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  • Writer's pictureJudith D Collins

The Beautiful Strangers

ISBN: 1542040442

Publisher: Lake Union

Publication Date: 03/05/2019

Format: Other

My Rating: 5 Stars + Author Q&A March 5

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 Review

One of my favorite authors, Camille Di Maio returns following The Way of Beauty with her latest "THE BEAUTIFUL STRANGERS". Set in the legendary iconic Hotel Del Coronado in Southern California between the timeline of 1892 and 1958, the author masterfully blends fact and fiction.

From the real-life Kate Morton (a resident ghost and a real woman whose body was found on the steps of the Hotel del Coronado 1892) to Hollywood stars such as Marilyn Monroe, Tony Curtis, Jack Lemmon, and the movie set of Some Like it Hot. I Loved this book!

Kate Morgan helps her family at their struggling restaurant. Her granddad, George is suffering from Dementia. Times are tough and little time for big dreams. She and her grandfather share a love of movies. He has requested she sell her grandmother’s ring and travel to the San Diego hotel and find THE BEAUTIFUL STRANGER. He wants her to get a job at the hotel and the movie set. He discloses no other information.

With limited money and a family desperate for her assistance, she risks it all to follow her dream and her granddads. Her family does not approve. However, things soon go south, and she is guilt-ridden from letting her family down. However, she is desperately trying to honor her grandfather’s wishes. She must earn enough to buy back the ring she left at the pawn shop.

There is something from her granddad’s past, and she must find a way to connect the dots.

At the same time, she meets someone on the ferry who helps guide her, and she befriends the enigma surrounding Marilyn Monroe and slowly unravels the secrets of the past.

Switching back and forth, we meet another Kate Morgan who died at the hotel years ago. Her death was not as it appeared. She still lives at the hotel watching and waiting. Searching. How are these two women connected?

From a mysterious death, and a determined young girl with love for a better life and a promise to her granddad, she will stop at nothing until she has her answers.

A timeless classic with all the history, intriguing setting, well-drawn characters, mystery, suspense, and romance, makes this a Top Books of 2019! It has it all! Filled with humor and emotion, family and loyalty - Camille di Maio adds her own signature style to make this a must- read book for the spring and summer. (what a great beach read).

Check out my upcoming fun and fascinating interview! 💌 Coming March 5, 2019! (so good)!

What is not to LOVE? 🏖 Southern California, the Grand legendary Hotel Del Coronado, glamorous 1950's, movie stars, a mystery of the past, a ghost, loads of history, secrets, intrigue, mystery, and romance. You are going to love this cast of characters especially, Kate Morgan and her quest to find THE BEAUTIFUL STRANGER for her beloved granddad.

Hauntingly beautiful, and meticulously researched, both rich in history and character (trust me after you read), you will be Googling "Kate Morgan" and her story. A well-woven mystery. Old Hollywood meets Kate Morton and Nicholas Sparks —Suspense, history, and romance.

Having the pleasure of reading all four of the author's books, she always manages to deliver unique stories of the heart, creates magic, digs up secrets, and always some fascinating history for a perfect blending of fact and fiction. This may be my favorite thus far!

Camille di Maio

Read My Reviews: The Beautiful Strangers

For fans of Kate Morton—both Kate and Camille possess a magical talent with words, stories, and beautiful places. They both share a love of travel and architecture and reflective throughout their work and love of books— as they create memorable characters who come alive and linger long after the book ends.

Highly recommend!

PS. I would love for Camille to write a story set at our Breakers Hotel here in Palm Beach, FL. It has the glamour and the famous history of this hotel with many secrets. If the walls could speak!

A special thank you to Lake Union and NetGalley for an early reading copy. PS Honored and thrilled for the Instagram name mention! (thank you). Always a thrill to see your name jump out in acknowledgments.

The Beautiful Strangers

The Beautiful Strangers

Q&A With the Author

About the Author

Camille De Maio

Camille recently left an award-winning real estate career in San Antonio to become a full-time writer. Along with her husband of twenty years, she enjoys raising their four children. She has a bucket list that is never-ending, and uses her adventures to inspire her writing. She’s lived in Texas, Colorado, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and California, and spends enough time in Hawai’i to feel like a local. She’s traveled to four continents (so far), and met Mother Teresa and Pope John Paul II. She just about fainted when she had a chance to meet her musical idol, Paul McCartney, too. Camille studied political science in college, but found working on actual campaigns much more fun. She overdoses on goodies at farmers markets (justifying them by her support for local bakeries) and belts out Broadway tunes whenever the moment strikes. There’s almost nothing she wouldn’t try, so long as it doesn’t involve heights, roller skates, or anything illegal. “The Memory of Us” is Camille’s debut novel and is a finalist for the Holt Medallion Award for Literary Excellence. Her second, “Before the Rain Falls” was released in May 2017. Her third, “The Way of Beauty” was released May 1, 2018. The Beautiful Strangers to be released March 5, 2019 and can be preordered now. She appreciates you stopping by, and welcomes you to reach out and share a love of books!

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