Review: The Beautiful Strangers by Camille DiMaio


Release date: March 5, 2019

Publisher: Lake Union

Genre: Historical Fiction


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. 


DiMaio wrote one of my favorite HF last year, The Way of Beauty so I’ve been eagerly awaiting her latest since then. When I read the blurb for this and realized it was set in the late fifties while a movie was being filmed I was even more excited and I’m thrilled to say that I loved this one just as much as TWOB!

This is told via dual perspectives, Kate as she sets out on her own for the first time in her life and the other POV is so unique and unexpected that I don’t want to say anything about it, except it was really cool and unusual. Kate was such a darling character, I was endeared to her immediately and following her to the Hotel del Coronado was a blast. DiMaio worked in cameos from Marilyn Monroe, Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis in an authentic and believable way, she truly brought this era to life and made it so effortlessly easy to envision the story.

Much like her last book this had a little something for everyone, a light romance, a stunning setting and even a light mystery that kept things exciting. Totally recommend for HF fans and even for those that like old Hollywood glitz and glam!

The Beautiful Strangers in three words: Glamorous, Dramatic and Classic.

Overall rating: 4.5/5

Thanks to the publisher for my review copy.

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