Title: Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarty
Publisher: Flatiron Books
In a nutshell (Amazon):
Could ten days at a health resort really change you forever? In Liane Moriarty’s latest page-turner, nine perfect strangers are about to find out…
Nine people gather at a remote health resort. Some are here to lose weight, some are here to get a reboot on life, some are here for reasons they can’t even admit to themselves. Amidst all of the luxury and pampering, the mindfulness and meditation, they know these ten days might involve some real work. But none of them could imagine just how challenging the next ten days are going to be.
Frances Welty, the formerly best-selling romantic novelist, arrives at Tranquillum House nursing a bad back, a broken heart, and an exquisitely painful paper cut. She’s immediately intrigued by her fellow guests. Most of them don’t look to be in need of a health resort at all. But the person that intrigues her most is the strange and charismatic owner/director of Tranquillum House. Could this person really have the answers Frances didn’t even know she was seeking? Should Frances put aside her doubts and immerse herself in everything Tranquillum House has to offer – or should she run while she still can?
It’s not long before every guest at Tranquillum House is asking exactly the same question.
Combining all of the hallmarks that have made her writing a go-to for anyone looking for wickedly smart, page-turning fiction that will make you laugh and gasp, Liane Moriarty’s Nine Perfect Strangers once again shows why she is a master of her craft.
In short, it’s about a group of 9 troubled people (one married couple, a family of 3, the rest were there on their own) each with their own set of problems – lost of children, weight, marriage, self-image, health, family – all looking for the quickest way to improve their lives. In search for a solution, they chanced upon Tranquillum House, “an exclusive 10-Day Mind and Body Total Transformation Retreat”. Apparently, one can be fully reinvented by spending just 10 days at the retreat. Now, who wouldn’t want that! But things got pretty suspicious when some of their belongings went missing and one of the participant’s most prized possession was nowhere to be seen. When questioned, none of them were given an answer. What was going on exactly?
Whenever a blogger starts the review with, ‘I wanted so much/I tried so hard to like this book’ you know it’s not going to be a favorable review.
Well, for me, ‘Nine Perfect Strangers’ is one of those books. I enjoyed ‘Big Little Lies’, ‘What Alice Forgot’ and the ‘The Husband’s Secret’ (Yes, I’m quite a fan :)). So, naturally, I was really looking forward to reading and liking this one too. Unfortunately, this one, didn’t quite (just a fair bit) work out for me.
The novel is told through the eyes of all the characters involved, including the 3 staff from the resort – Masha, Yao and a small part from Delilah.
Moriarty’s sense of humor and character development were definitely the winning points of this book. It was fun getting to know some of the characters. My favorite had got to be Frances, the author (could this be partially based on Moriarty herself? It kind of felt like it was). She was a hoot! Made me want to be her friend! I also enjoyed her little secret alliance with a teenager, Zoe.
Masha, the director and founder of the resort, despite sounding perceptive and ‘wise’, was a little weird I must say. And things got really wacky when her story took over. I wasn’t sure if I should take her actions seriously or as a joke.
The plot though, I’m not a fan. It was a little far-fetched for me, and towards the end, my hope for liking this book went up in smoke. If you’ve read this book, you’ll get what I mean.
There was this part I find a little playful on the author’s side or intention, when half way into the novel, Masha, the Tranquillum House’s director asked Frances if the novel she’s reading is any good. ‘Frances thought about this. The book was meant to be another murder mystery but the author had introduced far too many characters too early, and so far everyone was still alive and kicking. The pace had slowed. Come on now. Hurry up and kill someone.’ I caught myself chuckling hard at this! I honestly love Moriarty’s sense of humor.
The novel could’ve been so much better with a little more fine-tuning. Some of the characters’ back story felt repetitive at times. And the story gradually turned out to be a little far-fetched. I don’t want to reveal much here, in case you’re planning to read this.
So is this ‘retreat’ a trick or treat? I don’t know about you, but to me, it was hocus-pocus! I’m a wee bit disappointed.
That said, will I still read her next novel? Of course! I believe in second chances! Oh! Also, apparently Nicole Kidman “took to Instagram to confirm her own production company, Blossom Films, is joining up with Bruna Papandrea’s, which is called Made Up Stories, to produce Moriarty’s latest novel” and “It’s set for release in Australia on September 18 of this year. “
Have you read this book? Did you enjoy it? If not, do you plan to read it? Please let me know your thoughts!
Till then, HAPPY READING!