Andrea’s Pick of the Week: Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarty

Liane Moriarty is one of the most popular authors around. Besides Big Little Lies, which has become a big HBO miniseries, almost all of her other books have already been optioned for Hollywood. I think people love her work because her characters are so relatable and her stories are so clever.

Moriarty succeeds again with her latest book, Nine Perfect Strangers. The title refers to nine people who drive to middle-of-nowhere Australia to stay at a health resort, lured by the promise of a “Ten-Day Mind and Body Total Transformation Retreat!” The guests are from all different walks of life: a romance writer; a nurse-midwife, her teacher husband, and their college-age daughter; a married couple who have come to rejuvenate their relationship; a jaded lawyer. Add to that the resort staff: the obsessive resort owner, her adoring assistant, and a disaffected masseuse. Slowly, the reader learns something is very wrong at this supposedly perfect getaway, and it is entertaining to see where the story goes. Moriarty seems to enjoy making fun of her characters. Her conversational writing brims with satirical humor, and her plot, though a little outlandish, unspools itself with just the right amount of suspense.

Nine Perfect Strangers is a long book, clocking in at 453 pages, and at first it feels like there are just too many characters. However, they all develop clearly as the story progresses, and the brief chapters keep things easy to follow. I couldn’t wait to find out how their stories would turn out. The ending ties things up a bit neatly – but that’s a minor drawback for this fun, engrossing novel.

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