As soon as I saw Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarty, there was no question that I was going to read it at the earliest possible opportunity.
I consider her book, What Alice Forgot, as one of my all-time favorites, and I also really enjoyed Big Little Lies.
Nine Perfect Strangers, though, people are really split on.
In fact, after I picked up a copy from the library and shared it on Instagram, many people said they’d be disappointed in this one or weren’t sure what to think, and I started to get a little nervous.
Now that I’ve finished it, though, I don’t have any mixed feelings – I enjoyed pretty much every second of it.
The thing with Liane Moriarty books is that you just have to buckle up and enjoy the roller coaster. Because it’s always going to be a wild ride.
nine perfect strangers by liane moriarty
Here’s the storyline.
Nine Perfect Strangers starts with Yao, a paramedic who has been called into a corporate office because one of the executives has collapsed.
Of course, that executive, Masha, is sure she’s fine and doesn’t want to be bothered – there are briefs to read and documents to sign and she certainly can’t be bothered with a little minor collapse.
The story quickly leaves behind this event and jumps ten years forward to the present, where nine different people are converging on Tranquillum House in a remote area of Australia for a ten day experience that promises to change them inside and out.
It feels a little bit like a book version of Lost, where you get an inside look at each person’s story and reasons for being there, and you slowly discover more about each of those people.
The Nine Perfect Strangers are Frances who has had a successful run as a romance novelist but now seems to have lost her touch (and probably her career); Jessica and Ben, a young married couple where Ben drives a Lamborghini and Jessica sports a body that has seen every plastic surgery known to man; Lars who is ridiculously handsome and a divorce lawyer; Tony, who Frances is convinced is a serial killer; Carmel a normal-sized mother of four who is obsessed with her weight who; and the Marconis family, with Napoleon, the chatty school teacher, Heather, the quiet midwife, and their daughter Zoe who is about to turn 21.
Unlike Lost, none of these characters have intertwining lives, but they DO all have plenty of issues that they’re anxiously hoping Tranquillum House can solve for them.
Tranquillum House is gorgeous, but the guests quickly see that they aren’t kidding around – searching their luggage to take out any contraband like wine or chocolate, and immediately starting five days of silence.
I mean, all these people want change in their life, but do they really want to give up their cell phones, their chocolate stash and any conversation? Who would?
And the director of Tranquillum House is, of course, none other than Masha herself, who is, naturally, utterly transformed from the executive she was a decade earlier.
In fact, if there’s ever someone who might be able to change the lives of these nine people, it’s probably Masha.
But it’s possible that not everything is as it seems at Tranquillum House.
I am not a reader who peeks at the end of the book to see how things are going to turn out, but I was sorely tempted in this one. As things came to a climax, all my previous experience with Liane Moriarty told me I basically had NO IDEA how things were going to play out.
Like Big Little Lies, this one has that growing tension as the story moves forward and you just do. not. know. what’s going to happen.
It was the perfect book to read over the Christmas break when I could read for long stretches of time and watch the whole thing play out – it was completely absorbing for me.
I’m so curious – if you’ve read this one, what did you think?
Recently finished this book. I didn’t dislike it, but I thought her previous books were better. I thought it lacked the twists and turns of her other books.
I wasn’t sure if I would like this one because her books have been hit or miss for me, but my book club chose this one and I actually loved it! It went a little bananas but I just adored the main protagonist, Frances, and that kept me really invested. I would agree that this is a great one for when you can devote stretches of time to reading.
Ashley Anderson says
I’m currently reading it and anxious to finish it!
I just read this one over the Christmas break too and really enjoyed it! The short chapters kept me turning the pages to find out what would happen next. I loved almost all of the characters and thought Moriarty did a great job with all the different voices. After I finished reading I spent some middle of the night nursing sessions imagining who would play each character in a movie version of the book.
Ashley Pullen says
I will have to pick this one up. I just read Big Little Lies a couple of weeks ago and literally gasped out loud at the major twist I never saw coming! I love the way she writes.
I adore What Alice Forgot. This one, though, was not my favorite. I did like how she tied everything together in the end, but I felt like it took a really long time to get there. I didn’t love any of the characters. I will still read whatever Liane writes, though! She is an amazing storyteller!
I read this and was all in until about 2/3 of the way through when things went off the rails a bit but then I think she tied it up nicely. Just the part towards the end that seemed to drag…that could have been cut down a little but otherwise I found it pretty enjoyable!
Rachel @ Never Enough Novels says
I probably went into this with expectations that were too high because I just couldn’t connect with the characters and thought the story was a bit off the wall. Gives me a good excuse to go back and read her others though 🙂
Sarah - The Home Cook says
I happened to be in England when this was released over there and actually bought it – I’ve been 100% library books for years now – just to read it before it was released in the USA. I’m a HUGE Liane fan, but I definitely prefer her older stuff. I feel like once The Husband’s Secret took off and she became more mainstream, her writing suffered a bit. That being said, I loved this book. A little too much Frances, but it felt closer to her old stuff than the last few books.
I’d seen mixed reviews but I actually hadn’t read a plot summary until now. It sounds so intriguing! I’m definitely going to give it a read.
I loved it! It felt a little bonkers at times but I loved the different characters and it made me laugh and cry.
Janssen Bradshaw says
Thanks for the plot outline. The hype had turned me off but your synopsis has me adding it to my hold lst at the library!! Now for a long school break.
Janssen Bradshaw says
Let me know what you think!