Cover Image: Hotel Laguna

Hotel Laguna

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Member Reviews

Though I’m not really a fan of WWIi historicals , this story of Hazel, one of the women who built airplanes for the war effort was decent.

It’s w@ a light read.

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As soon as I saw the author of this book, a jumped right in… Having loved her previous two books, I dove headfirst into Hotel Laguna! This book is set with the backdrop of World War II and I was completely in love with it
Hazel volunteers during World War II when the world is over she’s expected to return to the role of Wife, and mother, as ladies were expected at that time.… But this is not the case for Hazel!

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I really enjoyed this book. During the War, Hazel Francis works at Douglas Aircraft in California. She really likes it, but when the War is over she loses her job to the returning men. She decides to head to Laguna Beach. She finds a job as an assistant to artist Hanson Radcliff. This brings so many changes to her life. I like the way the relationship developed between her and Hanson. I liked the artistic setting and Hazel. She was such a strong character who never gave up. The romance was also well done. I highly recommend this book. It's a really good story!

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“Hotel Laguna” is a historical fiction book by Nicola Harrison. This book takes place in one of my favorite places to visit - Laguna Beach, California. It starts off with our main character, Hazel, working for Douglas Aircraft during WWII. At the end of the war, she wants to continue to work, but is let go. She ends up in Laguna Beach and finds work as an assistant for an artist. Long story short - there’s a bit of a mystery (where is a painting), a bit of a slow romance, and Hazel’s overwhelming love for the town. I would have loved to have had an Author’s Note about how she came up with the story - and what was factual and what the author made up (for instance, was the artist based upon someone). This book is a bit predictable, but it was an enjoyable read (I read it in about 24 hours), but I didn’t mind as it was also a fun read. Additionally, I spent a bit of time online looking up paintings (Lady Hamilton at the Spinning Wheel is a real painting) and recalling the lovely coastline of Laguna Beach.

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Historical Fiction usually isn’t my typical read, but this book was really enjoyable! Hazel did anything and everything she wanted. I loved the setting, the plot, the characters, everything was really well written!

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Hotel Laguna is set during and immediately after WWII. Hazel is one of the Rosie the Riveters who worked on planes while the men were abroad fighting. She fell in love with the work and as the war ends she stay in Laguna Beach in order to defy the expectations that women return to the wife/mother mode. Hazel wants to work with airplanes -- it becomes her dream.

She finds a man that she feels is a kindred spirit. Can she be both a wife and have her dream?

Harrison writes an engaging novel that comes at historical fiction from the point of view of those on the margins - who may have the most fun of all.

Don't miss this book.

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Book Title: Hotel Laguna
Author: Nicola Harrison
Publisher: Saint Martin’s Press
Genre: Historical Fiction
Pub Date: June 20, 2023
My Rating: 4.3 Stars

I went into this story knowing nothing about but was drawn to this title and cover! – I live in Southern California and ~I love Laguna Beach!

Hazel Francis, is a young woman from Wichita, Kansas who heads to California during WWII to work on airplanes at the Douglas Aircraft. However, once the war is over Hazel as well as other women now have lost their jobs to the men who have returned and women like Hazel are expected to return home to become wives and mothers. The women were expected to return to their home and tend to the children.
She finds herself in the beautiful bohemian town of Laguna Beach which is known as an artist colony. In fact, she becomes an assistant to an artist.
Story has a bit of a mystery. Hazel finds herself in the middle of some twists and turns but in the end she also finds a place to call home.

Awww trust me Laguna Beach is a beautiful place to call home. As mentioned it was known as a bohemian hippie town full of artists. Although still very much an artist colony, it is also a favorite tourist attraction. The beautiful beach is tucked into a cove; houses dot the cliff, delightful little shops, amazing restaurants that line the boardwalk. It is a quaint town and an artist dream as well as a great get-a-away. There is still the "Town Greeter’ (not sure if he is a relative but he acts the same as the original). The summer long “Pageant of the Masters’ is so unique and a must for tourist as well as locals. Still all volunteer and they never have a shortages of willing participants. Love the “The Art Festival ~ where only Laguna artists are allowed to display their work; of course, there are other summer Art Fairs!
BTW: There is a great little restaurant across the street from the Hotel Laguna called “The Place Across the Street”!

About the Author ~ Nicola Harrison - She is originally from Hampshire, England, and moved to
California when she was fourteen. She got her MFA in creative writing at Stony Brook University. Soon
after college she moved to NYC and worked in magazine publishing but after 17 years in the Big Apple
she moved back to the ‘big Orange’ aka Orange County, California. She now lives in Manhattan Beach
(which is up the coast and not far from Laguna Beach) with her husband, two sons and two
Chihuahuas. When she isn’t writing, you will find her outside with her boys probably on a paddle board,
or perhaps doing yoga.
Loved this story and am looking forward to another story by Ms. Harrison

Want to thank NetGalley and Saint Martin’s Press for granting me the pleasure of reading this early eGalley.
Publishing Release Date scheduled for June 20, 2023

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Pub date: 7/20/23
Genre: historical fiction
Quick summary: Hazel worked as a riveter during WWII, but after the war ends, she'll have to reinvent herself. Enter artist Hanson Radcliff, bartender Jimmy, and a new home in Laguna Beach, California.

