Cover Image: Hotel Laguna

Hotel Laguna

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Member Reviews

In this historical novel set mostly in 1946, main character Hazel escaped her ordinary life in Kansas during the war to go to California and work on building airplanes. When she loses her job after the war is over, she doesn’t want to return home to an ordinary life, and ends up in Laguna Beach where she gets a job as an assistant to a (fictional) famous but difficult artist. Along with Hazel trying to figure herself out, there’s a little romance, and a little mystery about a scandal in the artist’s past and a missing painting, along with a portrait of life in this quirky artistic town where they put on an annual Pageant of the Masters (a live tableau of famous paintings).

This was on the lighter side for historical fiction, but yet also was a very slow read for a book that’s under 300 pages. I enjoyed the story, but in addition to the slow pace, it felt a tad underdeveloped at times. Nonetheless, I would definitely read another book by her. And think fans of authors like Beatriz Williams and Melanie Benjamin would enjoy this one too.

I will say I was disappointed that my ARC did not include an author’s note or historical note as I would have liked to know more about what into the historical backdrop for this one. This came out in June so is available now but was checked out at all my libraries or I would have borrowed it just to look for an end note!

3.5 stars
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I don't read many historical fiction books from this time period, but I truly enjoyed it. The period following World War II was definitely a time of adjustment for many, including Hazel. Having spent World War II fixing planes and suddenly losing that job when the war ended, finding a new place in this world is especially difficult.

I loved the grouchy employer. I don't know why, but attempting to soften someone who is grouchy is always a troupe I enjoy reading. It helped there was also a love interest to keep Hazel's spirits up during this uncertain time. The setting was fun and flirtatious and filled with so much possibility.

Anyone looking for one last beach read before winter, this is definitely a book to pull off the shelf.
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In HOTEL LAGUNA, Nicola Harrison creates a strong female protagonist in a time when women were expected to go back to being wives and mothers when the war ended, and the men came home to reclaim their jobs. Hazel was alone and wanted more from life than marrying the hometown boy, so she joins the women doing their part for the war and heads to California to work on planes. She loves the job and when the men return, she’s determined to find a way to continue. Her money is low when she hops a bus from LA to San Diego, getting off in Laguna Beach. Homeless, she befriends a bartender and by sheer guts, becomes a model/assistant for a reclusive artist. 
I love watching the relationship between Hazel and Hanson evolve from boss and employee to friends and confidants. It was also interesting watching Hazel grow and become more confident and an integral part of the community. The setting sparkles as another character, even more interesting because the Hotel Laguna, Laguna Beach, and the Pageant of the Masters all still exist. I will have to plan a day trip down the coast to visit all the sites Harrison has immortalized in the novel.
This is the third novel I have read by Nicola Harrison and I enjoy the way each has given me a perspective on history that I had not considered before.  
Thank you to the publisher for the opportunity to read an advanced copy of the novel. All opinions are my own and freely given.
#HotelLaguna #NicolaHarrison #StMartinsPress
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I really enjoyed this somewhat historical fiction story set in Southern California. I loved the setting, the imagery on the cover and the characters were well drawn out and very interesting. The ending kind of didn't ring totally true for me but overall this was an enjoyable visit to days past in SoCal. Thanks for a copy of this one!
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First, the cover is so pretty and definitely eye-catching! As soon as I saw it, I wanted to know more about this book!
And the book itself... completely surprised me (in a good way!). I tend to avoid historical simply due to not being able to stay interested but this book got my attention with the "Rosie the Riveters" aspect and I found myself fully immersed in the story. A fun read, great characters, definitely recommend picking this one up.

Thank you to NetGalley, the author and St. Martin's Press for providing me with an ARC copy.
All thoughts and opinions are my own.
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Thank you, St. Martin's Press and NetGalley for the early copy.

This book was hard for me to rate because the art scene and the settings were full 5 stars. I loved the beach, the references to older buildings and businesses, and all the talk about art and paintings. I appreciated the backstory and how Hazel came to be in Laguna Beach. The story itself was captivating and interesting to follow.

However, the ending was where the stars from that rating dropped. The way Hazel just "knows what he is thinking" was absolutely infuriating and the few scenes at the end were completely unnecessary. It made me dislike her on a whole new level and it was a miscommunication plot which while is very real. is very cringe to read on paper. I wish the book had a short epilogue "10 years later" instead to give it a full-circle ending.

In the end, I think this book would be a perfect vacation read and a fast easy historical fiction.
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Gorgeous cover, excellent on audio, interesting HF on post WW2 life, and amazing setting!  This is my first book to read by Harrison, and I look forward to reading her other books!
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Hotel Laguna was a delightful journey that transports readers back to post-war Sothern California. As a former resident of SoCal (and a visitor to Laguna), I very much enjoyed the setting. The characters were well drawn and nuanced, the plot moved quickly, and all in all, it was a delightful read.
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I really enjoyed the setting of Laguna Beach.  This was just the type of feel good read with tons of depth and the hotel, as well as the artistic elements were wonderful  throughout the book.
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Thanks to #NetGalley, the publisher and the author.

3.5 stars.

This is my first book by her and I have her others on my to read.

