By: Liane Moriarty
Published Year: 2018
Publisher: Flatiron Books
Summary (Provided by Goodreads): 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.
What I thought
Early on in Book Club History, we read What Alice Forgot by Moriarty. That kicked off a love of her books and I quickly picked up Big Little Lies and The Husband’s Secret. While I was disappointed by The Husband’s Secret, I had loved both Big Little Lies and What Alice Forgot. When Denise picked Nine Perfect Strangers, I was excited but also a little wary. I had been wanting to read it since I had heard it was coming out, but had heard mixed reviews.
Nine strangers meet at a 10 day health retreat. A few of them are there on their own, there is one couple, and one family of three. The story follows the clients through their transformative experiences, as well as the director of the health facility and a few of the other employees.
My mom was actually reading this book at the same time that I was, and she mentioned that her issue with the story was that she couldn’t connect with the characters. While I don’t necessarily agree, I can see why she felt that way. The story jumps around from chapter to chapter amongst at least 10 characters. While there are a few characters who receive more chapters than others, such as Frances and Masha, I enjoyed getting inside all of the characters’ heads.
In true Moriarty fashion, this book takes a bit of a dark turn. I think that one of the reasons that people aren’t enjoying this book as much as her others is that it starts off slow an normal. The big turn doesn’t happen until at least halfway through the story, if not a little further. Moriarty’s previous novels start with you know what happened and working backwards to see how everyone got to the end. This story almost feels like reading two different books.
I definitely did not expect the story to go the way that it went. I enjoyed this story more than I expected to. After hearing so many people say that it was slow or just ok, I expected it to be hard to get through. While I wouldn’t say it’s my favorite of her books, I enjoyed it more than The Husband’s Secret!
What Book Club Thought
Everybody loved it! This was such a fun book to talk about. After hearing so many people say that they didn’t like it, I am excited that I had a group that did. We enjoyed talking about how crazy this book was and had a fun time discussing each of the characters. A lot of the time if there’s a book that we all enjoy it doesn’t necessarily lead to a good discussion. Luckily that wasn’t the case with this book. There was so much to talk about and we had a lot of fun discussion. I would definitely recommend this book as a book club choice!