-old struggling to cope with the loss of her beloved father, her sister’s resulting mental breakdown and the discovery that she’s now penniless. Fortunately Raul, an admiring young attorney, offers assistance to the traumatized young woman, who can joke about her inadequacies. As terrified as she is about paying for her sister’s costly treatment and her own daily survival, Charlie soon realizes that she must learn what drove her father to kill himself. With Raul’s much needed ego-bolstering, she pursues a career that makes practical use of her lanky 5’ 11” frame. Despite roadblocks and emotional upheavals, she embarks on an ocean-spanning journey that leads to a family she doesn’t know, distressing truths about her father, crimes great and small, a diabolical villain and a fireworks of surprise endings.
I wasn’t sure what to think of Exceeding Expectations when Lisa April Smith first came to me and asked me to read and review her book. It was like most books that I normally read but I love digging into new books and this was no disappointment!! I think the description above does a great job of laying out the story so I’m going to skip right ahead to my thoughts and feelings while reading the book!
We had a lot to learn about Jack Morgan and I loved how Lisa jumped back and forth between the past and the present. It was wonderful to get glimpses of Jack before he had kids and when his daughters were very young and he was trying to stay on his two feet and care for them. I also loved finding out the truth along the way while his daughter, Charlie, was still trying to uncover the truth of her fathers “death”. It’s a mystery book with a little romance and some chick-lit to top it off!
It took me a while to really warm up to Charlie. She has been spoiled all of her life, she’s never known a good day of hard work! I understand why her Father sheltered her after his past, but still! The poor girl’s mother died when she was very young, her Father fled to America with her and her sister, and she was raised around the rich and famous thanks to her Father’s lucky marriages. When he Father is out of the picture, however, she is forced to grow up…get a job…and take care of her younger sister who is going through a mental break down. I was just so happy when she finally stood on her own two feet and really started taking care of herself doing something that she actually started to enjoy. Along the way, of course, some love sparks start flying between her and a couple of people. You can’t help rooting for Raul of course and it was fun (and frustrating at times) to watch their relationship develop!
Here is the most unique thing about this book…a lot of the mystery revolves around fine art/paintings! I couldn’t belive that someone could actually write an intriguing mystery that deals with art, but let me tell you…Lisa does it and I actually enjoyed uncovering all of the things that Charlie uncovered. I loved the characters she brought it to help her learn more about her Father and continue to discover more about herself. I really can’t talk too much about this subject since it’s a HUGE deal in the book…just know that I really enjoyed it even when I was apprehensive at first.
Now the epilogue of this book left us with a shocking reveal. I was stunned…I couldn’t believe it and I’m looking forward to reading the sequel to this book to see how all of the things fall into place!
This was a great book that left me wanting more. If you like a good mystery with a mixture of other genres thrown in you should definitely check this book out! If you enjoy watching a girl discover herself and really grow through a book you should check this book out! My only advice, wait till the sequel is released so you’re not waiting at this cliffhanger wanting to know what happens next! LOL. I haven’t read the book since January and I still continually think about the ending!!!
**Stay tuned tomorrow, I’ll be having my author interview with Lisa April Smith herself to discuss this book and the one to come!!!!**