Liane Moriarty’s work first came to my attention back in 2015 when I picked up a copy of her novel Big Little Lies. I was sucked into the story right away, and ended up reading everything she had written within the space of about a week. Since then, I’ve been on the lookout for new books by this incredibly talented writer, so when I saw that Nine Perfect Strangers was available for review, I leapt at the chance to read it.
Imagine leaving your life behind and running away to a glamorous health resort for ten days of massage, meditation, smoothies, and the chance at finding the key to unbridled happiness. It sounds pretty great, right? Well, this is exactly what nine very different people are hoping to find when they sign up for a relaxing ten day stay at Tranquillum House, one of Australia’s most well-known resorts. Unfortunately though, things at Tranquillum House don’t turn out to be nearly as peaceful and serene as the brochures have made them out to be, and it soon becomes frighteningly clear that the people who run the resort have deep, dark, hidden agendas that could put the lives of all of Tranquillum’s guests at risk.
The nine people staying at Tranquillum House have all come seeking different things. Francis is a romance author searching for the motivation needed to revitalize her failing career. Ben and Jessica are hoping to save their floundering marriage. Heather has come to Tranquillum House with her husband and teenage daughter in hopes of finding a way for the three of them to work through the devastating loss of another family member. The reader is made aware of certain people’s reasons for staying at the resort right away, but others are unclear until close to the end of the story.
You might think it would be confusing to read a story told from nine different perspectives, but Liane Moriarty has made it pretty close to effortless to do. All nine characters are expertly drawn, with flaws and virtues that set them apart from one another, and each is given a very compelling backstory that does a great job explaining each of their reasons for attending the retreat. Some characters are super easy to like, while others take a while to warm up to… and others are never completely likable, but they all felt incredibly real to me.
When I first picked this one up, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. The synopsis made it sound like a thriller, but my prior experience with the author’s writing style made me think it was likely to be more along the lines of women’s fiction, and even now, several days after finishing the novel, I’m unsure exactly how to categorize it. The story is pretty suspenseful, but not in the super intense way I’ve come to expect from a mystery or a thriller. Instead, the tension builds gradually, slowly reeling the reader into a world where no one is exactly who they seem to be, and where danger could be lurking around every corner. It’s not overly scary or disturbing in the way so many of today’s thrillers are, but it’s incredibly addictive just the same.
I wish I could tell you more about this perfectly-paced story, but doing so would ruin all the fun, so you’ll just have to trust me and pick up a copy of Nine Perfect Strangers as soon as you can. It’s the kind of book you won’t want to put down, so make sure you’ve got a pretty big chunk of time on your hands before you dive in. I had so much fun reading this book, and I can’t wait for everyone I know to pick it up and love it as much as I did.
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I believe the audio of book 2 is in the works :)