Published by Penguin Books – 7th March, 2019
Could ten days at a health resort really change you forever?
Nine people gather at a remote health resort. Some are here to lose weight, some are here to get a reboot on life, some are here for reasons they can’t even admit to themselves. Amidst all of the luxury and pampering, the mindfulness and meditation, they know these ten days might involve some real work. But none of them could imagine just how challenging the next ten days are going to be.
Frances Welty, the formerly best-selling romantic novelist, arrives at Tranquillum House nursing a bad back, a broken heart, and an exquisitely painful paper cut. She’s immediately intrigued by her fellow guests. Most of them don’t look to be in need of a health resort at all. But the person that intrigues her most is the strange and charismatic owner/director of Tranquillum House. Could this person really have the answers Frances didn’t even know she was seeking? Should Frances put aside her doubts and immerse herself in everything Tranquillum House has to offer – or should she run while she still can?
It’s not long before every guest at Tranquillum House is asking exactly the same question.
As the weather has been so gorgeous lately, one of our book club members offered her back garden as a meeting place, so armed with a bottle of cider and a packet of popcorn, I headed over to her house. When I arrived, several others were already there and to my relief they had all brought some alcohol too (I didn’t want to be the only one) and so it felt like a proper book club!
From the start, I was a little worried about the number of characters and my ability to remember each one, there is obviously the nine in the title, but also three other main characters; the author introduced a new one after you had gotten used to previous characters, so it wasn’t difficult to remember them, each chapter was written from the perspective of a different character.
I have to say that I was looking forward to reading this book, I thought Big Little Lies was excellent, but halfway through Nine Perfect Strangers, I became weary of the characters and their back stories and the story became a little far-fetched. It was a little drawn out as well, the book could have done with being a bit shorter, I found myself looking at the page numbers to see how much I had left to read.
The thing that shone through for me was Moriaty’s humour in the book, I had plenty of chuckles as I read it and Frances, the failing romantic author was my favourite character, maybe because we found out more about her than the others?
The book was described as a pyschological thriller, which I beg to differ, perhaps more a dark comedy but overall I enjoyed it, would I recommend it to friends? No, I don’t think so.
A few comments from the Book Club members:
“A lame ending.”
“It was like Masha was the leader of a cult and Yao was her second in command, whom she had completely brainwashed.”
“I felt so sorry for Napolean, Heather and Zoe, it made me realise that I should listen to my children…”
Our Book Club rating:
This is our next book, written by M.C. Beaton. The books have been made into a TV series starring Ashley Jensen – I’ve been wanting to read these books for some time, so am definitely looking forward to this one!