Hope you’re all well! It’s been several months since I read Nine Perfect Strangers and wrote this review, but I found it sitting in my drafts so I thought I’d finally publish it.
Could ten days at a health resort really change you forever? These 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 Liane Moriarty’s writing a go-to for anyone looking for wickedly smart, page-turning fiction that will make you laugh and gasp, Nine Perfect Strangers once again shows why she is a master of her craft.
Despite being a fan of the TV show Big Little Lies, I decided that Nine Perfect Strangers would be the first Liane Moriarty book I embark on. Not only does it have an appealing cover, but it is also being adapted into a mini series starring Nicole Kidman, who also has one of the main roles in Big Little Lies, so I simply had to read it.
Nine Perfect Strangers centres on a group of 9 strangers who meet at a remote wellness resort in Australia, unaware that there is something shady going on and it’s not as calm as previous guests claim. The group includes a middle-aged singleton called Frances, who is in a bit of a slump after receiving a negative review about her latest novel; Carmel, another singleton whose ex-husband recently got remarried and took their daughters to the other side of the world; Heather, Napoleon and their adult daughter Zoe, who are all coping with the tragic loss of a family member; and Ben and Jessica, a young couple who recently won a huge amount of money and have faced relationship problems ever since. The ‘strangers’ are all different in terms of age, personalities and backgrounds, but they all have one thing in common: the desire to improve their lives.
Nine Perfect Strangers is a very character-driven novel. Usually, when there are more than a handful of characters in a book I find it hard to remember who is who, but this was not the case with Nine Perfect Strangers. Liane Moriarty has made writing a book from multiple POVs seem effortless and all of the characters have compelling stories. I was intrigued by every single one, from the elusive Masha to the disheartened Frances, and their reasons for ending up at Tranquilium House, whether it was their job or they were there as a guest.
What I liked about Nine Perfect Strangers was the fact that it is set in a wellness resort. I’ve never been on a wellness retreat myself, and I don’t know much about them other than they are meant to transform people’s lives, so it was interesting reading about Tranquilium House and its unconventional methods. Yes, there was the typical meditation, spa treatments and exercise, but the owner introduced a new protocol that was risky and shocking for the guests.
If I’m being honest, I wasn’t really feeling Nine Perfect Strangers at first. There was an awful lot of preamble and it took a while for the story to get going – not much seemed to happen until halfway through. Nevertheless, when the truth about Masha’s methods were revealed, the pace quickened, and I couldn’t put the book down. The first several chapters were also necessary for finding out the characters’ backstories.
In Nine Perfect Strangers, Liane Moriarty has successfully balanced mystery and suspense, whilst also tackling themes such as loneliness, family, grief and loss, in a gripping novel that will appeal to fans of Paula Hawkins and S J Watson.
So there’s my review of Nine Perfect Strangers! There have been talks about Hulu adapting Nine Perfect Strangers into a TV series starring Nicole Kidman and Melissa McCarthy, so be sure to read the book first – although given the current situation, it’ll be a while before we get any new TV shows that haven’t been filmed already (I think it wasn’t going to be released until next year anyway)!