Cover Image: Hotel Laguna

Hotel Laguna

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Hazel has worked for Douglas Aircraft since she has left Kansas. Now that the war is over, she has lost her job. She takes a leap of faith and ends up in a town of Laguna Beach. She is going to be the assistant to a famous artist there, Hanson Radcliff. But, work for Hanson is a bit precarious. He is cantankerous and unpredictable and has a shadow of a scandal following him around.

Hazel is such a fabulous character and so is Hanson! I adored both. But, Hazel is my favorite. She is tough but naïve. And that is what makes her capture your heart. She really struggles to make a go with her new world and she is not afraid to learn or try new things.

I adored how this story unfolded. And don’t let Hanson fool you, he has great talent but he also has a big heart beneath that gruff exterior.

I have been a fan of this author every since I read The Show Girl. And this book rates right up there with it. This author knows how to weave a tale!

The narrator, Carlotta Brentan, is fantastic. She has the perfect tone for these characters, especially Hanson.

Need an all consuming tale…THIS IS IT! Grab your copy today.

I received this novel for a honest review.
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Thanks to NetGalley for the opportunity to read and review this book.  I thoroughly enjoyed this book and I would highly recommend this book to anyone interested in a feel good, heartwarming story about a young woman in post World War II California.  Hazel Francis leaves Kansas in 1942 to work for Douglas Aircraft in airplane production, a extremely hard job that she grows to love and becomes quite proficient in various positions in the company, after the war is over she loses her job and decides to stay in California and she makes her way to Laguna Beach.  Hazel finds a job as an assistant to an eccentric artist, and encounters some other new people in this community, as she begins to make an enjoyable life  for herself. The story focuses on Hazel and her adventures with these various people.  The story comes together at the end with a pleasant ending, and you will be rooting for Hazel and her resiliency throughout this book.
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3.5 rounded up. I was pleasantly surprised that this book exceeded my expectations. Assuming it would be a typical beach read, I was impressed to discover it had more substance to it, even touching on the important role of "Rosie the Riveter" type female workers' contributions to the war effort. I enjoyed the setting in the California oeanside art community, the characters were likable and a little mystery was revealed at the end. Its an easy summertime read that many will enjoy. My thanks to the publisher for providing a copy of this book for review via NetGalley. All opinions are my own.
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Quick and Dirty⁣
-WWII-era historical fiction ⁣
-loaded with SoCal references ⁣
-great audio narration⁣
-a touch of romance⁣
I love historical fiction, particularly WWII novels. So it's no surprise that I thoroughly enjoyed the latest from Nicola Harrison, an author whose backlist titles have been on my TBR for far too long. Not only is she a gifted author, but she's also super sweet! She mailed me copies of her first two novels last year, and I promise I will read them both soon! Now, back to her latest. Hotel Laguna is the perfect summer read for any histfic lover. There's a little of everything: female empowerment, beach vibes, mystery, budding romance, and much more. I loved how Harrison featured SoCal so prominently in this book. Locals and those familiar with Orange County will appreciate all the shoutouts to locations, attractions, and the general way of life. Hazel is the perfect protagonist in my opinion. She's learned a lot over the past few years, and now she's struggling to find her place in this world. If that's not relatable then I don't know what is! Overall, this great new title is highly entertaining and perfect for vacation reading.
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Thanks to NetGalley and St. Martin's Press for access to this title. All opinions expressed are my own.

I liked this book about a young woman who worked at a U.S. munitions factory during the war and in post-wartime searches for employment. Hazel Francis, the book's main protagonist is opinionated, hard-working and certainly doesn't let life knock her down. I admired her persistence to never take no for an answer.

At the beginning of the novel, chapters alternate between Hazel's war years and the present peacetime. Quickly, we gain the back story and the chapters are then all set in her new life as an artist's assistant. Hazel soon becomes interested in his past and tries to help him as much as she can. Hazel finds friendship with other secondary characters and the setting of Hotel Laguna is certainly charming.

