The Last Mrs. Parrish, the debut novel of Liv Constantine, is a psychological thriller that managed to pull off a twist I didn’t see coming.
Let’s back up a bit. This fast-paced novel opens up from the POV of Amber, who is, to put it plainly, an absolute nightmare of a human being. Amber’s main goal is to wedge her way between the power couple that is Jackson and Daphne Parrish. Wealthy, powerful, and admired (and envied) by everyone, Amber would do anything to replace Daphne as the next Mrs. Parrish. Through excessive lies and manipulation, she soon finds herself as Daphne’s best friend and gradually becomes more and more enfolded in the family dynamic and lifestyle of the Parrishes.
Amber was a somewhat entertaining character to read about, but I couldn’t help but feel like she lacked a certain amount of depth. Of course, she is trying to break up a family and is only after Jackson because of the life of luxury he seems to guarantee, so she is impossible to like. However, I wish the reader was exposed to more of her background story. It was interesting to see her carefully laid plans in regards to snagging Jackson Parrish as her own husband, but I was never shocked by her actions. If anything, I was only surprised by how easy it was for her to get her way.
Instead of the story continuing to progress from Amber’s POV, as I had expected it to, about halfway through the novel it switches to Daphne’s POV. Initially, I wasn’t thrilled with this new development. Daphne, up until this point, had appeared to be a rather stereotypical character sketch – a rich wife and mother with a touch of blandness. However, I soon became completely enthralled by Daphne’s story, which transformed her into a complex, intelligent, sympathetic figure.
Daphne’s story forces the reader to second-guess and analyze everything they had just read in Amber’s section of the book. In her story, Daphne reveals a dark, twisted side of her husband, Jackson, that I honestly did not anticipate at all. Reading from Daphne’s perspective and gaining a background history of her relationship with Jackson completely changed this novel in the best way possible. If this whole book had been from Amber’s POV, I would have given it three stars. Honestly, before I had gotten to Daphne’s section, I had pretty much decided that this was a solid three-star book… but this last section of the book definitely bumped it up to a solid four-star rating.
The twists just kept coming, proving that there was way more to Daphne than meets the eye. I could not flip pages fast enough to learn about what the intertwined fates of both Amber and Daphne will end up being. The drama of this book does lean towards slightly ridiculous and unbelievable, but that’s what made it such an addictive read in my opinion. I wish that the first half of the book (Amber’s section, if I’m being specific) had been stronger, but then maybe the dramatic reveals made in Daphne’s section wouldn’t have been as shocking.
Overall, I am glad that this book surprised me and proved to be a unique thriller.