The Last Mrs Parrish

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 16 Apr 2018

Member Reviews

A great slow burning thriller.

I love these kind of books, where, as a reader, you can see what's obviously going to happen, and I can believe it!  You can see how easy it is for someone to manipulate you  and find a way in to your life, especially in this technological age where our lives are 'out there in the world'...with all of the information anyone would need to be your perfect new best friend.

I also love a little twist, which this one had.
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Liv Constantine is the pen name for two sisters who co-wrote The Last Mrs Parrish. It seems apt (or maybe even ironic) then that I enjoyed about half this book.

It was the first part I had issues with. This part is written in the third person and features Amber. Amber is basically psychopathic and a reader would never feel even the smallest amount of sympathy for her ‘plight’. Her main goal in life is to be rich and she decides to get rich by marrying well, in particular by becoming the next Mrs Parrish.

Unfortunately for Amber, there already is a current Mrs Parrish, Daphne. Apart from being married to Jackson Parrish and, therefore, wealthy, Daphne is a mother of two girls who runs a CF charity foundation named after her sister who died from the disease. Amber’s plan is to become Daphne’s best friend and then, once she’s made herself one of the family, seduce Jackson so that he divorces Daphne and marries her. 

I think one of my biggest issues with the basic plot is Amber’s plan. It doesn't make sense. As in, surely there are some rich eligible bachelors in the States that she didn’t need to hone in on a married man. Maybe an older man that would have died soon after marriage and she’d clean up? It just didn’t make much sense to me why Amber pursued Jackson, knowing he was married to the gorgeous and accomplished Daphne, in the first place.

Anyway, this first part of the book, told from Amber’s point of view, drags. I actually think it goes for way too long and could have been at least half its size. As as reader, you get the point early on. I didn’t need the endless jealous rants of Amber about Daphne’s lifestyle choices, or her whining about Daphne and Jackson’s ‘bratty’ kids. The writing too was quite basic and boring and I began to relate to the low rated reviews of the book. I actually thought long and hard about tossing the book into the DNF pile around this stage. The only thing that kept me reading was my suspicion regarding Jackson and wondering if I was correct (I was).

Part two swaps to Daphne’s point of view and, as I hinted, it revealed pretty much what I’d already suspected. Although the revelations of this part came as no surprise, they did, however, escalate and I appreciated that from the writers. And, obviously, with the tension of the book suddenly amped up a notch, I became much more invested in the story and eager to turn the pages to find out how things would be resolved. 

The resolution was very tidy, maybe too tidy considering some of the more sinister moments described in the second part of the book but I guess the writers were trying to give us the typical old-fashioned chance to cheer on the good girl against the baddies. 

I wouldn’t say the buzz about the Constantine sisters and their brilliance is completely justified. (I actually wonder if the praise would be as forthcoming if The Last Mrs Parrish had been written conventionally by one writer.) I’m not sure if there was anything groundbreaking about the book. The second part ensured it was an enjoyable enough read though.

3 out of 5
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Amber’s new mission will involve some very daring and complex moves.  It will take all of her acting and planning skills to insinuate herself into the exciting life of dynamic millionaire Jackson Parrish. Jackson is a delicious prize worth having. No less than achieving the end goal of becoming the next Mrs Parrish will do for the envious Amber.  The fact that there is a current Mrs Parrish is just one obstacle to be overcome.   The skeletons rattling in Amber’s closet will need to be quietened but there is no need to be concerned.   Amber has it all under control.

Daphne has the handsome husband, the standard two children, the gorgeous house, the society lifestyle.  Making a new friend however is the highpoint of her year, and the delightful Amber and Daphne have so much in common.  Sitting on the board of her own created charity, Daphne devotes herself to medical research fundraising, passionately wanting a cure for the disease that took both the life of her own much-loved sister, and also the sister of the now indispensable Amber.   

The Parrish life appears to Amber to have absolutely every box ticked.  It just doesn’t seem fair for one beautiful couple to have it all.

Make no mistake, this novel is all about what the two women have in common, rather than what sets them apart.  Having a man of course in the middle of the conflict is of course not that surprising, and nor is the fact that whilst the two women are in two very different situations, they both intend to succeed with their plans by whatever means are necessary.  Its difficult to wag the finger at the bad guy here in a review without giving away major plot spoilers but you will figure that out fairly early in.

THE LAST MRS PARRISH has the reader hold in a suspenseful breath for an impressive length of time, then changes tack so that we then can then be horribly concerned about the person(s) at the receiving end of Amber’s schemes.  The two women are completely believable and whilst this book is about as far from depicting a supportive sisterhood as a story could, it will shine a light on the lengths at which a person may need to go to in order to escape a life they don’t want.  Envy and violence are at the heart of THE LAST MRS PARRISH so if you’re a bit squeamish with the details of abuse, you may find yourself somewhat triggered during the read of this book.

THE LAST MRS PARRISH would make a terrific revenge film with its glamorous landscape of the rich and privileged and the determined sociopath that is the reinvented Amber. Cross her to your peril.  Hunker down and barrack for your favourite – who that is in the novel might surprise you.
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‘Amber smiled.  All she needed from Daphne was everything.’

Amber Patterson knows that she deserves more than she has.  She’s sick of being in the background, of being poor and unnoticed.  Amber has a plan: she will be wealthy, and she will have power.  All she needs to do is replace Daphne as the current Mrs Parrish.

Daphne and Jackson Parrish are a good looking, wealthy couple with every material possession they could possibly want.  They live, with their two daughters, in a beautiful mansion in the exclusive town of Bishops 
Harbor in Connecticut. 

In the first half of the novel, Amber sets out to undermine Daphne and then replace her.  There’s not much Amber won’t do to realise her dreams.  And in the second half of the novel?  Well, let’s just say that Amber gets a surprise.

I have mixed feelings about this novel. I had trouble accepting that Amber’s plan could progress quite so smoothly quite so quickly.  Was Daphne as naïve as she appears at the beginning?  Would Jackson really be so fickle?  I kept reading, wondering what the next twist would be.  What I can tell you, without ruining the story, is that all will become clear by the end.  Clear, but not (for me at least) particularly satisfying.  I did enjoy aspects of the novel and the writing held my attention. I finished the novel wondering whether the ends can ever justify the means, wondering whether the ends were just as despicable as the means. Hmm.  I’m glad that these particular characters are confined within the pages of this novel.

Note: My thanks to HarperCollins Australia and NetGalley for providing me with a free electronic copy of this book for review purposes.

Jennifer Cameron-Smith
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Daphne, the woman who had it all. Perfect life, children, doting husband, wealth and fine living. Amber, sociopath. I fairly predictable novel, amber was so awful I nearly had to stop reading, but as soon as I got to Daphne’s side of the story, I was relieved I could continue.

Although it was predictable and I guessed after about 50 pages how it was going to pan out, it was well written (albeit a little drawn out), the topics contained within, certainly were not an easy read. .As despicable as Amber is, really... do you want that to happen to her? I think not. The latter part of the book certainly left a bad taste in my mouth, and I’d struggle to recommend this book simply because of the content.
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A great read with not one but several twists in the tale! Thank you to Netgalley for. the free copy I really appreciated it. I really did enjoy this book, it was great how it was set in 3 parts. In part one I really had no idea about what was to come! I wasn't a fan of Amber at all she was manipulative and selfish and felt Bella was a complete 'boiled sprat'. By the end of the book I was pleased that all things worked out as they should and so pleased to find out who YMB was!
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