Unfortunately, it didn't really hook me as a reader in any emotional sense. I read and watch a lot of wartime-era stories and Hazel felt to me to be very much the same as many other characters. I think I got caught up in assuming there was going to be something really big happening. Suffice it to say, there were things that occurred but I was left wanting a little bit more.

Publication Date: 20/06/23
Goodreads Review 25/06/23
#HotelLaguna #NetGalley.
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I love how this book depicts life before and after WWII, with a girl trying to find her purpose in life after women were no longer needed on factory jobs anymore at the end of the war. She eventually finds a job as an assistant to an eccentric painter and gets to learn about her life in Laguna Beach, and around the Hotel Laguna.
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Hotel Laguna by Nicola Harrison is an incredible work of historical fiction. 

The story is set in post WWII where we meet Hazel. The story is told in alternating timelines between WWII and post WWII , 1946. Hazel really enjoyed her job at an airplane factory during WWII. But, as history tells, after the war ended men filled all the positions the women were working while they were at war. According to societal norms, she was to settle down , get married and have kids, but Hazel had other ideas. 

She is in Laguna Beach with no job and no one really to help her, so she finds a job and in turn, her life is turned around. 

I really enjoyed this historical fiction. The characters were well written and complex and fleshed out. 

This is a great read, one I highly recommend!
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3.5 raised to a 4.

Post WWII, California. Story follows Hazel, who worked in an airplane factory to help the cause while the men were away.  After the war ended, she and all the women were told to go home to their husbands. Hazel was at a crossroads; no job, no husband, no family.  She finds herself in the artist community of Laguna Beach.  

While I enjoyed the storyline of the women left at home and trying to find their new normal, I never really connected with Hazel or any of the characters.  The mystery of the artist was interesting, and was brought to a satisfying ending.  Enjoyable, slow burn but not riveting.  Stellar writing.  Looking forward to the authors next book.  

Thanks to St. Martin’s Press and NetGalley for this ARC. Opinion is mine alone.
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This is gorgeously written, captivating historical fiction set in two timelines:  During World War II when women are being called into the workforce, and after World War II when the same women are forced to give up their jobs.  The plot and characters just shine.  This is a "no-put-downer" for sure.   Highly recommend.

I received a free copy of this book from the publishers via Netgalley.  My review is voluntary and the opinions expressed are my own.
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4 interesting history stars

I really enjoyed this one, highlighting some different parts of history and really bringing them to life. We have the artist scene in Laguna Beach and the Douglas Aircraft facility, where women were put to work building bombers for WWII. You may know them as “Rosie the Riveters.”

Set mostly just after WWII, we follow Hazel Francis from her hometown of Wichita to California as she’s recruited to join the war effort. There are two timelines for the first half of the book, one with Hazel at the aircraft factory and the other timeline after the war when she is trying to figure out her place in the world. 

I enjoyed both timelines, learning more about what women did to build the aircraft and how it was very fulfilling. Then it was difficult when they all lost their jobs as men came home. 

When her job disappears, Hazel has nothing in Wichita to return to, so she stays in California, eventually settling in Laguna Beach. She lucks into a job as an assistant to a famous but difficult artist with a troubled past. This timeline was an interesting snapshot of life during that time in Laguna Beach.

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 one made for a perfect summer read and I loved Hazel’s character and positive view of women’s worth. The ending brought it all together for me.
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Yes, there is a Hotel Laguna in Nicola Harrison's amazing novel, but the plot revolves around young Hazel Francis and the hotel is a supporting character. Hazel worked for Douglas Aircraft during the final years of WWII and finds herself jobless when the war ends. She has no family and must support herself. In 1946 she finds herself in Laguna Beach and takes a job working as an assistant for an older, famous artist. When Hazel meets Jimmy, the handsome and friendly bartender at the hotel, she longs to make Laguna her home. Harrison's characters are interesting and entertaining. As Hazel becomes part of her new community, a mystery involving her employer and a missing painting surfaces. This story is compelling and carries an important message. People are not always what they seem.
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An immersive historical fiction novel with great character development. As WWII comes to an end and the soliders are returning home, Hazel Francis is no longer needed to help construct war planes.  She moves west to find herself and bucks society's idea of what a woman's role is supposed to be in 1942. I enjoyed this novel immensely.  Found myself rooting for Hazel and the other supporting characters.  I would have liked for the hotel to play a bigger part in the narrative.  The direction of the plot was pretty predictable but the journey to get to the end was fabulous.  

