Nine people attend a 10-day health and wellness retreat run by a fanatical woman determined to make permanent improvements in all her guests. That’s the general premise of the book, with chapters narrated by each of the nine guests, plus the three primary employees of the retreat. Frances is the main narrator, a 52-year-old romance writer with back pain and heartache. She treats life as one big (mostly-fun) story and enjoys figuring out backstories for all her fellow guests. I’m not going to go through each of the other characters, but they all have interesting stories and perspectives, and their lives collide in what will end up being a very memorable week.
This book was fascinating. I always worry going into Moriarty’s books after that one bad experience, but so far I’ve mostly enjoyed them. This was the same. The book started off rather lighthearted, interesting, and funny, then took a bizarre twist into very very intense. There’s a lot of crazytown going on here, but I won’t say more and possibly reveal spoilers. I was spellbound through the second half of the book, couldn’t put it down. I’m not usually one to gawk slack-jawed at trainwrecks, but I couldn’t look away from this one.
And all the conclusions…you have a lot of guests here and a huge cast of characters, and they all need some wrap-up. It was handled very well, I thought. I felt satisfied, sad, giddy, and appalled by various endings. It felt exactly right, which was just what I needed to end the year’s reading!