What would you do to achieve ultimate peace with yourself, your purpose in life, and maximize your health and well being? Tranquillum House will help you to this place of ultimate centering and self actualization in a pristine spa setting… Sounds lovely…
Nine people arrive at the Tranquillum House in a remote part of Australia all seeking self improvement. Some want to lose weight, some are dealing with chronic health problems, and some aren’t even sure what’s wrong, just that something isn’t right. It’s a rather motley crew that doesn’t seem to have a lot in common at first. Frances is a well known romance writer with a bad back, a broken heart, and who is finding that her books just aren’t keeping up with the times. Lars is a Health Club junkie, he parties hard most of the year, then tries yet another Health Club to detox himself so he can start over when he gets out. Ben and Jessica are a wealthy couple that constantly bicker and don’t want to. Tony is just worn out. His job, that he used to love, is boring now, he needs to lose weight and find a way to enjoy life again. Carmel is newly divorced and still dealing with the sting of having her husband leave her for a younger woman. Napoleon, Heather and Zoe wanted to do something different for their family vacation and this seemed like a good option.
At first it seems like most other health resorts: tai chi in the mornings, massages, customized meals, meditation, everything you’d expect, if a little more hard core than some others, with the imposed silences and blood tests. Then they meet the club’s owner and creator of the Tranquillum Program, Masha. Masha is electric, she is charismatic, she is very, very intense. Soon, this doesn’t seem quite like a normal health spa retreat to the guests.
The book is fun. I haven’t read Big Little Lies, or seen the show, so I can’t say how it compares to the author’s most famous book, but I enjoyed this one. It isn’t going to change your life, it isn’t deep or serious, or explore the meaning of life, but it is fun and suspenseful and the characters are interesting. It’s just a little bit twisted in a fun way.
A couple of the characters do get a bit of a short shrift, we just don’t get to spend as much time with them as the others and it’s to the detriment of their characterization. Though when you do have ten characters that are all essentially protagonists it can be tough to give everyone equal game play. I think it does speak well to the author that I wanted more from those people, especially Tony, rather than to have everything wrap up faster.
I’m glad I picked it up, I almost didn’t because Rich White People Problems don’t really interest me at the moment, if I’m being perfectly honest. But this is good, and while it is about a lot of pretty affluent people, it isn’t Rich White People Problems in the traditional sense. It’s good, it’s a perfect Beach Read.
This is my Summer Read square on my Bingo Card.