The Beautiful Strangers

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 19 Mar 2019

Member Reviews

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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Thank you to NetGalley, the publisher and the author for the opportunity to read an advance copy of this book.  Fans of historical fiction will enjoy this tale about the beautiful stranger of the hotel del Coronado. 

The narrative is told by two Kate Morgans: the ghost of Kate Morgan who died at the hotel over a hundred years ago, and her fictional granddaughter who is at the hotel attempting to make sense of her grandfather's requests.  The setting is 1950's Coronado. The beaches glitter as if gold. The navy jets scream overhead. The Hollywood crowd is on site working on a movie.  The characters that Kate meets include movie stars, a love interest for Kate, and a woman who provides the information she is seeking.   

This was a fun read.  I look forward to revisiting the hotel del Coronado as well as reading more works by this author.
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I received an ARC of this novel through Netgalley in exchange for my review  I loved this novel!  Such a great  setting and era for a novel!  1950’s, Hotel Coronado, and a ghost that pulls the plot through three generations.  It is a mystery, a romance and a fun slice of historical fiction all wrapped into one story.
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Thank you to NetGalley and Camille Di Maio for allowing me to read and review The Beautiful Strangers. This novel is a delightful blast to the past and I can't wait to read more from Di Maio!
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The Beautiful Strangers is a historical fiction novel predominately set in the 1950s in California. Kate Morgan lives in San Francisco with her family but craves more. She is drawn to the lifestyle of Southern California with its beaches and Hollywood glamour. Her grandfather is growing old and suffers from dementia though Kate still gives him more credit than most people do. He tells Kate to find the beautiful stranger. 

With encouragement from her grandfather, Kate decides to embark on this journey down south to Hotel del Coronado, and seek out answers to his request. She ends up working at the hotel and running into celebrities who lodge there while filming, including Marilyn Monroe and Jack Lemmon. These scenes were fine, but not my favorite. 

There is a dual timeline at play in The Beautiful Strangers though Kate’s story is the primary one. It took me a little while to establish how the two stories intertwined, which was confirmed a little later in the book. There is an element of mystery in the story, but I would not classify the book as a “mystery”. 

The Beautiful Strangers was a good story but didn’t blow me away. There were several predictable elements but I did enjoy the California setting and 1950s timeframe. I thought Kate was a likable main character too
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This historical novel is such a treat!   I loved the setting of the Hotel Del Coronado and particularly liked the 1950's storyline set during the filming of Some Like It Hot.  Fans of historical fiction, and particularly anyone who loves classic movies, will enjoy this book.
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There are actually two women named Kate Morgan. One of them is a ghost haunting at the famous Hotel Del Coronado in San Diego, since her death in 1892. The other one is a young girl who is stuck working in her family’s fish and chip shop in San Francisco in 1958. But when the young Kate is urged by her grandfather to take a job on a movie set located at that hotel so she can chase her dreams as well as find his illusive “beautiful stranger” she jumps at the chance, even though she knows her grandfather is suffering from dementia. 

Interestingly enough, until I read the author’s notes, I didn’t know that there really was a woman called Kate Morgan who died (under mysterious circumstances) in 1892 at this hotel. Apparently, many people believe that her ghost roams the halls of this hotel to this very day. The hotel is also known for being the location used for the movie “Some Like it Hot” (one of my all-time favorites, by the way) which starred Marilyn Monroe, Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis (among others). It is these two pieces of real history, that become the backdrop for Di Maio’s novel, which is precisely the type of fodder that is truly inspirational for inventing an absorbing biographical, historical fiction novel. 

