Health resorts sound delicious. Days of pampering, exercise, rest, and meditation would bring a “Hell yes, sign me up today!” out of anyone. The cast of characters in Nine Perfect Strangers certainly thought a ten-day trip to a health resort would help make them healthier and happier while they transformed into their best selves. However, in true Liane Moriarty fashion, the solution isn’t always that easy.
Moriarty, author of Big Little Lies and The Husband’s Secret, explores the obsession with “fixing” oneself in her new book, Nine Perfect Strangers. Nine people – a romance author, a family of three, a former professional athlete, a young married couple, a divorced mom of four, and a family lawyer – decide to book a trip to Tranquillum House to solve their problems. Each person has a troubled past and feels his or her life spiraling out of control. They put their faith in Masha, the owner of the resort, and her team to transform them, and she rises to the occasion. Her goal is to heal them at any cost.
The ten-day stay soon turns into the health resort trip from hell. Fans of Moriarty are familiar with the plot twists and suspense that keep readers guessing throughout her books, and Nine Perfect Strangers is no exception. It’s hard to talk about the plot without giving anything away, but Moriarty does a fantastic job of weaving each character’s emotional past into this trip. She doesn’t shy from discussing tragic and tough subjects or the emotions that accompany them. The book touches on relationships and how people perceive each other as well as themselves. Each chapter is told from a different character’s perspective and hopping from mindset to mindset creates a unique thrill that keeps readers wanting to know more.
The characters are the best part of the novel. Moriarty’s characters are hilarious, likable, and (sometimes unfortunately) relatable. As their personal tragedies unfold, it’s hard not to fall in love with them and want to see their story through. It is fascinating to watch how they evolve and handle the internal trauma as well as the external chaos.
Nine Perfect Strangers is a story that is haunting, hilarious, romantic, and creepy. This is a book best devoured in one sitting with your favorite wine, cocktail, or addicting snack. You won’t want to put it down, and it will make you think twice about those luxurious health resorts. There are times where the plot seems a little outrageous, but remember, it’s 2018, and anything is possible.
- "Brynn Devereaux is a freelance writer for Baltimore OUTloud. As an arts writer, she enjoys exploring the local arts scene and bringing attention to new books and authors. Brynn is a Scranton expat and a Towson University graduate."