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Content warnings for The Last Mrs. Parrish are provided at the bottom of this post, for those who would find them useful. You can find further details on content warnings here.
Amber Patterson is fed up. She’s tired of being a nobody: a plain, invisible woman who blends into the background. She deserves more–a life of money and power like the one blond-haired, blue-eyed goddess Daphne Parrish takes for granted.
To everyone in the exclusive town of Bishops Harbor, Connecticut, Daphne–a socialite and philanthropist–and her real-estate mogul husband, Jackson, are a couple straight out of a fairy tale.
Amber’s envy could eat her alive . . . if she didn’t have a plan. Amber uses Daphne’s compassion and caring to insinuate herself into the family’s life–the first step in a meticulous scheme to undermine her. Before long, Amber is Daphne’s closest confidante, traveling to Europe with the Parrishes and their lovely young daughters, and growing closer to Jackson. But a skeleton from her past may undermine everything that Amber has worked towards, and if it is discovered, her well-laid plan may fall to pieces.
The Last Mrs. Parrish by Liv Constantine Buddy Review
I tend to be pretty independent (and unpredictable) when it comes to my reading, and am often hesitant to agree to a buddy read. But when one of my best friends told me about wanting to read more and asked for some accountability, I figured that I could use some of that, too.
I have been struggling recently to pick up books, and when I do, I’ve gone at a fairly slow pace. Now looking back on our buddy read of The Last Mrs. Parrish, this definitely helped keep me on track, and I’m not going to dismiss the idea of buddy reads so quickly now. In fact, we’ve planned to do it more from now on — it’s a good way to keep close, too.
Since I am a literature person and Lara is more into science, we thought it would be interesting to compile our thoughts for a quick blog post/review. Our differing viewpoints will hopefully add a little something for more readers. This is slightly spoilery though, so tread cautiously.
What are your favorite/usual genres?
L: I’m not a big fiction reader — I usually like fiction once I pick it up, but I don’t often find the time to do so. It’s definitely not something I’ve been passionate about my entire life. I generally prefer the autobiographies/memoirs of celebrities and other interesting people.
G: Not psychological thrillers! Though I am getting better about branching out and have found that I enjoy them. I’m a fiction lover, and like Lara, am a fan on memoirs. I also like the occasional well-written investigative journalism or essay collection. Might be worth mentioning that I admire a good book of poetry.
Favorite aspect of The Last Mrs. Parrish?
L: Being in the head of a sociopath. It was interesting to see how some of her thoughts were actually pretty relatable, even though I would never follow through on or consider most of the ways she responds. Her wants and desires are both understandable and believable. Overall I also found it to be well-written.
G: The POV switch mid-book. Like Lara said, the sociopath perspective was super intriguing, but I had started to get annoyed with her, so the fresh start was welcome when it came. I won’t say that the events of the novel surprised me, but the switch to Daphne’s perspective did surprise me, as it came later in the story than I would have predicted and I had dismissed the possibility. Does that make sense? It felt new, even if it wasn’t.
What didn’t work for you in The Last Mrs. Parrish?
L: The pacing felt off in a few places, which made the ending less satisfying. It seemed rushed and a bit out of left field. The story could have done with some more foreshadowing because it worked so well in other places. Even with all of this, it was still enjoyable to read, but they tried so hard to put a bow on everything. I felt that they could have gone back and woven things together a little more so that they would feel more natural at the end.
There was also just a really long setup. It picked up a lot towards the middle of the book, but it took its time getting there. The title, too, seemed as if it could have been better.
G: Agreed, especially with the tie-up at the end. It was too neat to fit in with the rest of the story — it sort of felt like we were reading a different book in the last few chapters. Overall the book was tight, but began to unravel a little as it went. This is a common issue with early drafts, but I think it should have been refined a bit more before publication.
The title definitely could have used some work. While I appreciated debating the possible double-meaning early on in the book, it felt less and less relevant as the story went on and felt a bit misleading. An interesting one for sure, but perhaps used more for the intrigue factor instead of having a deeper meaning.
Who would you recommend The Last Mrs. Parrish to?
L: It’s a good book for someone trying to get back into reading. The story was straightforward and had metaphors you could pick up on, but didn’t necessarily need if you aren’t that sort of reader. It’s accessible. However, it did lack any kind of trigger warning, and I think readers sensitive to matters of sexual assault, abuse, manipulation, etc., should be aware of the content.
G: That’s a really good point about the trigger warnings. I don’t think I really knew what I was getting into with this one, and I could see it catching someone else a little unawares. I know that content warnings aren’t generally something we do with books, but we should definitely make it more commonplace.
As someone who tends to like more “literary” books (a pretentious term, but you know what I mean), I thought this one was a good middle ground. It was action and drama-filled enough to keep me wanting more and allow an escape, but if you dug deeper in there were multiple layers to everything.
Well, that’s it for our first buddy read! A good time was had, and we are absolutely going to do more in the future. Anyone else have opinions on this method of reading?
P.S. — I listened to The Last Mrs. Parrish audiobook, and it was a delightful performance.
Looking for books similar to The Last Mrs Parrish?
If you liked The Last Mrs. Parrish, without a doubt your next read should be The Wife Upstairs by Rachel Hawkins (which you can read my review of here). If you’re not wanting to stray too far, The Guest List by Lucy Foley is also an obvious choice, in my opinion. If you’ve thinking of branching out, I might suggest Such A Fun Age by Kiley Reid — it, too, follows the life of a privileged family and issues that arise, though it definitely isn’t as sinister as The Last Mrs. Parrish.
CW: Mental illness, rape and sexual assault, excessive violence, abuse (physical, mental, emotional, verbal, sexual), eating disorders, etc., suicide, pornography, death or dying, kidnapping and other events that might be consider traumatic, miscarriages/abortion