Ms. Harrison is 3 for 3 with me. I have loved every one of her books. She has the ability to really transport a reader to the settings in her book. Hotel Laguna takes us to an artsy beach enclave in California just as WWII is wrapping up. Hazel Francis a midwestern gal has moved to California to work in the aerospace industry when all the men go to war. After the war is over, she finds herself in Laguna with very little except her suitcase, a few dollars for a meal, and the need to find a job pronto. She lands a job with the moody artist Hanson Radcliff. Working with a cantankerous creative who is often drunk is a challenge, but Hazel's made of sterner stuff. She makes sure Hanson can't do without her. She still wants to know why he became such a recluse in the first place, but the pursuit of answers might make her lose the job she so desperately needs. There's a little mystery and romance to be found in this delightful story.
Thank you NetGalley for this advanced copy. This book takes a woman named Hazel as she works during the war and how she broadens her horizons after the war. I thought it was a little slow in the middle, but a great book about women set in a historical time.
Hazel Francis was excited to serve her country and support the men who were fighting overseas. She loved her job at Douglas Aircraft and was offered additional training because she worked efficiently and was a fast learner but when the war was over, she was at a loss at what to do. Hazel didn’t want to return home to Kansas now that she had a glimpse of what the world had to offer so she traveled an hour south to Laguna Beach, where she fell in love with the gentle breezes, swimming in the ocean and the tight knit artistic community. I loved Hazel’s independent streak, her love for life and her determination to make it on her own. Even though her story takes place in the 1940’s, Hazel could have been a free spirit of the 1970’s, enjoying the laid back lifestyle of Southern California.
The world had changed now that WWII was over and the eccentric town of Laguna Beach was the perfect spot for Hazel to find out what she really wanted to do. With the end of the war restaurants and hotels were back in business, fashions were changing and for Hazel, it was like living in a dream world of new beginnings, but she didn’t want her accomplishments in the aircraft industry to become a faint memory. Hazel wondered if she could possibly have all her dreams come true if she stayed in Laguna Beach with her new friends who had come to mean so much to her? Hazel felt like she was part of a big, happy family and she never wanted that feeling to go away.
A lovely historical read that speaks of the time when the men came back from the war and women no longer had jobs...or a sense of purpose. Hazel is forced to find what work she can in her new state of California, and as an assistant to a famous artist, she finds herself "not in Kansas anymore"...literally in her case.
The book is well written and full of interesting characters and is a perfect beach read...be sure to pick up her other novels "Montauk" and "The Show Gitl" and fall in love with the author's work - I will certainly recommend all three books to my patrons whether they will be in a beach bag or for reading in front of the fan at the height of summer.
I'm sincerely shocked because this book did better than I expected. At first I was thinking: oh this is just a typical historical fiction, boring, no plot etc. etc... But wow I'm so happy to have found this book. The character development of Hazel (MC) was amazing, through the story we can see a change in her, she become stronger, affirmative, confident. I love her, and love all of her decisions. Her relationship with Hansen is beautiful, and this man, at the end, did the right thing, made me cry!!!!! Don't skip this book. REALLY. I could totally see a movie from this book please do !!
I loved Nicola Harrison's The Show Girl so I knew I would enjoy Hotel Laguna. Harrison did a great job of immersing the reader in Laguna Beach, California in 1942. It was interesting to hear about a woman's side of life during WWII and the story was full of historical information. There was even a bit of a mystery involved with Hazel's employer, Hanson. Thank you to NetGalley for the Advanced Reader's Copy.
I sped through this delightful, charming, romantic novel because I couldn't put it down. The characters are well-drawn, and I loved the independent, intelligent heroine. This is historical fiction at its finest and the story was unique, like a breath of fresh air. Highly recommeneded!
