Nine Perfect Strangers Audio CD – Unabridged
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"Room to Breathe" by Liz Talley
A funny, emotional novel full of southern charm about a mother and daughter ready to start over. | Learn more
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- Language : English
- ISBN-10 : 1489460519
- ISBN-13 : 978-1489460516
- Item Weight : 6.3 ounces
- Dimensions : 5.2 x 0.55 x 4.8 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #1,238,000 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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Top reviews from the United States
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Sheer heaven, the strangers anticipate, until they learn the strict rules they must obey during their stay. No electronics; no talking; no alcohol and almost no food, Masha, the owner, makes clear. Is this a health spa or psychological warfare, the guests wonder, as they are stripped of all contraband.
As the strangers interact during their first couple days, Lianne Moriarty has me smirking. She confirms my pathological fear of whole-body wellness spas. Why anyone would pay a small fortune for ten days of misery has always intrigued me, and I discover that many of the Tranquillum House guests are asking the same questions. Their stories emerge, often through internal dialogue, and it is no surprise to me that each character is in crisis of some degree.
And then things get weird, as the saying goes; I could hardly wait to find out what happens next (and next). The tension continues to build, and - boom - the suspense drops like a heavy weight in what I call Book Two. I quickly became bored by the characters and the outlandish plot. Frances in particular gets on my last nerve as she whines with each retelling of her past. I DON’T CARE became my internal dialogue. Determined to reach the denouement, I used my ancient Evelyn Wood speed reading expertise to skim through 200 pages.
This book has such great potential for an entertaining read. Until Book Two, I loved the characters and their siege-like situation. The dark humor had me laughing, and my fear and loathing of wellness centers was vindicated. Lianne Moriarty seemed to have lost her way somewhere in the middle of her story. At certain points, I thought there were too many characters; in others, I wanted new ones to stimulate my interest. Lianne Moriarty can do much better.
One of the great achievements of this book is the way Moriarty gradually introduces all the characters, so there is no confusion between them. No mean feat when you are dealing with nine guests, and at least 3 members of staff, all flung together.
For some reason, this book reminded me of Agatha Christie, with the different characters bonding in an artificial environment. However, there is no real comparison, I'm just curious whether anyone else saw this as well!
The story is about nine people (who incidentally are not perfect strangers - two pairs are married couples and one is someone's child) who go to stay at an upmarket health & wellness retreat for a 10 day transformational cleanse. Over the first half of the book we gradually get to know them all and the emotional baggage that they have brought with them: failing relationships, failing careers, bereavement, personal dilemmas. It's all quite enjoyable to read, but it moves slowly. There's a lot about their daily routine - walks, clean food, spa treatments - and I had no sense of where the book was going or what the point of it was.
At about the halfway mark, that all falls into place as we finally understand the unusual intentions and methods employed by the spa's director. The second half is faster paced and we get to know all the participants very well - it's one of those books where everyone gets an epiphany - but what happens feels way too silly and I didn't find anything from this point on terribly interesting.
So I don't really recommend it, but having said that it's a long book (almost 500 pages) and I read it in two days. So it's not a complete mess. I love the way that Liane writes and as always she has chosen some topical themes to explore. But the book needed more shape and it definitely needed a stronger storyline to sustain it.
So why only 4 stars? I found the story line a bit disappointing. Things happened and characters changed, but it wasn't as profound as I had expected.
Still, a thoroughly enjoyable book. Don't miss out on it just because it's not "Big Little Lies".
Top reviews from other countries
It reads like a v v weak Agatha Christie. The characters are so obvious I almost predicted everybody's background and then as the events unfolded I began to laugh at it. How ridiculous and forced the health resort was and the character of Masha was almost comic.
Sorry Ms Moriarty.....' Can do better'