The Beautiful Strangers

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 19 Mar 2019

Member Reviews

I loved the setting and timeframe of this book so much!  The story was easy to read and very enjoyable.
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This was such a fun and entertaining read. I thoroughly enjoyed this tale Set in the Hotel del Coronado and filled with interesting and likable characters, some well-known such as Marilyn Monroe.
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As a lover of the beach and history, and a person that has recently moved to San Diego, I was intrigued by this book. It was so interesting. I felt like I was really getting to know the old Coronado as it once was. It is a beautiful story told between the late 1800 and the mid 1950s. A time of Hollywood glamour. Kate Morgan wants to go to Hollywood and her grandfather encourages her. When she arrives, she finds that there is a ghost that lives in the Hotel del Coronado. Her story takes an adventurous turn as she looks to find out what made her grandfather insist on sending her there. She learns about family, betrayal, love and that all in Hollywood is not as it seems. Definitely recommend if you're in the mood for a historical beach read. 

Thank you to NetGalley for the free ebook in exchange for an honest review.
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Wow, Camille Di Maio has blown me away yet again! This is probably one of the most underrated historical fiction authors! I first came across her when I downloaded The Memory Of Us through #kindleunlimited and I’ll find myself still thinking of that story. When I saw The Beautiful Strangers on NetGalley, I HAD to get the copy. This is an author where I will blindly buy a book, without reading the synopsis, solely because it’s written by her! definitely worth picking up! Camille di Maio had clearly done a ton of research while building Kate’s story & had me Googling Marilyn Monroe, the movie, the hotel ghost all on the side! I devoured this!
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What a great historical setting--the Hotel del while Some Like it Hot is filming there! Kate's new job and romance almost take a back seat to the events that occurred sixty years earlier. Really nicely done and fun to read.
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Great premise, interesting time period and a perfect summer novel. I really enjoyed getting in to the atmosphere of the hotel and the legend of Kate Morgan. The addition of Old Hollywood intrigue made this a very fun read.
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The Beautiful Strangers was such a powerful book.  Camille 
Di Maio does such a wonderful job at taking you back in different periods of time to tell the story of Kate Morgan... both of them.  She makes it easy to feel the emotion and the pull of these women and their discoveries of their families.  I am looking forward to reading more by Di Maio.
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First of all I want to thank Netgalley, Lake Union publishing and the author for providing me with the e-ARC of this lovely historical fiction set in the 1950s. I read this book way back in April but never got around to writing a review for it so here I am finally attempting one.

Kate Morgan has always felt that life has a lot more to offer her than just working around the clock in her family's failing seafood restaurant in San Francisco. She gets her chance to escape that deary life when her grandfather, who suffers from dementia, in one of his rare moments of clarity gives and tells her to answer an advertisement of temporary employment at the Hotel de Coronado in Southern California, where the filming of the movie 'Some Like it Hot' is scheduled to take place, alongwith the cryptic plea to 'find the beautiful stranger'. Pawning her grandmother's engagement ring, Kate makes her way to the beachfront landmark. Her adventure gets off to a rocky start at the train station but there she also meets Sean O' Donnell, an Irish-American who incidentally works at the same hotel and is able to procure for her an employment which brings her in contact with the stars of the movie, Marilyn Monroe, Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon. He surprisingly also tells her, which is repeated again by other workers at the hotel, that she shares her name with a ghost that is believed to haunt the hotel. According to legend, this ghost Kate Morgan was a young woman who died in mysterious circumstances while staying at the hotel in 1892. While her death was pronounced as suicide, many still believe it to be not so. As the modern Kate weaves her way in her new job and surroundings while searching for an answer to her grandfather's cryptic clue, she slowly comes to the realisation that there could be a more deeper connection between her and the ghost Kate.

The story is told in a dual time-line format with each chapter beginning with the modern Kate and her story and ending with the ghost Kate and her story with both story lines slowly merging together to a convincing end. The writing is smooth and easy with vivid descriptions of sunny, southern California, the hotel, the beaches and the stars which make you feel that you are right there living in the moment. There are so many lovely moments in the book which includes the interaction between the modern Kate and Marilyn Monroe in Marilyn's suite where Marilyn uses her popularity to help Kate in her mission to solve her grandfather's cryptic plea.

When I saw this labelled as a historical fiction it wasn't difficult to figure out the historical aspect of it which was the filming of the movie 'Some Like It Hot' at the Hotel de Coronado and the stars related to the movie. What I didn't know and was surprised to find out (after I Googled) was that the 'ghost' Kate Morgan is not a ficitional character but she too was a real person who had died at the hotel (aged 24) in 1892. She is said to still haunt the hotel even today and even though her death was termed suicide many still question the authenticity of that and believe otherwise.
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I enjoyed this book and it made me want to visit the Hotel del Coronado in California. The way the author weaves the story from the 1950's back to 1892 was done in a way that made you want to also uncover the history along with the answers that Kate Morgan is trying to uncover.
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This was such a great read that I couldn't put it down. I love historical fiction that interweaves real life characters with make believe ones & make you feel like you are in that part of history.Camille Di Maio does an excellent job of this. I want to visit Coronado after reading this novel. Highly recommend getting this book & learning about Kate Morgan (the ghost & live girl) & their family.
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The Beautiful Strangers is another wonderful novel from Camille DiMaio. It's told in two time lines - Kate in 1892 and another Kate in 1958. It takes place at the Hotel Del Coronado in beautiful southern California. There appears to be no connection between the two Kates except for their names but as their lives intertwine - despite living years apart - the courage that they both possessed comes to light.

