Cover Image: Hotel Laguna

Hotel Laguna

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Member Reviews

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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Gah I loved this book so much! 

The MC was so brave for the time she lived in. Going to California hoping for something more. Working on planes for the war. Then because she was a woman, losing her job after the war ended.

I loved her relationship with the artist and you felt his heartbreak from choices in the past. 

I want to go stay and see Hotel Laguna now!
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This book is full of characters all with little quirks of their own and will transport you to a post-WWII Laguna Beach setting.
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Hotel Laguna is the second book I've read by Nicola Harrison and it won't be the last! Her writing is engaging and the use of detail made me feel like I was in Laguna Beach with Hazel the entire time. Nicola also emphasizes the sexism in the 1940s and I felt so frustrated on Hazel's behalf every time someone told her to get married and have babies instead of offering her a job. Also when she was working on the pageant and they made her do costumes because that was "women's work." I liked the working relationship Hazel built with Hanson, even though it was definitely fragile at times and he could be a handful to deal with. 

I sometimes got annoyed with Hazel when she jumped to conclusions so quickly and when she was rude to someone who was competition for her in the love department. Otherwise, she was a sympathetic character I enjoyed getting to know throughout the novel.

Overall, it's a charming story and a great summertime (or anytime) read! I even got teary-eyed at one part. Perfect for fans of Fiona Davis and Hazel Gaynor.

Movie casting suggestions:
Hazel: Marisa Davila
Jimmy: Leo Howard
Hanson: Dan Gauthier
Scarlett: Caylee Cowan
Edgar: Brenton Thwaites
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This is a delightful story by an author I have come to trust. I would compare this book to Beatriz Williams' much-loved beach stories set in the past. If you are an art lover, you will really be intrigued. It involves a once-famous artist, a mysterious painting, and a woman who becomes his muse in the years following WWII. It would make a lovely beach read or a heartwarming story to escape from your busy life.
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𝘚𝘪𝘮𝘱𝘭𝘺 𝘤𝘢𝘱𝘵𝘪𝘷𝘢𝘵𝘪𝘯𝘨!

Where do I start? I loved everything about this story, beautiful setting, fantastic characters, rich in history, a strong female heorine, vivid descriptions. A perfect summer read.

Thank you Suzy Approved Book Tours and St. Martin's Press for this tour invite and gifted copy.

𝗛𝗼𝘁𝗲𝗹 𝗟𝗮𝗴𝘂𝗻𝗮 by @Nicola Harrison released June 20, 2023.
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I didn’t really read the description for Hotel Laguna but liked the cover so I grabbed it on @netgalley. Hazel leaves Kansas to build airplanes in California during WW2 but when the war is over and the factories give the jobs back to the men, Hazel heads to Laguna for a fresh start. She gets a job with a famous artist, Hanson. There’s also a missing painting and a budding romance with a handsome bartender. 

What I liked: the friendships built over the course of the book were nice and while there was a romance, it didn’t feel like the main plot. 

What didn’t work for me: The ending wrapped up a little quickly and didn’t seem 100% plausible. 

I wish there was more about Hazel’s life during the war and some closure with the life she left back in Kansas. 

Who should read it: This one is good for a lighter historical fiction with the focus on small town, women’s roles after WW2 and art. 

Thank you @stmartinspress for my gifted arc.
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Great time period novel set in California during the mid 1940's. There is always something to learn of time periods/history in the United States. This was a snapshot of a girl that wanted to do her part during WWII and going out on her own and growing into her own self.  I enjoyed The Show Girls (set in late 1920's in NYC) by this author a bit more than this one.
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Wow, wow, wowwwww!! I loved this! It’s a beautiful story that takes place in the 1940’s wartime era. I learned, I laughed, was angered, & near the end I cried. I’ve been to Laguna Beach, the Hotel Laguna, and the Pageant of the Masters, so this story really came to life for me. Its main character was flawed, full of regret, every bit as human as us. These women were called to action during the war and then simply expected to go back to running a household when they were no longer needed. For Hazel, and I’m sure many others in those days, she really enjoyed the hard work and being a part of something bigger, now she’s been made redundant with nowhere & no one to go to. In search of a new beginning she travels west and meets an artist with a haunted past, full of his own regrets. With a town full of unique characters, this story weaves its own very masterpiece. I don’t want to give much more away. Just read it!  I really hope this gets picked up for the big screen. ❤️
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This is the 3rd book I’ve read by Nicola Harrison and I have enjoyed each and every one. Hotel Laguna is a historical fiction novel that takes place in the 1940’s. The main character, Hazel Francis, finds herself wondering where she belongs and where she fits in after losing her job building U.S. military bombers while all the men were off fighting the war. Not wanting to return to Kansas, she makes her way to Laguna Beach where she applies for a job as an assistant to an artist. Hanson Radcliff comes off as being a miserable old man. He enjoys his whiskey but he is really just trying to deal with feelings of guilt from something in his past. Hazel and him soon grow to appreciate each other and Hazel starts to feel like she’s fitting in and becoming one of the locals. She even finds love. It was a really enjoyable read, I liked reading about the artwork and how the town came together to put on a public show to honor all the artists and their works. I think the author must of done a lot of research and it shows in her storytelling. Although there was a sad part to the story which was inevitable, I loved how the story wrapped up with Hazel setting the record straight about Hanson’s past and then Hanson taking care of Hazel and Jimmy in his will. I’d like to thank Kejana Ayala, Marketing Coordinator at St. Martin’s Publishing Group for the invite and NetGalley for the arc to read and review. This was a great story and I’d recommend it to anyone who enjoys reading historical fiction. I’m giving this a 5 star rating and look forward to reading more by Nicola Harrison in the future.
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As a fellow Southern Californian, I really enjoyed reading this story set in 1940s Laguna Beach. Hazel is a great character, a young woman who defies the expectations of the time to become a wife and mother to find her own purpose and identity. Harrison did a great job setting the scene; I could just see the rustic glamour of this California beach community. The  plot is a little madcap at times but it kept me interested. It had a bit of a Katharine Hepburn movie vibe. This is a charming summer read, perfect for your beach bag.
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Hazel leaves Wichita in 1942 in search of something more for her life. She arrives in California and works in the factory at Douglas Aircraft during WWII. When the war ends, men return home and Hazel is out of her job, but she doesn’t want to return to Wichita, a place where she has few fond memories left. 

