Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarty
Publisher: Michael Joseph
Publishing Date: 4th October 2018
Source: Received from the publisher, thank you!
Number of pages: 448
Genre: General Fiction (Adult)
One house. Nine strangers. Ten days that will change everything . . .
FROM THE WORLDWIDE #1 BESTSELLING AUTHOR BEHIND EMMY- AND GOLDEN GLOBE-WINNING HBO SERIES BIG LITTLE LIES AND SMASH-HIT NOVEL THE HUSBAND’S SECRET
AS FEATURED ON RADIO 4’S BOOK AT BEDTIME . . .
The retreat at health-and-wellness resort Tranquillum House promises total transformation.
Nine stressed city dwellers are keen to drop their literal and mental baggage, and absorb the meditative ambience while enjoying their hot stone massages.
Miles from anywhere, without cars or phones, they have no way to reach the outside world. Just time to think about themselves, and get to know each other.
Watching over them is the resort’s director, a woman on a mission. But quite a different one from any the guests might have imagined.
For behind the retreat’s glamorous facade lies a dark agenda.
These nine perfect strangers have no idea what’s about to hit them . . .
“Nine Perfect Strangers” follows a group of totally different characters, such as a romance writer, teacher, midwife, retired sportsman and newly lottery winners at their 10 day wellness retreat. All of them check in under different ulterior motives, looking for different answers but all of them hoping to appear brand new people and to transform their lives. However, they do not expect that they are all in great danger… The owner of the health and wellness resort has something very unique in store for them…
All the characters were so incredibly human. Their stories were moving and poignant, and so very close to life. We have a washed up romance novelist Florence Welty, and it’s not only her career that is in jeopardy, but also her boyfriend has disappeared. Ben and Jessica are a young married couple who has tons of money but they don’t seem to be able to enjoy them and their lives. Schoolteacher Napoleon is there with his wife Heather and daughter Zoe, the whole family weighed down by guilt and grief. Tony, a former football star, divorced and lonely as lately he has lost his beloved dog. Carmel has four young daughter, in the course of divorce and losing not only a husband to a younger woman but also her own self – esteem and confidence. Lars is a family lawyer, representing only women. Then there are Yao and Delilah, the resort’s primary staff members, and Masha Dmitrichenko herself – a Russian immigrant who, after her near – death experience decided to change her life completely and started Tranquillum House. So many strangers, together in one house.
The group dynamics, when people with so little in common are thrown together, and then find themselves in extreme circumstances and have to interact with each other, was brilliantly captured and developed. Their actions and reactions might have been surprising, or cringe – worthy but they were genuine, coming from the bottoms of their hearts. The author’s ability to bring all the characters to life, to dissect their feelings, thoughts and emotions is simply extraordinary.
This book was a very slow burner. Very. Actually, it was the last quarter that felt incredibly fast and the tension was unendurable. However, don’t be put off by this. The author can easily and effortlessly take you on the journey and you just sunk slowly into the story and suspense. Yes, for the most of time we get to know the characters, their lives, what makes them tick – it’s a very character – orientated book, but don’t forget it is written by Liane Moriarty, so not only the characters are brilliantly developed but there are many surprises to them – they are like your friends, sometimes neurotic, sometimes snobby or silly but they just feel like friends. I think I can’t say that I had my favourite character – they were all so different, they had flaws and secrets but to be honest I think I even liked Masha, with all her extravagance and craziness – however, I missed the explanation what was hidden under Masha’s decisions. It was unclear to me. Why did she do something like this? Yes, indirectly, as we got to know her background and her story it was probably the factor but directly I haven’t found my answer to this question. What were her motives? But altogether, the characters were all so complex and so refreshingly unique and it was a great joy to get to know them slowly and gradually as the story continued.
As I have already mentioned, the group dynamics are so perfectly captured by the author. To create nine main characters, or even more, as we also have Masha, Yao and Delilah, and make them so distinctive can’t be an easy job. You are quickly going to find yourself completely immersed in their lives and stories, caught up in their attempts to heal and holding your breath at the very unexpected challenges that are coming their way.
“Nine Perfect Strangers” was entertaining and thought – provoking, refreshing and unique. Though I must admit that I’m having troubles to fit this book into any particular genre – it is a mix of a few of them, as you have a mystery, a bit of romance, suspense together with drama and funny moments. It was unpredictable and surprising, the way the story went, and altogether the slow burning, the slowly revealing layer after layer piecing everything together kept me on my tenterhooks. It was full of fun, much heavier issues and also what the hell moments and Liane Moriarty’s writing style and the way she created the story is simply superb. A story about love and hate, loss and gain, shame, guilt, addiction and insecurity that I highly recommend.