The year is 1958 and Kate, who waitresses at her uncle's restaurant in northern California, wants to see more of the world. Her grandfather, who is suffering from dementia, tells her during one of his lucid phases that she needs to go to LA and 'find the beautiful stranger". Kate loves the movies and when her grandfather finds a job opening working on a film set, he encourages her to apply for the job. When she arrives, she finds out that Some Like it Hot is filming at the Hotel Del Coronado and when she gets a job, she meets Jack Lemon and Marilyn Monroe along with the rest of the cast. It's a dream come true for Kate plus there is a nice young man at the hotel that she begins to fall in love with. When she starts asking questions about 'the beautiful stranger' she finds out that she was a ghost who had the same name she did. Was there are connection between the two of them? Why was the ghost still haunting the hotel and why did her grandfather know about the ghost? The connection with the Kate in 1892, made this story all the more interesting and we get chapters told from 1892 and about the dilemma that is going on in Kate's life.

Camille Di Maio has once again brought us a story that it rich in plot with wonderful characters. It's apparent that she did significant research about movie making in the mid 50s. She made the hotel and the location in California come alive with her wonderful descriptions. As the stories twist and turn, they become intertwined in a way that makes the story even more interesting. I have been a fan of all of Camille's writing and think this is her best book yet.
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Imagine your grandfather, weaving in and out of dementia, tells you to take/borrow/"steal" your late grandmother's wedding ring to go and get a job in Southern California at the Hotel del Coronado so that you can find his "beautiful stranger'.
And when you get there after a few mishaps, you discover the hotel is haunted by a ghost........................... that shares your name!
A magical read set across the decades: the Kate Morgan of the 1890's and the Kate Morgan of the 1950's are our narrators. And together they link George Morgan, themselves and the hotel together in a majestic tale.
Poignantly written, interspersed with real-life events and characters, this is a story about finding yourself and your spot in the world - finding that thing which answers the questions of the past.
I especially loved the inclusion of Ms Marilyn Monroe and the impact she has on the 1950's Kate.
A story that comes full circle with the Hotel del Coronado standing at the centre of it all.
It left me with goosebumps how everything came to a beautiful conclusion - that last chapter!! The last two lines!!
Thank you to NetGalley and the publishers for allowing me the chance to read this book.
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The Beautiful Strangers follows the story of one woman daring to chase after her dream and finding her family history. The book goes through two different eras, the early 1900’s and then the 1950’s and early 1960’s. It is a story of heartbreak and loss, love and family. 

Camille Di Maio’s exceptional writing skills allows the reader to vividly picture each part of the story. The book is beautifully written and an excellent read.

I personally loved this book which was the first I have read by Camille Di Mario. I definitely plan on going back and reading other books written by her.

Thank you #netgalley and #lakeunionpublishing for allowing me to read this book for a fair and honest review.
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Kate Morgan leaves home after her grandfather, who has dementia, urges her to find the beautiful stranger.  Not knowing if this is real, Kate decides to go to the Hotel Del in Coronado to try to get answers.  The plot is told in different timelines, and comes together to solve the mystery.  Well written but I wouldn’t say it was a must read for me.
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I’ve never read anything by this author and thought it might be just fluff. I was pleasantly surprised and truly enjoyed it.  Enjoyed her characters and found it was difficult to put her book down.
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What a delightful read.  Often when I peek at the reviews left by readers who read the exact book I just read, I wonder where their mind was while mine were surrounded by the story being woven by a talented author.  I've been dropped back to present day as the last page turned and want to go back to the world I found in Ms Di Maio's pages.  I was provided an ARC of The Beautiful Strangers by NetGalley and  Lake Union Publishing.  Once opened the reader is nestled in a story of Kate Morgan of San Francisco as she searches for answers for her beloved Grandfather suffering from dementia.  In lucid moments he is haunted by visions from his past encouraging Kate to journey to the Hotel Coronado in southern California.  We are set in the late 1950s by the talented pen of Ms Di Maio AND in the early 1900s.  Two characters narrate the stories of Kate Morgan circa 1958 and Kate Morgan circa 1900s.  The two stories weave together taking pieces of the past to blend lives together.

A well written journey with little surprises along the way.  A true romance novel worthy of your time.  Take your time - let the story of familial history blend over the years.  This reader let the images float through until the end and let Ms Di Maio's imagination introduce characters along the way and expertly weave them into a beautiful story.
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Haunting, Informative, Page-turner, Romantic, Tear-jerker. Beautiful Strangers straddles two fully-imagined worlds, both of which intrigue us with their compelling stories. At the center is Hotel Del Coronado with its glamorous past and the movie stars who sought refuge there. Camille Di Maio draws us into the story through the love of a granddaughter and her grandfather with Alzheimers, that won't quite let him explain what she is searching for at Hotel Coronado. The mystery unfolds in a delicious manner. Highly recommended!
Reasons I enjoyed this book:
Easy-to-read, Entertaining, Great world building, Haunting, Informative, Page-turner, Romantic, Tear-jerker, Unpredictable, Wonderful characters
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This book kept me hooked!  Great story line and strong characters that I felt invested in.  A light romance and a great beach read. Beautifully written and I appreciated the historical aspects of the novel.
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I love the way author Camille Di Maio writes. I have not found a book yet that doesn’t draw me in and make me feel at home. Beautifully written and engaging, I enjoyed this book and its historical angles very much and they flowed with no problem between the alive Katie and the ghost of Katie. Sometimes historical stories lend nothing to the real life time presented but you cannot say that about this book. I was drawn in first by the author since she is a favorite but the cover is beautiful as well. I have purchased 4 copies for my friends because I know they will love it as much as I do
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I love all of Camilles books and this one was no exception!! Taken place at the Coronado Hotel in San Diego this was a wonderful read
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