by Nicola Harrison
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Pub Date 20 Jun 2023 | Archive Date 04 Jul 2023
In 1942, Hazel Francis left Wichita, Kansas for California, determined to do her part for the war effort. At Douglas Aircraft, she became one of many “Rosie the Riveters,” helping construct bombers for the U. S. military. But now the war is over, men have returned to their factory jobs, and women like Hazel have been dismissed, expected to return home to become wives and mothers.
Unwilling to be forced into a traditional woman’s role in the Midwest, Hazel remains on the west coast, and finds herself in the bohemian town of Laguna Beach. Desperate for work, she 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.
Working hard to stay on her cantankerous employer’s good side, Hazel becomes a valued member of the community. She never expected to fall in love with the rhythms of life in Laguna, nor did she expect to find a kindred spirit in Jimmy, the hotel bartender whose friendship promises something more. But Hazel still wants to work with airplanes—maybe even learn to fly one someday. Torn between pursuing her dream and the dream life she has been granted, she is unsure if giving herself over to Laguna is what her heart truly wants.
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 275 members
I loved The Show Girl by Harrison, so I had to jump at the opportunity to read her newest upcoming title and it didn't disappoint.
Hotel Laguna by Nicola Harrison has written a beautiful, detailed novel that I found so hard to get away from.
The setting of Laguna Beach, California and the time period was described so beautifully.
The pages just come to life with her amazig characters and brilliant storytelling.
Hazel, I loved her. She is strong, independent and determined.
The descriptions of the WWII in 1942 was fascinating and intriguing.
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book and enjoyed taking this journey into another world.
"I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own."
Thank you to NetGalley and St. Martin's Press for my ARC in exchange for my honest review.
Hotel Laguna is the story of Hazel Francis, a young woman from Wichita, Kansas. Longing for a change in her current situation, Hazel takes a chance and sets out for California to take her place among other women working in an airplane factory during WWII. Once the men return home, and their jobs are returned to them, Hazel again sets out to find her way, with only herself to count on. Hotel Laguna is a great story of perseverance, friendship, and determination. The way Nicola Harrison balances a historical fiction story while making her characters feel understood and relevant in current times is one of the reasons she is a favorite author of mine. Hazel is a young woman finding her way in often uncertain situations, and her flawed history to me is a reason to fall in love with her story. The beautiful setting of Laguna Beach, California, a mix of friendship, romance, and deceit are just a few more reasons I very much enjoyed this book. This is a perfect mix of historical fiction and a light beach read, and I loved it. Thank you to Net Galley and St Martin's Press for an advanced copy of this book which is set to be released June 20th 2023, all opinions are my own.
Hotel Laguna by Nicola Harrison is a great historical fiction that takes us to post-WWII in California.
I really enjoyed being transported to another place and time within history. Visiting California (Laguna) in the immediate post-war years was a treat. This is a locale and a time period that really could be explored more.
The author did a great job immersing the reader into the environment, the social attitudes, and the surroundings.
Hazel Francis was a joy to follow. Being a midwest transport to the west coast, and seeing her navigate society, the times, and trying to find and balance her hopes, dreams, and her heart amongst the obstacles was the best part of the book.
It was well done.
Thank you NG and St Martins Press for this wonderful arc and in return I am submitting my unbiased and voluntary review and opinion.
I am posting this review to my GR and Bookbub accounts immediately and will post it to my Amazon, Instagram, and B&N accounts upon publication on 6/20/23.
The setting is beautifully depicted by the author: WWII and hot, sultry California with its breeze. The salty wind blows on my face and cools me off from the scorching heat.
Hazel wanted to help her country and find her place in life outside the kitchen, which was a woman’s place. She did her job fairly well. But she was a woman.
A woman's life is well portrayed, when she suddenly becomes an unnecessary part of a society's production and is forced back to her "female" duties after being a major player. However, Hazel didn't want to give up. Therefore, she moved to Laguna Beach where she could try and achieve her dreams of flying planes, and maybe she would meet her love? Is it Jimmy? This book is the book of many topics: hard work, dreams, friendship and love. There is a wonderful combination of history, characters with emotions, and a delightful plot in this book. I enjoyed this book. It was very delightful.
Maybe she will be able to fly someday?
Hotel Laguna is a delightful story scattered with some lovable, quirky characters. I have spent some time in picturesque Laguna Beach, and it's one of my favorite towns. The author captures its essence. At the conclusion of this well-written story, I was sorry to say goodbye to all the sweet characters and especially Hazel.
Hotel Laguna will take you back in time (1940s) to sunny California. This is a very enjoyable book with rich descriptions and a plot that will carry you away to a different time and place. The art world during that era provides interesting insight as well as developing relationships/friendships. This book captures the true spirit of each character, and you will remember them long after the last page has been turned. Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for the privilege of reading a memorable book.
In 1942, Hazel Francis leaves Kansas for California, fleeing an “accidental” engagement and a marriage she doesn’t want. She lands a job at Douglas Aircraft and surprises herself with the joy she finds in manual labor as a “Rosie the Riveter.” But when the men return from war, women like Hazel lose their positions and are encouraged (strongly) to focus on being wives and mothers.
Hazel, unwilling to give up her independence and the fulfillment she finds in it, struggles to find another job—any job. She ends up in the artsy town of Laguna Beach where she takes the only position she can find--being an assistant to famous artist Hanson Radcliff.
I thoroughly enjoyed camping out in the colorful, laid-back town of Laguna and meeting the artists, dreamers, and Hollywooders who populated it. Hazel’s new relationships—not only with the crusty, moody painter but also with a gentle, dreamy bartender and a couple of scallywags—transform her even more than her factory job did. I loved the author’s portraits of flawed, charismatic characters.
Hotel Laguna brims with themes of love, friendship, transformation, hope, hard work, and creativity. I especially enjoyed learning about the Pageant of the Masters, a real art festival that’s taken place in Laguna Beach for 90 years.
Pick this book up for a lovely getaway to a beautiful California coast drenched in sunshine and stay for a glimpse of lives shaped by war, art, and secrets.