Liane Moriarty is the writer of the HBO series Big Little Lies (which is an amazing show). I have read and reviewed her book The Husband’s Secret so when I saw this book on the free book shelf at the gym I knew I had to grab it.
The book, set in Australia, is about nine strangers that go to a luxury retreat at Tranquillum House for ten days. Tranquillum House is billed as a place for people to go who want to reset their life. The Tripadvisor reviews Francis (the central character) noticed were mixed ranging from a brilliant experience to people saying to stay well clear. Which at the time isn’t a noticeable point to the readers until later down the line where you can see why.
Each guest is holding a secret. Frances who has been married twice and has been recently ripped off in a scam and with a bad back wants a break. There is Lars who wants his partner but does not want to have children with him. The married couple – Ben and Jessica whose marriage is on the rocks after winning the lottery, Napoleon, Heather and Zoe a family who is falling apart after the death of Zoe’s twin brother and Carmel who wants to lose weight after her husband dumped her for the younger woman. The health spa is run by Masha who was a high flying executive who after nearly dying from a heart attack decided to quit the rat race, get fit and open up a spa to help other people change the way they live their lives. However Masha has extreme ideas for them to achieve this.
I have to say when I read the blurb I wouldn’t have bought the book. However I am glad I read it. It was a good read (think killing an afternoon or if you are on holiday) however I found the whole twist that Liane puts in there to be just unbelievable. The book I found to be a tad too long but in fairness each characters story went into detail and was ‘wrapped up’ at the end, as the danger with stories that have a large number of characters is that you lose track on where each character is. The characters stories were what pulled this book through in my opinion.
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