This book captures the sunny vibes of Southern California, and I really enjoyed getting to know MC Hazel. I felt her frustration when her hard work during the war was cast aside, and I was glad to see her find a new path forward. Laguna Beach is another character in the story, and if you love quirky communities, I bet you'll identify with the residents. I found the book a bit more character-driven than I was expecting, and I wanted a little more plot. But it did end strong with the Pageant of the Masters, an event that stages live representations of famous paintings.

I'll continue to read Nicola Harrison's work, and if you enjoy this book, you should definitely read her last book, THE SHOW GIRL!

Thank you to St. Martin's Press for providing an e-ARC in exchange for an honest review.

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Hotel Laguna was an enjoyable read from cover to cover. There was drama, love, and human connection. I live close to Laguna where this book is mostly set and have attended the Pageant of the Masters many times. The author was able to bring the event and locale to life and to write a storyline inclusive of the pageant and the era in history where women who had worked and kept the country going while the men were at war were kicked out of the workplace as the men returned. This is where we find Hazel, a young woman from Kansas who had traveled west to work and serve her country. Upon losing her job, she ends up in Laguna Beach where she finds work as an assistant to an infamous artist. The story is a page turner, and I loved the ending. I highly recommend this book. Thank you to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for the ARC!

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I enjoyed this novel set primarily after world war 2, centered on Hazel who during the war worked on airplanes and really enjoyed doing so. But after the men come back she can’t get a job working on airplanes as the men need the work and she should just get married.

Hazel finds herself in Laguna Beach, California and meets a famous artist, Hanson Radcliff and becomes his assistant. She thrives on the work but wants to figure out the mystery of his famous unseen painting.

Hazel also meets handsome bartender, Jimmy at the Hotel Laguna who is a big help to Hazel.

I don’t want to ruin the book but this was such a delight one of my favorite reads in 2023!

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An absolutely beautiful and powerful book. I had a hard time putting it down. Thoroughly enjoyable! Thanks to NetGalley for the early read. Highly recommend!

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Thank you to Netgally for the arc.

I thought the character of Hazel was interesting. She definitely made a lot of mistakes or blunders but they never dissuaded me from liking the character. She was a human with flaws.

The passages describing artists and their passions and brilliance dragged a little for me. And I thought the scandal wasn't much of a scandal. But I guess in the 1940's it would have made since.

I was heading towards 3 stars but I thought the last few chapters picked things and made the ending enjoyed able. So 4 stars in the end!

Also, the cover is gorgeous!

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This was the perfect sunny escape for a long, cold winter! Loved the characters and setting. This definitely is a fun historical fiction read that doubled into a delicious travel fiction.

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An enthralling novel that will keep you turning pages and wish there were more. As a work of historical fiction, Nicola Harrison created a beautiful story around a distinctive element of WW2, the women who stayed stateside building airplanes for the war effort.

It’s 1942 and Hazel Francis leaves Kansas and heads to Southern California, leaving behind her childhood memories and the family of her fiancé who has already left for war. She reaches LA and soon finds herself a job working for Douglas Aircraft building planes and loving it. When the war ends and the men return, Hazel finds herself without a job or a place to live and relocates to the beautiful coastal town of Laguna Beach, an enclave for artists. Securing a job as an assistant to a renowned, curmudgeonly artist, Hazel integrates into this new community full of a wonderful cast of characters amid the beautiful Hotel Laguna.

With elements of historical fiction, romance, the creative vibe of Laguna in the 1940’s and a touch of mystery, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. The description and history of Laguna Beach is exquisitely detailed and as a frequent visitor to this seaside city, I can attest that Ms. Harrison captured its essence beautifully! You will want to make your reservation to check into the Hotel Laguna on “opening” day, June 20, 2023.

Thank you NetGalley and St. Martin’s press for the opportunity to read this splendid book in exchange for my honest review.

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A beautiful view of 1940s Laguna Beach, California, before the beach party movies and Hollywood influences. This book takes place at a time when Laguna Beach was a haven for artists and a community of acceptance for all who chose to call her home. Having lived near Laguna Beach in the 1980s-90s, I had many friends who lived there; some whose families had been there for several generations. I was interesting to read about the ocean beaches, the landscape artists, the trails surrounding the city and "Pageant of the Masters," that is still active today. The story that brought all these attributes together was interesting - a little mystery, a little relationship conflict and a little romance. Overall, a very good read for enjoying a beach of your own.