I enjoyed this book set in the 1940s in Laguna Beach, CA, where Kitty Francis was looking for a job and ended up as an assistant to a famous artist Hanson Radcliff. She becomes very attached to him and the people there. When she finds out that he was "shunned" years ago about a painting and it's model and her demise, he started painting seascapes and landscapes. She falls for Jimmy, the bartender at the Hotel Laguna bar where she ends up staying on her first night when Hanson hired her.

It was good historical fiction.
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I absolutely adored this! I loved every single character and the story. The romance was a plus. Hazel embodied the strong woman who craves freedom persona and I loved her relationship with Hansen. Everything came together perfectly and the setting and timeline were fun to read about.

Thank you NetGalley and the publisher for the eARC!
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I had high hopes for this book, and the first couple of chapters were really intriguing, but the rest of the book was very meh. I liked the character of Hazel but disliked pretty much every other character, and the book just dragged on and on and ON. I normally fly through this type of books but this one took me 4 days to finish.
I probably would not recommend this to others.

Thank you to NetGalley and St Martin's Press for the ARC!
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This is an amazing book, set after the was when women who had helped by doing Mens work were relegated back to womens work and how lost some felt.  The description of Laguna Beach made it sound so appealing…and it he afterword told me that the art show story is based on a real event that occurs yearly in laguna beach.
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I want to thank Netgalley and the author for gifting me the ebook. I was also gifted the audio version and I left my review on there.
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Hazel  left Wichita Kansas in 1942 because she wanted to do her part for the war effort. She became 1 of the Rosie the riveters and ends up really enjoying her work However when the war was over they wanted her to go and get married and live a normal life as a woman should.Hazel had no desire to conform so she heads to the beach town of Laguna. Although she has no experience she ends up becoming the assistant to a very popular artist who has a secret in his past. The town of Laguna ends up growing on Hazel and she is very happy with where she's at. However she's not sure she wants to give up her dream of working on planes.
This is an incredible Historical Fiction choice for summer reading. I really love the fact that we got to see Hazel and 2 different timelines as well as get some information of how people lived after the war. This is a time that is not usually written about. The characters were captured excellently of how life was post war for many women. I adored Hazel, she was so beyond her time in her decisions and what she was yearning for.
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During WWII, Hazel became one of the many “Rosie the Riveters.”  But now, with the war over, Hazel wants nothing to do with being a traditional housewife and longs for the sense of purpose her job provides. So she heads west and lands in the bohemian town of Laguna Beach. Here, she accepts an unconventional job as a model from a famous artist, Hanson Radcliffe. 

Hotel Laguna is perfect for readers who like to dabble in historical fiction. While the story takes place in the 1940s, none of the historical details weigh down the story. The strength of this novel lies in Hazel’s character; she’s independent, strong-willed, and ahead of her time. I love the relationship she develops with her mentor, Hanson Radcliffe.  Hazel discovers that a famous portrait painted by her mentor has been missing for decades, which adds some mystery to the story.   

Strong female MC + mystery + vivid setting of Laguna Beach make this a perfect end-of-the-summer read!  Highly recommend the audiobook version; I binged the audiobook over a couple of days.
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Hotel Laguna by Nicola Harrison is the perfect novel for those who enjoy historical fiction with a dash of romance. Set in the years after World War II, Hotel Laguna follows Hazel Francis, a riveter in California who finds herself at a bit of a lost once the War ends and all of the working women are sent home. Meant to return to domestic life,  Hazel doesn't have a husband or children and honestly doesn't want to go down that path.  As she finds a job as a model/assistant for a majorly successful artist in Laguna, she slows learns to love the small beach town with a number of local characters.  

Harrison's bright and sunny descriptions of the beach and hotel where Hazel finds herself transports the reader right onto the beach themselves, making this novel a perfect beach bag read.

Thank you to NetGalley and St. Martin's Press for the opportunity to read and review this novel.
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This was a fun historical fiction window into a familiar image - I enjoyed this fresh take on what happened to "Rosie the Riveter" after the war. Beach reading at its best.
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Hazel Francis left Witchita, Kansas, to help out in the war effort. She goes to California and works building bombers for the U.S. military. Not that the war is over, she is struggling to adjust to the post-war world. She travels to Laguna Beach to become an artist's assistant, the only job she has found now that the war is over. Hanson Radcliff is a famous artist who became a sort of hermit. On her first day, he sends her to stay at Hotel Laguna, where she meets one of the bartenders, Jimmy and quickly becomes friends with him. Her relationship with Jimmy develops as she gets accustomed to her work with Hanson. It's a capitvating tale of love, friendship, secrets, legacy, and unbreakable bonds.
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At the coles of WWII, Hazel Francis finds herself out of a job working on airplane bombers. She travels south from Los Angeles to Laguna Beach almost broke and seeking employment. She becomes the assistant to Hanson Radcliff, a renown California painter. Both Hazel and Hanson have painful pasts. Hazel grows determined to help Hanson overcome his scandalous past by recovering a lost painting he did for an aging actress.
The lovely setting of Laguna Beach forms a background to the relationships Hazel forges and to the close knit community of artists that Hazel becomes a part of.
I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
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