Cover Image: Hotel Laguna

Hotel Laguna

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Member Reviews

This post WW2 historical fiction novel set in the beautiful landscape of Laguna Beach, CA tells the story of Hazel. After working in airplane factories during the war she is promptly given her walking papers as soon as the men return. Not content to become another housewife and mother, Hazel moves to Laguna Beach where she is welcomed by thr artistic community there. 

Hazel is a wonderful, strong lead female character and I enjoyed reading about her time in Laguna Beach. Hazel makes some cringe worthy decisions, but that's all part of growing and learning as a person. 

Wonderful story and great atmosphere. 

Thank you to St. Martin's Press and Netgalley for an advanced readers copy of this book for my honest review.
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This interesting novel starts out in two timelines that eventually meet and become one to show Hazel's life and employment building bomber planes during the war and finding a job after it ends and she is no longer needed. I enjoyed Hazel's plucky character and Laguna Beach sounds like a beautiful place to land. I loved how she found success in life and used her experiences to build a life that she could be happy living. The ending is just perfection and wraps everything up nice and neatly.
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This novel is set in Laguna Beach, California right at the end of World War II. 

Hazel Francis was a “Rosie the Riveter” in California and loved her job. Once the war ends, she looses her job, but she doesn’t want to go back home to Kansas. (There is some past drama there).

Hazel finds a job as an assistant/model for famous artist Hanson Radcliff in Laguna Beach.

Hanson gives her a place to stay, gets her involved in an art pageant where works of art are paired with the real life scenes. Hazel feels like she can put down roots in Laguna Beach, but Hanson has an air of suspicion around him from his early years.

Hanson’s past scandal peaks Hazel’s curiosity which could cause severe consequences for all.

This is a great book to escape the day away with its descriptive setting of Laguna Beach. It has a budding romance between Hazel and a local bartender named Jimmy. It also features the vibrant art world as well as my favorite part of the book which is that past mystery of Hanson and a famous dead actress.
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Hazel Francis isn’t about to live the life of a traditional woman.  Wanting to do her part for the war effort, Hazel leaves her home in Wichita and heads to California where she becomes one of “Rosie the Riveters” at Douglas Aircraft.  Set adrift after the war, with no job, Hazel find herself in the artsy city of Laguna Beach.  When she meets the eccentric artist, Hanson Radcliff, she reluctantly agrees to be his assistant.  The pay is great, but she’s still a bit worried about her reputation.  Radcliff lives under a decades old scandal and can be quite cantankerous to those around him.  Soon Hazel finds herself enraptured by her life in Laguna Beach, meeting Jimmy, a bartender, at the hotel, she find a kindred spirit.  But Hazel still misses working on planes and would someday like to be s pilot.  If she stays in Laguna Beach will she have to give up her dreams or will she be able to make the dreams of others come true?  Thank you to Saint  Martin’s  Press and  NetGalley for an ARC of this book.
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Hotel Laguna quickly becomes an unputdownable mystery with a strong woman involved and a very upscale art community in danger. The characters are unique and full of spunk. The story is colorful and brings to light the era during WW11 and directly after.
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In 1946 Hazel Francis arrives in Laguna Beach, California.  She is from Kansas, but worked in an aircraft factory during World War II.  After the war she found herself without the job she loved, and looking for a new life.  Laguna Beach is an artist's colony.  Hazel ends up working for a mysterious famous older artist, and trying to solve the mystery of a remarkable painting of his that disappeared.

I wanted to read this novel because I love the 1940's time period.  I found the beachside artist's colony very intriguing as well.

I absolutely loved this novel.  I found myself looking forward to reading more of Hazel's story every night.  Nicola Harrison does a beautiful job at capturing the time period and setting.  

Hazel is a sympathetic, likable character.  She has made mistakes in life but wants a new start, a sense of meaning, and a community of friends.  I also enjoyed the mystery aspect of the novel with the lost painting.  There is a sweet love story as well!

