Are you on the hold list for, or have you just finished, Liane Moriarty’s new book, Nine Perfect Strangers? The story of nine people who all travel to the same remote health spa and find their lives mixing and overlapping in unexpected ways is one book everybody’s talking about. If you are looking for a novel with a similar flavor, try one of these readalikes!
If you liked the large cast, resort-like locale, and character-driven plot – Maeve Binchy’s Irish tale, A Week in Winter.
Stoneybridge is a small town on the west coast of Ireland where all the families know one another. Chicky Starr decides to take an old, decaying mansion set high on the cliffs overlooking the windswept Atlantic Ocean and turn it into a restful place for a holiday by the sea. After the renovations she welcomes the first guests to Stone House’s big warm kitchen, log fires, and understated elegant bedrooms. John, the American movie star, thinks he has arrived incognito; Winnie and Lillian, who are forced into taking a holiday together; Nicola and Henry, a husband and wife who have been shaken by seeing too much death practicing medicine; Anders, who hates his father’s business, but has a real talent for music; Miss Nell Howe, a retired schoolteacher, who criticizes everything and leaves a day early, much to everyone’s relief; the Walls, who are disappointed to have won this second-prize holiday in a contest where first prize was Paris; and Freda, the librarian, who is afraid of her own psychic visions.
If you liked the flawed and relatable characters – The Nest by Cynthia Sweeney
Every family has its problems. But even among the most troubled, the Plumb family stands out as spectacularly dysfunctional. Years of simmering tensions finally reach a breaking point on an unseasonably cold afternoon in New York City as Melody, Beatrice, and Jack Plumb gather to confront their charismatic and reckless older brother, Leo, freshly released from rehab. Months earlier, an inebriated Leo got behind the wheel of a car with a 19-year-old waitress as his passenger. The ensuing accident has endangered the Plumbs’ joint trust fund, “The Nest”, which they are months away from finally receiving. Meant by their deceased father to be a modest midlife supplement, the Plumb siblings have watched The Nest’s value soar along with the stock market and have been counting on the money to solve a number of self-inflicted problems.
If you liked the theme of people thrown together in a remote location, with hidden backstories and rendezvous, and a connection to Australia – The Ship of Brides by Jojo Moyes
1946. World War II has ended and all over the world, young women are beginning to fulfill the promises made to the men they wed in wartime. In Sydney, Australia, four women join 650 other war brides on an extraordinary voyage to England–aboard HMS Victoria, which still carries not just arms and aircraft but a thousand naval officers. Rules are strictly enforced, from the aircraft carrier’s captain down to the lowliest young deckhand. But the men and the brides will find their lives intertwined despite the Navy’s ironclad sanctions. And for Frances Mackenzie, the complicated young woman whose past comes back to haunt her far from home, the journey will change her life in ways she never could have predicted–forever.
If you liked the darker secrets, plot developments and psychological explorations – Siracusa by Delia Ephron
New Yorkers Michael, a famous writer, and Lizzie, a journalist, travel to Italy with their friends from Maine—Finn; his wife, Taylor; and their daughter, Snow. “From the beginning,” says Taylor, “it was a conspiracy for Lizzie and Finn to be together.” Told Rashomon-style in alternating points of view, the characters expose and stumble upon lies and infidelities, past and present. Snow, ten years old and precociously drawn into a far more adult drama, becomes the catalyst for catastrophe as the novel explores collusion and betrayal in marriage. Set on the sun-drenched coast of the Ionian Sea.