Another wonderful historical fiction read from Nicola Harrison. Here, the setting is Laguna Beach, California where the rich history of this beachside artist community plays prominently into the coming-of-age story of Hazel Francis. During WWII, Hazel escapes her own tragic circumstances in Kansas City to become a "Rosie The Riveter" employee working for Douglas Aircraft in El Segundo, CA. When the war ends, she decides to stay on the West Coast, and circumstances - some chosen, some a bit more due to fate - land her in this beautiful beach town. Quirky artists, including one who employs her as his personal assistant, along with the local Hotel Laguna bartender, challenge Hazel to challenge her worldview and think about her future on her own terms. Harrison has layered in meticulous research about the area, and I loved all the detail about the Pageant of the Masters, a unique Laguna Beach art performance tradition that will be a century old this year. A layered story that will keep the reader turning the pages. Thank you to NetGalley and St. Martin's Press for the arc in exchange for my honest review. Highly recommend!
When I think of WWII books, Laguna Beach, California is not the first location that comes to mind. Ok, not even any location that comes to mind! "Hotel Laguna" is a great historical fiction story with a fantastically described setting and is a thought-provoking story about life for an American woman both during and after the war.
A beautiful rendition of a coming-of-age young woman trying to find her spot in the world, while befriending a grumpy old artist.
I highly recommend this book, and appreciate NetGalley, St Martin's Press, and Nicola Harrison for providing an advanced reader's copy in exchange for an honest review.
This book is based between 1942-1946ish during the War when women were able to work in jobs such as constructing bombers for the military. Hazel moved to CA to help and soon become part of the "Rosie Riveters." Once the war was over, she had no where to go home to, so she set off to Laguna Beach. When she becomes an assistant for a famous artist, everything in her life starts to change for the better. I ADORED Hazel- one of my new favorite characters. She becomes a pillar in the community while making friends along the way. I loved how the book ended- a bit sad (no spoilers), but the perfect ending.
I really enjoyed the story, held my interest. I think it will be a good summer read. read it in two afternoons. was hard to put down/
The story started out brillianatly and kep my interest. However, it bogged down and I had to put the book down.
I'm sure others will love the book. Just not for me.
Really liked this one! Kept me interested and it was a nice refreshing book in between the thrillers I was reading.
After reading both Montauk and The Show Girl I was excited to read Hotel Laguna and was not disappointed. Ms. Harrison has a fantastic way of drawing the reader into the lives of her characters and not letting go until the end. This story is about Hazel who doesn’t give up her dream of working on the airplanes during World War II as a riveter. All too soon, at the end of the war, Hazel lost her job and had to find a new path in life. She then becomes an assistant to a very famous painter. If you enjoy Hotel a Laguna as much as I have, give her other Historic Fiction books a try.
I very much recommend this book and send out my thanks to NETGalley for the joy of reading this book early.
Hazel Francis seizes the opportunity to move west to California after WWII breaks out, finding work building airplanes. But when the war ends, Hazel finds herself in Laguna Beach after the jobs are returned to the soldiers returning from war, with no place for a female to work by their side. On a bit of luck, she finds work with a reclusive, temperamental artist named Hanson. Hanson lost himself in Laguna Beach after a scandal 30 years earlier that revolved around the death of an actress. He hires Hazel as his assistant and provides her with a place to stay. Along the course of the story, we learn about how Hanson is giving back to struggling artists and the community of Laguna Beach without self promoting his role.
Let’s talk characters. Hazel: strong, independent, and doesn’t want the fact that she’s a woman to define her role in life. Hanson: I think he grew on me during the courses of the plot. He struggles with the demons of the past and along comes this girl who stands by him, supports him, doesn’t give up on him, no matter how angry he gets with her. Without giving anything away, about 80% of the way through the book is a pivotal scene at Victoria Beach where you really see how special their relationship has come to both of them.
Thank you to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for the advanced copy. Opinions expressed are my own. This book is set for publication on June 19, 2023. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
#netgalley #arc #nicolaharrison #hotellaguna #stmartinspress
This was a fun and quick read for me. Absolutely love the way the author intertwine the characters in the storyline. I think this will be a great spring/summer book. Highly recommend it to my book, friends in the book community and to my friends and family.