I highly recommend Hotel Laguna for fans of historical fiction, and especially for anyone interested in the 1940's or art and artists.
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I unfortunately feel like this is a book you might have to read a second time to enjoy it fully. I was very captivated by the description of the story but unfortunately the story itself when I read it fell flat. This is not to  that I would not give this book a second chance! Thank you to the author and publisher and netgalley for letting me read and advanced copy of this book! 2.5
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Set in the 1940s, Hazel Francis is an absolute badass, she’s a freaking delight! Strong, persistent, passionate, intelligent and flawed; she’s not perfect and that’s why she’s one of my favourite protagonists this year. The alternating timelines were mere years apart, Nicola was able to capture the differences during and after the war for women in the workforce. Something in my head and my heart just fell in love with the story, the setting, the characters, and really just everything.  

Huge thank you to St. Martin’s Press and Netgalley for this ARC of Hotel Laguna in exchange for an honest review.
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A fun and interesting read. I loved reading about a woman who wanted a  life out of the home in this time period!
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After loving the authors previous book Montauk I was so excited to get the chance to read Hotel Laguna, it did not disappoint! I’m a sucker for historical fiction and this book was beautifully written and its a perfect escape! 
It’s 1942 and Hazel Francis has lost both parents and feels stuck in Wichita Kansas, she sees her chance to escape and make a life for herself during WW2 when she joins other women in the workforce in California while the men are away at war. 
The women are working At Douglas Aircraft, Hazel becomes one of many “Rosie the Riveters,” helping construct bombers for the U. S. military. 
When the war is over the women are told to leave their jobs at the aircraft plant, and told to go back home and become housewives and the men get their jobs back. Hazel decided to remain on the west coast, and she finds herself in the bohemian town of Laguna Beach. She applies for a job and accepts a job as an assistant to famous artist Hanson Radcliff. Beloved by the locals for his contributions to the art scene and respected by the critics, Radcliff lives under the shadow of a decades old scandal that haunts him. She works hard for Hansonand finds a friend and possibly more in the bartender Jimmy, but Hazel has dreams and she’s torn between her dreams and the life everyone expects of a woman! I’m halfway through this book and I can’t put it down please grab this book today!!
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This is a light historical fiction set primarily in the first year after the end of the WWII.  Hazel Francis traveled from Kansas to California during the war to take a job at an aircraft factory to help support the war effort.  After falling in love with the independence she was given during the war and the purpose behind her work.  After being told to go home, get married, and start a family, Hazel instead finds herself in Laguna Beach, CA where she starts working as an assistant and model to the famous artist Hanson Radcliff, who has been followed by a controversy for more than 25 years and Hazel is determined to find out the truth.  Hazel integrates into the small artist community, making friends with various individuals, include Lillian, who runs a local co-op gallery; Jimmy, a bartender at the Hotel Laguna; Edgar, an artist with questionable motivations; and Scarlett, a waning Hollywood starlet who is desperate to recapture the attention she was getting right before the war broke out..

Thank you to NetGalley, Nicola Harrison, and St. Martin's Press for this advanced reader copy in exchange for an honest review.
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The story is about Hazel, young woman who is strong, smart, clever, patient , brave and kind. Hazel Francis leaves her midwestern home town to go to Laguna Beach, California. It is there she works building airplanes for the war effort. When the war ends, all the women are told to go home to their husbands and raise a family. The men are back and they need the jobs. With no job and very little money she strikes out for Laguna Beach. Through the kindness of a local bartender and a bit of karma she finds work with a temperamental ‘famous’ local painter. He hires Hazel as his assistant and gives her a place to call home.

.The author did an excellent job with the time period and exploring Hazel’s complex thoughts about her place in life. Should she marry and have children or pursue some sort of career?

This timeline was an interesting snapshot of life during that time in Laguna Beach. The author did a great job
making you picture in your mind what Laguna Beach was like as a community. I have been to Laguna Beach ten years ago, and could easily remember  in my mind and smell the sea air. 

