Tag Archives: General Fiction

Review: Nine Perfect Strangers

Nine Perfect Strangers
Nine Perfect Strangers
By Liane Moriarty
Flatiron Books, 9781250069832, October 2019, 464pp.

The Short of It:

Kept me engaged. Didn’t mind the entertainment value one bit.

The Rest of It:

Tranquillum House is the end all, be all destination retreat for those needing a fresh start. Boasting beautiful outdoor spaces, custom meal plans, massages, meditation, and relaxation, its high price doesn’t deter those in need of transformation and that is what Tranquillum House and Masha, its extravagant guide promises.

Frances is on the verge of being a washed-up romance writer. Her back hurts, she could lose a few pounds. She needs a jumpstart on life. Others are there to save their marriage, their family, or recover from grief and loss. All of them strangers, there by choice yet they didn’t quite understand what they signed up for because once they arrive, they are told not to speak, not to even look at one another. There is forced meditation, fasts, and some more extreme measures taken to truly transform them.

In the beginning, ten days doesn’t seem like a lot. They can deal with anything for ten days but then Masha and her small staff push the boundaries of what’s appropriate.

Of all the Moriarty books, this one has probably gotten the most lukewarm reviews but I enjoyed it. There was just enough quirk in these characters to keep me interested and there is a bit of a mystery as to how it will all end for these nine guests. At nearly 500 pages it held my interest the entire time. I read it with one of my previous students and we both blew through it.

Recommend.

Source: Borrowed
Disclosure: This post contains Indiebound affiliate links.

Review: The Paper Palace

The Paper Palace

The Paper Palace
By Miranda Cowley Heller
Riverhead Books, 9780593329825, July 6, 2021, 400pp.

The Short of It:

Layered and rich. This story grabs you and holds you.

The Rest of It:

Elle returns with her family to The Paper Palace. It’s the summer home of her youth that she has visited every summer of her life, but this particular summer morning, she wakes to the fact that the night before, after a few drinks and memories from her youth take hold, she hooked up with her childhood friend Jonas,  while her family, innocently, gathered in another room.

Elle is happily married to Peter. Truly. He is funny, and loving, and dependable and a good father to their children but the bond that she has with Jonas goes way back, way back to earlier summers where they both shared a secret that ultimately affected Elle’s entire life. The story is told in the past and present, alternating between young Elle and married Elle and as the secret comes to light, things get tense. How can you right a wrong so many years later?

I didn’t know anything about this story when I picked it up. It was a Reese Book Club pick and I went in blind. I have had a lot of luck with her picks. The Paper Palace was no exception except, don’t let that pastel cover fool you. It opened in a kind of smutty way, for lack of a better word and then got pretty gritty. You should know, there are triggers in this story for anyone who suffered from sexual abuse in the past.

That said, this story held me captive. I thought I’d read a chapter here and there but I blew through it in a day. It’s complex. The characters are imperfect but their demons are real. It has secrets and moral dilemmas and gives you a lot to consider. I must say, the mother/daughter dynamics are very well-done here.

I can’t say I loved this book because the subject matter is tough but it’s a very good read and superbly written. Highly recommend.

Source: Borrowed
Disclosure: This post contains Indiebound affiliate links.