Nine Perfect Strangers - Liane Moriarty

Nine individuals find themselves trying to solve their life problems at a holistic ten day retreat in the Australian countryside, miles from anywhere. They all have a "difficult" life they want to get away from, they are all trying to bring some peace to their life, and they all entrust Masha, the owner of the retreat, to bring that peace to them. Over the first few days they all seem calmer, healthier and more focused but the truth soon becomes clear as to the dark secret behind the retreat.

I picked this up alongside Moriarty's most famous novel, Big Little Lies. I was desperate for a brand new story after doing a re-read of Handmaid's Tale so I started with Nine Perfect Strangers after reading good reviews on it. I was not disappointed, this is such an original story that I could not anticipate the ending at all and it kept me turning pages because I just needed to find out what happened next. Each chapter was focused on the thoughts and actions of one particular character, either one of the nine guests or one of the three retreat staff members. This was a nice way to split up the story, the chapters perfectly reflected the pacing of the book. When the story started to develop and the secrets started to come out the chapters were short and quick to keep me interested and turning the pages.

The characters had beautiful developments both positively and negatively. My favourite of them were Frances and Tony, they came so far and I shed a little tear at the end of the book for them. Another honourable mention has to be Masha, she was so deep as a character! There is so much to learn about her that even up to the end of the book there were secrets revealed about her that gave an even deeper understanding of the way she thought.

Going into the story I had hoped that the climax of the story would have been a little more interesting. I'm not sure why I thought someone died in this story but I'm pretty confident that going in with that expectation meant that when it didn't happen I was disappointed. That was my own fault but I did feel that the "secret" fell flat and before I knew it the end of the main story had come and gone. Without revealing the ending there was a secret as to why the guests at the retreat were feeling so well rested and so at peace with themselves, it was still a very interesting development but I felt it lacked that final *umph* to give it an edge.

I really loved this story, it was wrapped up nicely at the end and it came full circle. There was a few missing pieces for me but never the less this will remain a solid piece of my book collection until I come to re-read it.

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