Where Di Maio excels here is in building an intriguing plot that brings these two totally unrelated events together. Well, not actually together, but rather inventing a string of dots that connects between them. It was fascinating reading how Di Maio did this, and she employed practically every trick in the book. There’s some amateur detective work on the skimpy clues, combined with both chance encounters and quite a bit of serendipity. Although these things can feel overly convenient, the fact that it didn’t bother me and neither did the additional little love interest for young Kate, means that Di Maio easily achieved one of the most important things in writing fiction, that being keeping the reader’s interest. I also appreciated Di Maio’s writing style, which was just lyrical enough in the descriptions, and just straightforward enough in the dialogues that it flowed nicely, and the characters were all very likeable, especially our rebellious, almost ahead of her time feminist young Kate. 

Mind you, this doesn’t mean that this was a perfect novel. In fact, I had several niggles with this book. For example, there were some places where I think young Kate’s inner thoughts were slightly repetitive. Very early on in the book, we come to understand that Kate’s life is not going as planned, and that she’s unsure of how to solve her grandfather’s mystery, if she’s going about it in the most effective way, or even if she should bother trying. These recurring inner doubts, along with her speculations regarding her feeling towards the man she obviously fancies, end up getting voiced so frequently, that I’m afraid they began feeling tedious, and I admit I started skimming over them at one point, since I was anxious to see what would happen next. Furthermore, I was a bit disappointed with the ending here, where young Kate seems to act somewhat out of character and becomes suddenly conventional, when she’d been such a maverick throughout the novel. 

I also had a problem with the ghost. Yes, this could very well be my own preferences, since my regular readers already know that I’ve never been a fan of paranormal novels, even though I can take (and sometimes even enjoy) a bit of magical reality from time to time. For example, I wasn’t thrilled with the ghost in Kate Morton’s “The Clockmaker’s Daughter” but I very much enjoyed the ghost in “Her Fearful Symmetry” by Audrey Niffenegger. Mind you, the ghosts in both those stories weren’t the main reasons why neither of them got a full five stars from me. However, with this book, I’m feeling like the ghost is a much bigger problem here than it was with these other two examples. 

On the one hand, I understand why Di Maio included this narrative from the ghost Kate’s perspective, because she gives us insights into the story that the young Kate isn’t party to, and could never know much, if anything about. In fact, there are many vital pieces of information that ghost Kate gives us that add to the story very nicely. On the other hand, there were also pieces of information in these passages that seemed somewhat superfluous to me, since I found several of the things ghost Kate talked about were revealed through human means later on in the book. In addition, I was also a bit confused when the ghost broke the fourth wall and seemed to address the reader directly at one point. That disturbed me because my immediate thought was, who was she talking to, and why? I seriously believe that these were overdone, and I would have confined these passages to only the things that only the ghost Kate knew and/or felt, both before and after her death. That way, several of the answers to young Kate questions aren’t already partially known by the readers, and that might have further increased the suspense in this story. 

This also means that the above noted problem I had with young Kate’s harping on her insecurities was intensified when I read things recounted by ghost Kate were then discovered by young Kate. It just made me feel like I was, for some parts, being told the same story twice, and since one telling was from a ghost, well… sorry, but that’s just not for me (even though I did appreciate the very end of the last of ghost Kate’s entries here – which I can’t say more about). Still, I am certain that my problems with this book are precisely the reason why many people will adore it completely. So, I can still recommend it to those who like a bit of paranormal activity in their historical fiction, but sadly, I’m not one of them. That’s why I’ll give it three and a half stars, because of the very creative plot, the lovely writing and the enjoyable characters.
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I wanted to read today's book - The Beautiful Strangers by Camille Di Maio - primarily because I thought the cover of the book was very pretty and it drew me in.  I hadn't even read the synopsis of the book when I requested the opportunity to read and review it on NetGalley, so it was a fun surprise to read when I was approved!