Thank you to netgalley and the publisher for an opportunity to read and review honestly an advanced digital copy.
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First, I need you all to know that I am pretty biased when it comes to Nicola Harrison novels. Her first, Montauk, was spectacularly beautiful. One of my favorite books of the year. With that said, Hotel Laguna not only matches the splendor and enjoyment of the first, but truly exceeds it. With a strong story which includes a mystery, long lost love, lessons in regret, with the focus on a strong woman who craves freedom during an era when that seemed impossible, it was certainly a cannot put it down read.

Hazel Francis was not afraid of much. She was from Kansas where during the war in 1942 she worked at Douglas Aircraft helping to build planes. With no family to go back to and a relationship she should never have begun, when the war was over, and they told her she should go back to her old life she chooses instead to start a new one by heading to California instead.

She finds herself in Laguna Beach, a beautiful artsy city with sun, sand and ocean. She ends up at a hotel called Hotel Laguna where she meets bartender, Jimmy, a go-getter who helps her as she tries to find a job as she has little money.

She applies for a vague position as the assistant and model to a cantankerous older famous artist, Hanson Radcliff. Although he is difficult and more than likely an alcoholic, he is known throughout the art community as a generous contributor. But Hazel soon learns Radcliff has many past secrets and regrets eating at him. As hard as she tries, she can’t seem to get him to open up. And the mystery deepens as she begins to learn more about Radcliff’s younger years.

Hazel on the other hand finds life in Laguna Beach wonderful! She begins her day with a swim in the ocean and through her association with Radcliff, becomes involved in the artist community which she loves. She and Jimmy bond as they share their dreams of what they would like their futures to become. Hazel, who dreams of working in the air industry, although clearly that would be frowned upon and Jimmy who someday want to own his own hotel as he has great ideas.

But when tragedy strikes and Hazel gives herself the choice to go back from where she came, the place she used to call home, or stay in Laguna Beach the place where she has found freedom and acceptance, she chooses home. But once there, she realizes home is sometimes not an actual place but it’s where your heart sings.

Hotel Laguna is a magnificent story with powerful messages such as forgiving yourself, letting go of regrets, living the life you choose to live and of course, love.

Thank you #NetGalley #St.Martin’sPress #NicolaHarrison #HotelLaguna for the advanced copy.
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I love that Nicola Harrison uses the almost ordinary woman (I loved that about her previous The Showgirl as well)  - Hazel, the Kansas girl who didn’t have a clear plan after being orphaned and ended up engaged to someone she doesn’t love and working at a California airplane factory aiding the war effort - also this is not another work of WWII historical fiction, just the first couple of pages are set during the war for the most part this book takes on the later 40s and the women sent home after they are replaced by the returning „boys“ and especially one who has nothing to return to and no real education safe for having been a riveter … when her hopes are completely dashed she washes up in Laguna Beach only to be taken in kindly by a bartender and discovering that the oddest of odd jobs may provide the solution she‘s looking for - she is going to be an artist’s assistant. Will her Midwestern upbringing stand in the way ? Will she tease some of his life’s story out of the curmudgeonly artist ? What about the community of Laguna Beach rediscovering art after the war ? 
This book was well written, engaging and fun to listen to … I went to school in California but haven’t been back in over 20 years and this was a fun visit by book !
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Have you ever been to Pageant of the Masters?
I have been to Laguna Beach many many times but I have never been there for Pageant of the Masters. I have always been so intrigued by it. And I did see the Arrested Development episode where George Bluth hid in the painting.