Hazel decides to give things a shot in the bohemian, art enthusiastic coastal town of Laguna Beach. She gets a job as an assistant to an artist, Hanson Radcliff, and becomes friends with Jimmy, a kind bartender at Hotel Laguna, where she stays when she first arrives in town. Hanson keeps a low profile and can be grumpy, but Hazel needs this job and becomes curious about his past as she hears more from others in the community. 

Some elements of Hotel Laguna were predictable but I was still interested in it. I really enjoyed the setting of Laguna Beach, and the hotel, as well as the artistic elements throughout the book. I liked Hazel and think if I was around in 1942, I would have felt the same way she did about a lot of things.
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4 stars

Hazel moved from Kansas to California to help build planes during WWII but because the war is over the men are coming home which means they are taking their jobs back and the women were expected to go back to their traditional roles. Hazel decided she didn't want to go home so she ends up in Laguna Beach, she starts working for Hanson Radcliff a grumpy artist. 

I really enjoyed this book, honestly. It gave me a good feeling and all of that. 

Thank you St Martin's Press and Netgalley for an eARC in exchange for an honest review...
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Hotel Laguna is a historical fiction novel by Nicola Harrison, set in the post-war, free-wheeling art-town, Laguna Beach. 

This story follows Hazel Francis who worked in an airplane factory during the war and absolutely thrived. When she lost her job once “the boys” came home, she was at a loss as to what to do with her future. She eventually found herself in Laguna Beach and secured a job with a well-known, esteemed, but also notorious artist, as his assistant. He is not an easy man to spend time with, or work for, but Hazel, who has no father, is drawn to this enigmatic, brilliant, cantankerous man. As an independent woman, she also finds herself right at home in this forward thinking community. 

Though I certainly enjoyed the many descriptions of Laguna Beach, since I grew up near there, and the references to the Pageant of the Arts, which I have attended, I wasn’t a fan of the main character. She made so many poor decisions and tended to rub me the wrong way. Several of the other characters felt a bit flat and had some frustrating traits. Though the plot had it’s moments, generally speaking, it seemed somewhat dry, predictable and simplistic. 

Hotel Laguna has a prevalent theme of feminism, which was repeated quite frequently. I appreciated the points made and the passion behind them, but similar sentiments were made in abundance. This story has a touch of romance and mystery intermixed with art elements and social commentary, all set within a historical context. It is a light-hearted post-war story that will appeal to many, it just wasn’t a favorite of mine.
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Thank you @netgalley and @stmartinspress for sending me this book for review consideration. All opinions are my own. 4.5/5 stars, rounded up to 5.
I really enjoyed this book! I love historical fiction and I flew through this one in two days. 
Hotel Laguna is about Hazel, who left her home in Kansas to work constructing airplanes in California during WWII. After the war ended, the women are told to go home to their families, but Hazel has no family to go home to. She makes her way to Laguna Beach, an artist town, and gets a job working for, and ultimately, befriending, the local, famous, grumpy artist, Hanson Radcliff. She also becomes a valued member of the Laguna Beach community, even becoming a volunteer for The Pageant of the Masters – an art show where the whole town comes together to recreate famous pieces of art with live people, and something I definitely thought happened only in Gilmore Girls (anyone else remember the Festival of Living Pictures episode?).
This book touched on a few social issues of the day. For example, the Black girls were treated differently at the airplane factory than the white girls, even though they were there to do the same job. I loved that it was about the women’s role during the war and what happened afterwards. I’m sure many women, while of course wishing for an end to the war, valued the jobs they were able to fulfill while the men were overseas. After she arrives in Laguna Beach, Hazel was determined to make it on her own: “I was going to live up to my decision to succeed, to make a decent living wage, and not have to rely on anyone else.”
I also literally never considered what Rosie the Riverter actually did, even though we’ve all see that famous poster from the era. So, I was glad to have that cleared up with this book.
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