Thank you to St. Martins Press for a ARC on Netgalley in exchange for my honest review.
Based in Laguna Beach and elsewhere in Southern California during and post-WWII.
This novel follows the life of Hazel Francis, determined to follow a different path in life. First working in an airplane factory during WWII and making her way to Laguna Beach post-WWII, taking a job as an assistant and sometimes portrait model for the famous artist Hanson Radcliff.
Overall this story describes the scenery and events with great detail. A bit of mystery and some romance.
In the early 40’s, Hazel worked at Douglas Aircraft, doing her part for the war effort. But when the war was over, the women lost their jobs so that the men could take back their jobs. The women were expected to put on their skirts and dresses and go back to cleaning and cooking. Hazel was unable to find a job within the aircraft industry, got on a bus, got off at Laguna Beach determined to improve her life
I voluntarily read and reviewed an advance copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
This was a really cute, beach read, and I have to thank @netgalley for letting me read this and review it for you guys. It was right up my alley being that it’s a historical fiction, taking place at the cusp of the end of WWII, and about maybe a year afterwards. The main character, Hazel, moves from her hometown in Kansas, to CA (after her mother passes away & she has no other family left) to try & find herself. You know, what she wants to do for the rest of her life, who she’s meant to be, and all that. She settles, eventually, in Laguna Beach and learns there’s an artist living there that is in need of an assistant. And the story takes off from there.
I’m trying to do a bit better with my reviews this year, so with this one, I literally took notes as I’m reading this, so here goes…. 📝😂
* It started out really slow at first, for me at least.
* It was a little unnerving until about the halfway point in that I just did not know exactly where this book was going, or what its heart was, or purpose of the story. If this had been a thriller, I wouldn’t have said anything about this, but since it’s a historical fiction, I’ll let the cards fall where they lay. 😂
* I did love reading about the woman’s role & prospect of jobs they had during the war, as they weren’t necessarily allowed to do said jobs before, so that was a bit refreshing. Hazel went to work in an airplane factory, learning how to build, construct airplanes for use during the war, and she loved it! However, as soon as the war ended, they let her go as well as all of the other women, too. 😭
* The artist that Hazel goes to work for, Hansen Radcliffe — you seem to have a soft spot for. He can be at often times, grouchy, downright cantankerous, but underneath it all, and once you learn his story, he’s not bad at all.
* I struggled with the relationship between Hazel & Jimmy, and I wanted to kick Edward in the balls. You’ll see what I mean when you read it. 😂
* The last half of the book seemed to catch up pretty quickly, and I pretty much binge-read it. You’ll laugh, probably shed a few tears, but in the end, and no spoilers here, but I will say, it’s a happily ever after kind of story.
If you read this, I’d love to know your thoughts.
Hotel Laguna by Nicola Harrison is a treat! I love anything historical and lately have enjoyed reading about World War II from a woman's perspective. The main character is Hazel, a very independent and unusual woman for the times. The story takes us back and forth from Hazel's entry into the workforce of World War II to being thrust back into the role of a woman with no job security at the end of the war. But Hazel has no desire to become a housewife and mother. She enjoys what she does and wants to figure out how to continue being an independent woman and supporting herself. She ends up at beautiful Laguna Beach. With the cast of characters that brings such life to the story I think Laguna Beach is going to be a bestseller! Harrison interweaves true history of Laguna Beach and the women's workforce during World War II into the plot. Hazel gave us a true insight into Rosie the riveter and what it felt like to be a woman who was actually seen as something other than a second class citizen. On a fun side note I saw an article about artistic signs being painted in Laguna Beach currently. It was an effort to bring back the historical past of the area. The artist doing the paintings was actually Eve Plumb! That's right, Jan from the Brady Bunch!
I voluntarily received a copy of this book from Netgalley.