Hotel Laguna is the stunning new novel by @nicolaharrisonauthor about Hazel, a woman who worked in an airplane factory during WWII and then made her way to Laguna after the war ended in search of work. She ended up becoming an assistant for a famous artist who had a scandalous past involving a Hollywood starlet. This book was absolutely riveting (no pun intended since Hazel was a riveter!). The descriptions were so detailed and the characters so multi-dimensional that I was fully immersed in life at the beach in the 1940s. I loved hearing Hazel’s story has an early feminist who was determined and independent and sought out opportunities that weren’t normally available to women. She was ahead of her time and so inspirational. I just loved seeing her follow her dreams and break out of the traditional roles.
The life in the artist haven of a beach town was so picturesque and so well-crafted that it made me remember why I love historical fiction.
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I enjoyed this audiobook very much. It was predictable but I enjoyed the characters so much I had to find out if I was correct with what happened. There was a little bit of romance, history and mystery to keep it interesting. The narrator did a great job and I look forward to reading/listening to other books by Nicola Harrison. Thanks to NetGalley for the ARC.
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Building a Life During WWII and After

Like many women during WWII, Hazel Francis left Kansas and moved to California to take a job in the aircraft industry. She was good at the mechanical tasks and earned promotions, but in 1946 when the men returned to take the jobs, she found herself unemployed. 

With nothing to return to in Kansas Hazel takes a bus to Laguna Beach to look for work. She finds an ad for an artist’s assistant. She lands the job with Hanson Radcliff, a cranky well-know artist. She becomes close to him and learns about the incident that soured his life. Hazel also gets involved with the community and is well liked. One of the people who is important to her is Jimmy the bartender at the Laguna Beach Hotel. They become involved in a romantic relationship. It’s a satisfying life, but Hazel still has dreams of working with airplanes. 

Hazel is a good character, independent and adaptable. Although her life changes several times, she adjusts and makes a success of her new opportunities. The historical aspect of the book focuses on how women, who were asked to play significant roles during the war, had to reshape their lives and goals when the men came home. I thought the author did a good job illustrating this transition with Hazel’s challenges.

Thanks to Net Galley and the publisher for this book.
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Based right after WWII, this book focuses on Hazel Francis and her decision to take a route less taken by women during that time.  She doesn't want to be the traditional stay at home, have babies and take care of the house kind of lady; but to continue working outside of the house.   Eventually she makes her way to the west coast, to a small town, Laguna beach, where she starts to work as an assistant for a rather crotchety old man and famous painter, Hanson Radcliff.

This was such a cute read!  I loved watching the relationship between Hazel and Hason develop throughout the book.   She was able to really get to know him and about his life when he was younger.   Watching Hazel find her place in Laguna while digging into Hanson's past to try and find the most talked about portrait that Hanson ever painted and still haunts him. 

This was fast read for me and a solid 4 stars!  Thank you @netgalley for the advanced copy!  #NetGalley #HotelLaguna
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I enjoyed this book immensely. I didn't think the back and forth of the first few chapters going between 1942 and 1946 was necessary. I feel like it could have been told in the same way linearly like the rest of the novel. Other than that, this was enjoyable. Hazel Francis isn't your typical woman from this time period. She knows the midwest is not for her and decides to do something about it when the war starts and the aircraft builders are hiring women while the men fight in the war. She takes herself to California. After the war ends, she is left with no job and no idea where to go. She ends up in Laguna Beach. I found it interesting to have this story told from the viewpoint of a woman after the war because their lives were changed as much as the men that had been fighting overseas, just in a different way. They had their eyes opened that maybe they could do the jobs that me do and do them well. Hazel is a great character, and I think you will enjoy getting to know her and the others in her orbit.

Thanks to the publisher & NetGalley for free advanced copy, and I am leaving my review freely
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I received an ARC of this book.  Another winner by Nicola Harrison.  I've enjoyed every one of her books so far.   She writes interesting stories that pull you in and keep you enthralled until the very end.  This book +did that as well.  Great characters and a story to tug at your heart strings!
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