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When Hazel steps off the train at Laguna Beach she has no job, no housing but a chance encounter leads her to Hanson Radcliff. Hanson is a drunk old man with a short temper, who is also a gifted artist. Hazel finds herself willing to do things that take her out of her comfort zone in order to keep the job and stay in the town she has come to love. There is a shadow hanging over Hanson and a decades old mystery that Hazel is determined to uncover.
There was lots to like about this book: the setting, the pageantry, the ocean. Hazel I found frustrating but that is my modern brain wanting more when she is a women in the 1940s. Striking out on her own was really quite brave of her
If you want a beach read that isn’t full on romance than this would suits your needs very well.
Thank you Netgalley and St Martins Press for the ARC..

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I would like to thank St Martins Press and Net Galley for the opportunity to read this book as an ARC. I had read a book by the author before and wanted to read her new one. Also, I read a lot of Historical Fiction and the time frame appealed to me. I have read a lot about women during WW2, but not a lot about the "Rosie the Riveter" types. The book started out with a dual time line- Hazel Francis during the war, what brought her to the factory in California, a brief war time romance, and her war time job. The other time lime started after the war ended. The women who had worked in the factories were no longer needed, and many , like Hazel, had no where to go. Hazel wanders into Laguna Beach, a bohemian, artist colony type of place. She takes a job with a reclusive artist, who has a mysterious past. As Hazel gets more involved with the people in Laguna Beach( and the titular hotel), the dual time line ceases and focuses on the beach and the people she meets there. I would almost have rather it been one time line, starting with the war, then moving into the after war section. Hazel has the potential to be a really interesting character. She lets herself get involved with ( and engaged to) a man seemingly without thinking about it. She drifts into Laguna Beach, in to a job there and friendships, in much the same fashion.A few times I wanted to shake her and say" Think Hazel before you talk". The premise is good, but I felt like there was a lot more that could have been done. A lot of the plot lines were rushed, ( in my opinion) and the supporting characters not well developed. And again, some of Hazel's actions just didn't make sense. I liked the reclusive artist, and the mystery, and I liked Hazel. I just felt like there was more to read and then it ended.I think this author shows a lot of promise and I will keep reading her books.

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Another beautiful story by Nicola! She had quite the ability to get make the reader feel like they have time-traveled and are living through the story.

I loved Hazel's character. She was fierce, friendly and determined. This story kept me on my toes and immersed the entire time. I didn't want to put it down!

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I have a love/hate relationship with historical fiction. I'm either not interested in it at all or I love it. It all depends on the time period and the subject matter. Hotel Laguna takes place post WWII. Hazel Francis had left the Midwest during the war to work for Douglas Aircraft. She was a member of the workforce known as "Rosie the Riveters". For Hazel, it was her dream job, but when the war ended, her dream of working in aviation ended as well. Hazel couldn't bear the thought of heading home to Kansas, so she ended up in the bohemian town of Laguna Beach to try and make a life for herself.

My thoughts:

I loved the descriptions of Laguna Beach and the artists who lived there. The writing really made me feel like I had travelled back in time. I also love reading about places that I visited.

Hazel was a resilient, independent woman and I enjoyed reading her story about wanting a different life for herself.

The story itself started to drag in the middle of the book. It got a bit repetitive and I found myself skipping to the end.

All in all, I found Hotel Laguna to be a solid historical fiction novel. It will be available on June 20th, just in time for summer reading!

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I'm a sucker for historical fiction but hadn't ever read a piece taking place in the late 1940s.

Synopsis: WWII breaks out and Hazel Francis, who wants to get involved in the war effort, moves to California to build airplanes. But when the war (and by extension, her employment) ends, she finds herself on the train and taking a random stop at the small bohemian town of Laguna Beach. But a lucky overhearing of a conversation sets her up with a job with local artist Hanson, a depressed man who is so weighed down by guilt over a scandal 30 years earlier. We see strong, independent Hazel find her way as a newbie in this small town, doing whatever it takes to make her own money, meet friends in the community, give back to struggling artists, help Hanson close a painful chapter, and maybe even find a romantic connection along the way.

Hazel Francis was such a joy - you could feel her compassion and genuine nature through the pages, and all I kept thinking was that this woman was such a good friend and addition to the Laguna Beach community. Her relationship with Hanson was adorable and felt so fully evolved from the rocky beginning of their employment together to the deep care they held for each other. Hanson really grew on me - I started the book thinking he'd be a crabby creep, but he also evolved, let down his walls, and opened up his heart, and Hazel was the perfect person to bring that out of him.

There are so many layers to this story, different characters and stories that all come together seamlessly. "Hotel Laguna" is a well-written page-turner with a bit of everything that all readers will love: history, romance, friendship, mystery, and kindness.

Big thank you to NetGalley and St, Martins Press for this eARC in exchange for an honest review. I highly recommend this book, which will be published in June 2023.

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