Tuesday, March 5, 2019

REVIEW for The Beautiful Strangers by Camille Di Maio

Paperback, 320 pages
Expected publication: March 5th 2019 by Lake Union Publishing

A legendary hotel on the Pacific becomes a haven where dreams, love, and a beguiling mystery come alive.

1958. Kate Morgan, tethered to her family’s failing San Francisco restaurant, is looking for an escape. She gets her chance by honoring a cryptic plea from her grandfather: find the beautiful stranger. The search takes her to Hotel del Coronado, the beachfront landmark on the Southern California coast where filming is underway on the movie Some Like It Hot.

For a movie lover like Kate, it’s a fantasy come true. So is the offer of a position at the glamorous hotel. And a new romance is making her heart beat just as fast. But as sure as she is that the Coronado is her future, Kate discovers it’s also where the ghosts of the past have come to stay. Sixty years ago a guest died tragically, and she still haunts the hotel’s halls.

As the lives of two women—generations apart—intertwine, Kate’s courageous journey could change more than she ever imagined. And with the Coronado wending its way through her soul, she must follow her dreams…wherever they may lead.

My Thoughts…

Best of 2019!   I was so pulled into this story.  I went to work and talked about it, I snuck time away from my life to read it, and now that I am finished I can’t stop thinking about it.   

The storyline of a young girl, Kate, who is looking for more out of life and with the support of her grandfather she ventures out to find all that she is missing.    I love how brave Kate is.   Even when things are not going her way she is not turned off from her goal, she pushes on, she gets where she needs to go, and starts looking for the answers she needs to find.   

I really had no idea where the story would take me.  The twists and turns of the mystery kept me guessing as to how Camille Di Maio would pull the ghost’s story and Kate’s story together.   I love how it all ended up. 

Within this amazing story the reader will find a family mystery, a wonderful romance, and the tale of a mother’s love that withstands even death.  

Add to your MUST-READ list on Goodreads

Purchase your copy at Amazon or Barnes and Noble

Hauntings, History and The High Life: The Hotel del Coronado
Gracing the Pacific beachfront of Coronado across the bay from San Diego, the Hotel del Coronado is a rare, surviving example of a lost American architectural genre: the Victorian beach resort. One of the largest wooden structures in the United States, it was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1977. When it opened in 1888, it was the most renowned resort hotel in the world.

Beyond the standard amenities of a luxury resort, like an Olympic-sized saltwater pool, tennis courts, and a yacht club, the hotel offered well-heeled guests such lavish features as a Japanese tea garden, an ostrich farm, billiards, bowling alleys, hunting expeditions, and deep-sea fishing. During World War II, the Hotel del Coronado housed many navy pilots, who were being trained at nearby North Island Naval Air Station. The hotel has reportedly been the setting of paranormal activity for decades.

A Q&A with Camille Di Maio
Here, Camille sheds light on her hallmark writing style, what inspires her and how she brings her creative ideas to fruition.

Your narratives and characters often span multiple timelines and varied epochs. What appeals to you about this narrative style?

No matter the era we live in, we are all bound by a common desire for love, success, and meaning. Writing dual narratives allows me to connect the contemporary reader to the past in a way that realizes the truth of our shared humanity.

You’ve clearly established a successful niche in historic fiction and romance. What attracted you to this genre? What other genres interest you?

I consider myself a reader first, and as I look back at the books I’ve read over the years, many of the most formative ones were historical fiction. I enjoy the combination of learning something while being entertained. As a writer, I love the research. Bringing what I learn to my readers is a dream come true for the kid who spent all her recesses in the school library.

How do you choose your locations for plots?

Traveling is my passion. I am so inspired by location and architecture and the lore of places I visit. I have a bank of ideas waiting to be written from these journeys.

Describe your creative process. How do you break down the task of writing a new book?

I am a pantser through and through. I have a vague idea of what the book will be about when I start, and generally, I know the ending. But getting there is often informed by the copious amount of research I do. And some of my favorite scenes and most surprising scenes come from what I discover in that process. I write one rough draft and then go through several edits where I strengthen the motivations of the characters, the word choices, the descriptions, etc.
Talk about your love affair with Hollywood – old Hollywood in particular.

I have always thought that writing about Old Hollywood would be fun. I’m a big fan of the classics. I think what I love about them is that they didn’t have to resort to splashy graphics, gratuitous violence and sex, and the like. They just had to have a compelling story and great, talented actors. Writing about “Some Like It Hot” specifically let me indulge in one of my favorite movies, but in a beach setting. Old Hollywood is a frequent setting in books, so this was a departure in location, while still featuring the movie stars and sets.

You frequently weave elements of mystery and of the supernatural into your plotlines. Why?

I love mystery because it keeps the pages turning. Having something to solve is engaging for the reader and exciting for me as a writer. In THE BEAUTIFUL STRANGERS, including the supernatural was a perfect fit – the Hotel del Coronado is said to be haunted by the ghost of a young woman who died on the steps under questionable circumstances in the late 1800s. I intended for her story to be limited to the prologue – sort of an introduction – but I was immediately engrossed in her voice and wanted to explore her story. It became half the book!
About the Author
Camille Di Maio always dreamed of being a writer. Those dreams came to fruition with her bestselling debut novel, The Memory of Us, followed by Before the Rain Falls and The Way of Beauty. In addition to writing women’s fiction, she buys too many baked goods at farmers markets, unashamedly belts out Broadway tunes when the mood strikes, and regularly faces her fear of flying to indulge in her passion for travel.
She and her husband homeschool their four children and lead an award-winning real estate team. They recently moved to Virginia, where she can finally live near a beach. Connect with Camilleat www.camilledimaio.com.

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