THE LAST MRS. PARRISH by Liv Constantine

I need to stop with the popcorn thrillers. I find them irresistible – their intriguing plots, their largish print, their promise of hour whiled away breathlessly flipping pages. But the end result is almost always the same: it’s like the vague sickness and self-loathing I always feel after eating movie popcorn. The Last Mrs. Parrish by Liv Constantine was no exception.

You’ve read this book before. Two female narrators telling a story from two opposite perspectives plus one sociopath husband. In this case, Amber Patterson is a manipulative, obsessive woman on the run from a stormy Midwest past who has set her sights on Jackson Parrish, a very rich, married man living in a New York City suburb. Her M.O. is to befriend his wife Daphne and insinuate herself into their lives, making herself indispensable to both and then driving a wedge between them so that she can replace Daphne. She’s basically a despicable person, willing to use Daphne’s dead sister to her advantage and lying to Jackson to make Daphne look bad. But Daphne, of course, has some tricks up her sleeve and some secrets of her own.

The Last Mrs. Parrish was a decently entertaining book, but it left me feeling pretty empty. I could see where it was going before the second narrator took over. I also really hate these cruel husband books, like Best Day Ever, The Wife Between Us, Behind Closed Doors – they stress me out and make me depressed. Do people like that really exist?

If you enjoy these types of thrillers and/or reading about superrich people with gobs of money, then The Last Mrs. Parrish might be for you. There are a lot of 5 star reviews on Goodreads but a lot of 1 star reviews too. If this sounds like something you’d like, then by all means, pick it up. Just remind me to stop with the thrillers.

I listened to a little over half of The Last Mrs. Parrish on audio and it was fine. Sucked me in and got me hooked. I then got on a plane to Vegas and finished it off in print. So if you’re interested in the audio – which is narrated by Suzanne Elise Freeman and Meghan Wolf – it’s pretty good. It won’t make Jackson any nicer, though.

9 Comments

  • August 13, 2018 - 7:46 pm | Permalink

    I’m with you. My bookclub was stuck on these for awhile but I feel like they are all the same book and I get weighed down by the ugly view of humanity.

  • Techeditor
    August 14, 2018 - 6:29 am | Permalink

    Great review. I appreciate it.

  • August 20, 2018 - 5:21 pm | Permalink

    I’m so conflicted! Gobs of money, psychologically thrilling are right up my alley these days. Maybe because most of the other fiction I’m reading feels too close to fact. But, I trust you and while popcorn is good every once in awhile it has to be good popcorn. This doesn’t sound like it fits the bill. Thanks for the honest review.

    I see you’re listening to Vox! It is one of those novels that feels chillingly real and made me rage-y as I was reading.

    • gayle
      August 24, 2018 - 4:51 pm | Permalink

      Yeah, I’d pass this popcorn down the movie row.

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  • November 30, 2018 - 6:52 pm | Permalink

    Gayle, I know it’s too late to do anything about this, but referring to the husband as a sociopath is a spoiler. You did the same thing on the podcast, and I honestly wouldn’t have figured out the reveal until the second half of the book if I hadn’t heard you say that. I’m clearly less perceptive than you, Nicole and other readers of your blog, but think back to the first half of the book — Amber’s section. No reason to think the husband is anything but an innocent bystander who might be perhaps a little too easily led astray until you get to Daphne’s section in the second half.

    • gayle
      December 3, 2018 - 10:00 am | Permalink

      Nancy, I am sorry if I spoiled the plot for you. I will be more careful going forward about alerting to spoilers. It’s hard, with the blog and podcast, to offer insight or analysis without giving away some plot, especially if you’re comparing a number of books, which is what I was doing with this one. You want to provide some sort of added value beyond just teasing a book, but of course you don’t want to ruin your audience’s reading experience either.

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