The Last Mrs. Parrish by Liv Constantine (just released this month!) brings to us a psychological thriller / drama written in romance genre style. Intrigued yet? This might be the book for you!
The tale is separated into two parts, the first follows the story of Amber who comes from small town somewhere, and is sick of being a nobody. Entangling herself into the lives of Daphne and Jackson Parrish, she is determined to become indispensable to the pair; a best friend turned sister to Daphne and Jackson’s one true love. Amber has ambition and no one will stop her cool calculating journey from a being nobody to being the privileged Parrish wife.
All seems to be on track to make Amber the most devastating seductress there is, until part two of the book deals us with Daphne’s account of her all too perfect life and a deep secret that will unravel the reader’s preconceived perceptions.
Liv Constantine is actually the pen name for sisters Lynne and Valerie Constantine and in many ways this helps the story progress from two points of view. Their writing styles are distinct and therefore Amber and Daphne’s narratives read differently. The twist in the plot is an excellent example of creative story-telling and certainly the psychological intrigues serve to deliver a timely and destructive revenge.
Without revealing too many details, there was a time in reading this book that the story started to lose me. Granted, I do understand the need to read as a form of escapism and certainly, this book offers such revelries. However, I could not help but doubt the actions of both female characters in this story, particularly with regard to Jackson Parrish and particularly with regard to dealing with the forms of abuse and violence directed at them. My feminist side wanted to raise her fist, fly a flag and burn a bra or two. I also wonder what the chances were that Daphne was surrounded by both a narcissist and a sadistic sociopath? Apparently it’s just her luck.
Likewise, I believe it was actually best-selling author Anne Rice who called into question the motivations of antagonists (I have no idea or good authority that this was actually Anne Rice, but I think it was on many of the chat rooms she’s visited that this came up). As (possibly) Anne Rice points out, readers often will not take for granted that someone is just evil or wants true power, instead readers want to know why. I think that this is where this book may have slightly undone for me. I never truly got a clear picture of why it is that Amber was intent on gaining her privilege to the absolute destruction of all. Nor do I understand the nature of the other antagonist in this book (who I’ll leave for you to read about), who seems to be a complete nut-job but with no picture of why.
Perhaps you as a reader do not care, for me though, the combination of uncertainty over these motivations with the lack of action on the part of Daphne in particular, left me feeling that the book read more into the romance style of writing than the thriller genre. But hey, what do I know, am I a published author?…no!
I will say that the story-telling value of this novel is definitely page-turning and that toward the end of the book I did enjoy the overall outcome.
Give this a read and let me know what you think.