Book Review: Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarty

Nine Perfect Strangers is a mystery novel by Liane Moriarty that explores the psychological struggles of a group of people who attend a wellness retreat. The novel follows the story of nine strangers who arrive at Tranquillum House, a remote health resort, each with their own reasons for seeking a retreat. However, their expectations are quickly shattered when they realize that the resort’s director, Masha, has a very unconventional approach to healing.

The novel is narrated from the perspectives of the nine characters, giving the reader an intimate look at their inner thoughts and struggles. Each character has a unique personality and backstory, making them interesting and relatable. From a grieving family to a struggling romance author, Moriarty creates a diverse cast of characters that the reader can empathize with.

The novel is also a locked-room mystery, as the characters are isolated in the remote health resort, making it impossible for them to leave or contact the outside world. The tension slowly builds as the characters begin to suspect that something is not quite right at Tranquillum House, and they find themselves caught up in a dangerous situation they can’t escape from.

One of the strengths of the novel is Moriarty’s writing style. She has a way of creating a vivid and engaging setting, bringing the tranquil and serene nature of the health resort to life. The interactions between the characters are also well-written, with moments of humor and insight that make the story more engaging.

The exploration of the theme of healing and personal growth is another strength of the novel. Moriarty does an excellent job of showing how the characters’ experiences at the health resort challenge their preconceptions and lead them to grow in unexpected ways. However, the darker side of the retreat and Masha’s methods also raises important questions about the ethics of the wellness industry, and whether the pursuit of self-improvement can sometimes become toxic.

While the novel is a gripping read with well-drawn characters, there are a few weaknesses to note. The pacing of the novel is slow at times, with some readers finding the middle portion of the book to be sluggish. Additionally, the resolution of the locked-room mystery and the fate of some of the characters may be unsatisfying for some readers.

In conclusion, Nine Perfect Strangers is a well-written locked-room mystery with a unique twist. Moriarty’s exploration of the themes of healing and personal growth is engaging, and the characters are well-developed and relatable. However, the pacing may be slow at times, and the resolution of the mystery may not be satisfying for all readers. Nonetheless, it is a worthwhile read for fans of mystery and psychological thrillers.


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