Title: Nine Perfect Strangers
Author: Liane Moriarty
Publisher: Flatiron Books
Publish Date: November 6, 2018
My Rating: 4/5
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.
Nine people attend a health resort. Each person is looking for change in their life, but Tranquillum House’s unorthodox practices are not what the guests were expecting. As their stay progresses, the guests get to know each other a little better, and they are all skeptical of the eccentric owner of Tranquillum House.
This book has a lot of characters – nine guests plus three resort staff. Multiple viewpoints is a tricky thing, and I’m usually wary of this type of book. With twelve POVs, I really wasn’t sure about this one. However, I’m happy to say that it is easy to distinguish the characters from one another and follow the story.
Each of the characters is interesting in some way. The guests are Frances, Ben, Jessica, Lars, Tony, Carmel, Napoleon, Heather, and Zoe. Frances is a writer looking to reboot her life after a downturn in both her professional and private lives. Ben and Jessica are a young, wealthy couple who are having marital problems. Lars is a divorce attorney and an avid visitor of health resorts. Tony is a former athlete looking to lose weight. Carmel is a single working mother with low self esteem. Napoleon, Heather, and Zoe are a family (father, mother, and daughter) dealing with a tragic family loss. The resort staff includes Masha, Yao, and Delilah. Masha is the owner and director of Tranquillum House. Yao and Delilah are the personal wellness consultants to the guests during their stay. Most of the book is about Frances – she rates 23 of the 79 chapters in the book.
The book starts off slow, but once the characters and setting are set, it picks up. With so many characters, there are a variety of topics touched on in this book. Some of the characters have serious and devastating stories, and some of them have more common, or even a little frivolous, issues in their lives.
Liane Moriarty’s writing style flows so easily, and makes for a quick and absorbing read. As usual with Moriarty’s books, there is a mix of humor along with the serious stuff. Nine Perfect Strangers is an engaging and entertaining read.