Nine strangers come together for a ten-day self-improvement retreat at a health spa in Australia called Tranquillum House, each desiring their own unique results – Frances, an out-of-touch romance novelist; Jessica and Ben, lottery winners with a troubled marriage; Lars, a good-looking divorce lawyer; Tony, a retired Australian Rules Footballer; Carmel, a depressed mother obsessed with her weight; and the Marconis, a grieving family of three. They are welcomed by three intense employees – owner Masha and her two minions.
At first, the retreat seems run-of-the-mill, but events quickly take a turn. Each character must find their way through bizarre rituals and rules, with an unexpected climax. Relationships bloom, bonds form, and, in true Moriarty form, the characters leap from the pages, leaving the reader to feel as if she is part of the action.
As a fan of Moriarty’s work (I have read all of her books), I was excited to read this new book, and I quickly felt invested as I cheered for each of the characters to find what they were looking for. I enjoyed the story; however, I would put this book at the bottom of the list, below Big Little Lies, which, despite it’s popularity, is one of my least favorite of Moriarty’s books. In my opinion, both books had a similar feel, while others in Moriarty’s collection invoked deeper emotions with more interesting story-lines.
Ultimately, Nine Perfect Strangers is fluffy, fun, and quick, but I would not recommend it as an introduction to Moriarty. Go check out What Alice Forgot or The Husband’s Secret and then come back.