If you love strong female characters, historical fiction, and scenic settings, you will enjoy Hotel Laguna.
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Welcome to Hotel Laguna. I love beach reads and this one is a fast, fun read. This book had me turning the pages so fast to see what would happen.  You will definitely enjoy this summer story.  Many thanks to the author, St. Martin’s Press and NetGalley for a complimentary copy of the book. The opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.
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This is my third five star rated book by this Author. While this and her other books are very far from my typical go to genre of Psych thrillers, I absolutely loved and devoured it in two sittings This book is so well written  that even though it is set in 1942, I was able to picture in my mind everything described in it. I absolutely loved the main protagonist. Hazel, she could have been my spirit animal. I loved her drive, determination and her moxie. I got a big kick out of the women's salaries quoted for the time and another small thrill for me was a character named Doreen, described as "A Blowsy older woman" This was a truly wonderful read.
Thank you to Netgalley, St. Martins Press and the Author, Nicola Harrison for an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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I am a huge fan of Nicola Harrison and was totally captivated by her latest release. I thought the setting and story were highly enjoyable! A perfect Summer read for historical fiction fans.
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Here's the thing: I loved Montauk. I thought it was a really strong book. I adored The Show Girl. But Hotel Laguna is my first Harrison novel that I just never could really sink into. There was something about the dialogue of the time that grated on me, I didn't like Hazel that much, I didn't particularly care about the painter or the mystery around him. I liked Jimmy, I was rooting for him and Hazel, but that was such a small part of the plot it wasn't enough to keep me engaged. I ended up sitting the book aside about halfway through for over a week before coming back to finish it. 

I still can't totally pinpoint why, some books just don't work out for me and that's fine. I'm glad to see it has good ratings from others though because I really enjoy Harrison's work and hope to read more of it in the future. 

Note: I received a free electronic edition of this book via NetGalley in exchange for the honest review above. I would like to thank them, the publisher, and the author for the opportunity to do so.
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I loved this author’s previous book, The Showgirl. I felt like this book was more light and bent toward YA. It tries to invoke feminism themes - and it did, but the main character was just a little too immature in her thoughts and reasoning for me.  The book was enjoyable and I read it all the way through, but I don’t see these characters sticking with me too long.  It was very light on the historical fiction. I would consider it a sweet and nicely wrapped up story.
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Hazel left Kansas for a job in California at Douglas Aircraft to help the war effort. She was a good worker and very talented at this traditionally male job. When the war ended, she was dismissed from her job in favor of the returning servicemen. She is desperate to find a job and finds herself in an artist’s conclave in Laguna. She takes a position as an assistant to a famous artist who has a mysterious past. No one is willing to tell Hazel what happened as the town is very protective of him. She finds a good friend in Jimmy, a bartender at the hotel. She soon becomes a valued member of the community, but her passion still lies with building airplanes. I was captivated by this book from beginning to end!

Also reviewed on B&N as 1IrishEyes430 and Kobo as IrishEyes430
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DNF at 40%

This book wasn't a good fit for me.  I can see why it has some great reviews, but I just found myself bored, even though there was a lot going on.  There are a lot of storylines here and just when we get focused on one, something else comes along.
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I spent the day at the beach in MA today, where Hotel Laguna was the perfect beach complement! I switched back and forth between the audio and my eARC - thanks to St Martin's Press for sharing NetGalley access with me in exchange for my honest opinion!
This was my first book by the author but it won’t be my last. I’ve been enjoying HF reads lately, and this book was right up my alley with strong women’s fiction vibes. After working at an airplane factory during WWII, Hazel is determined to stay in California, instead of returning to her Kansas hometown. She ends up in Laguna Beach, working as an artist’s assistant. She establishes herself in the small town, where in addition to working for the artist she volunteers for the town’s Pageant of the Masters, a festival where townspeople recreate various works of art. This is an actual festival that was fascinating to read about. If you’re interested in art, in particular, I think this would be a great book to check out, especially if you need a book to read at the beach like I did!
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