The luxury beachfront Hotel Del Coronado in San Diego, California is the mecca for two women many years apart from each other. Many years ago, a woman died tragically on the steps of the hotel leading toward the beach and still haunts the hotel to this day.  Then, in 1958, Kate Morgan is working in her family's failing restaurant in San Francisco and is looking for a way out. Thanks to her grandfather's insistence, Kate sells her grandmother's ring, takes the money and goes to the Hotel Del Coronado to work in the kitchen on a set for a movie called "Some Like It Hot".  The storyline is cool because readers are placed onto a movie set, they meet Marilyn Monroe and other actors while following Kate on her journey.

Kate is anxious in her journey and tragically, as she is traveling, her suitcase is stolen, she is without food and hungry and isn't very presentable upon her arrival.  She learns the story about the ghost who lived at the Hotel Del Coronado with the same name as her.  Readers learn about Kate Morgan from today and the Kate Morgan from the past as they tell their stories each in alternating chapters and time periods which allows the story of who the beautiful stranger is becomes apparent.

The Beautiful Strangers is told with two points of view - the ghost Kate Morgan and the young Kate Morgan, which really ties together the stories of the two generations. I read this book cover to cover in one sitting. The characters were well written, the story line flowed well, and it was a very enjoyable afternoon spent reading a great book! 

I received a complimentary digital copy of this book from Lake Union Publishing through NetGalley in exchange for my review.  A positive review was not required and my views are my own.
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A great historical read! This book originally sparked my interest because the Hotel del Coronado has been on my bucket list of places to visit for quite some time. And that's mainly due to it's intriguing history and the haunting tales of its alleged ghost which is itself surrounded by controversy. While this book is a work of fiction, the author does a great job of using historical facts to weave an interesting and enjoyable story based on the famous haunting. If you're a fan of historical fiction, don't miss this one!
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Set in 1950s California and against the back drop of the classic Hollywood age, this is the story of Kate Morgan, who always has dreamt bigger than working in her family restaurant. She comes upon an opportunity to work in the fictional Hotel Del Coronado in San Francisco, known for being the go to choice of famous movie stars, such as Marilyn Monroe. There, she meets Sean, who also works in the hotel and chances upon an unlikely coincidence she shares with an alleged ghost in the hotel, who might be a key to an intriguing family secret.

I absolutely loved the story and the old timey charm of the golden age of movies in USA. The characters were perfectly etched and the pace at which secrets unfolded kept me hooked on to the story. This book is a perfect read to break in the spring season!
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This is my first book by Camille Di Maio but it won't be my last!  This story weaves past and present day beautifully!  Told in alternating narratives between Kate Morgan’s ghost of 1892 who occupies the Hotel del Coronado and Kate Morgan of San Francisco in present day 1958.  In present day (1958) Kate is told by her ailing grandfather to "find the beautiful stranger" at the Hotel del Coronado.  She gets a job at the hotel working the kitchen set for the movie Some Like it Hot and works to uncover the mystery of the beautiful stranger.  She also finds love!
Camille Di Maio is so beautifully descriptive - while I've never been to the Hotel del Coronado, I have spent a lot of time at the Grand Floridian at the Walt Disney World Resort in FL which is modeled after the Hotel del Coronado.  Now I want to go to California!!  This was a great book -  historical fiction, love story and mystery all rolled into one! I loved Kate and never wanted the book to end!
Thanks to Camille Di Maio, Lake Union Publishing and NetGalley for the ARC of this gorgeous book!
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Camille Di Maio has written her finest novel yet with this one. It's a love story, a ghost story, a tip of the hat to the Golden Days of Hollywood and simply a page turner. Told in dual timelines, Kate Morgan (in the 50's) bears the same name as the ghost that inhabits the Coronado Hotel.
I absolutely loved this story and despite being ill, this one was hard to stop reading. Kate's grandfather urges her to follow her dream and go to California. Oh, and while you're there, search for the "beautiful stranger." (Her grandfather has dementia so his thinking is muddled quite often but this he speaks with clarity.)
Di Maio is an author who writes from the heart and never disappoints. This book surpasses my expectations! 
I received an Advance Review Copy of this book. All opinions are my own.
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