Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarty is about nine people experiencing different degrees of need for escape/recovery. This is what brings them all to Tranquillum House for a ten-day retreat.
Frances is the character we follow most. She is a romance novelist seemingly at the end of her career. Her latest novel has been declined and she is reeling from a nasty review. Tony is the ex-football player who has been “moping” through life since his sports injury. Napoleon, his wife Heather and their daughter Zoe are still mourning their son/brother’s death. Jessica and Ben are recent Lottery winners facing marital issues. Carmel, mother to four daughters, was divorced due to her husband’s affair. Lars is a devastatingly handsome lawyer/retreat junkie. He is there in part to escape his husband’s wish to have a baby.
Masha is the owner of Tranquillum, with her own issues and back story too. In her quest to create the perfect rejuvenating, self-help retreat she pushes the boundaries a bit too far. The retreat begins with days of silence, no speaking or eye contact allowed. During this time, guests have been enjoying daily drugged smoothies. It all comes to a climax when they are given LSD as a means of promoting therapy, followed by fasting while locked into a room together.
This is a great read to escape; I found myself really drawn into the guests as they were developed through the book. I saw a little of myself in many of them. The book concludes with quick snippets of each character’s future. Read to find out if Masha’s therapy helped the guests or not; is she a maniac or a genius?