The Last Mrs Parrish: devious social climbing woman sets her sights on a married man, and.....
The Last Mrs. Parrish by Liv Constantine
Genre: General Fiction
Published 2017, 400 pages
This book is a Reese Witherspoon book club pick (see all her picks in the Awards list above).
Though this was a bit of a slow starter for me, I'm glad I stuck with it. This is a story of a devious, twisted social climber of a woman who sets her sights on a wealthy family man. She wants the life his wife enjoys: tennis club, fancy dinner parties, beautiful clothes and large, expensive home - she wants to BE his wife (based just from online research that she did and society paper stories).
“When we walked into the grand foyer, with a chandelier that would have been at home in Buckingham Palace, I gave him a strained smile. Did people really live this way?”
Amber is the social climber, Daphne the current wife, Jackson the desired husband. Divided roughly into thirds, the first third is about Amber and why she targets this family and how she goes about insinuating herself into Daphne's life. This section I found the most predictable and uninspired, even a little repetitive. That's usually a non-starter (DNF) for me. However, there are some hints dropped that encouraged me to keep reading. So I did.
The middle section shares more about Daphne's perspective and the developing friendship with Amber. She seems to love her husband and adores her children. But, is there something just under the surface there? Some underlying tension maybe? I felt like the story gained momentum through this section; I was more engaged. However, it continues to show Amber in an unfavorable, manipulative, lying light. She's trying to steal a husband after all.
“His weapons were kindness, attention, and compassion—and when victory was assured, he discarded them like spent casings, and his true nature emerged.”
The last part of the book was interesting and except for a couple pretty strong "coincidences" to help tie things up so tidily, it was a strong finish. There's the obligatory twist (don't want to share a spoiler, but it was pretty excellent) and once that's revealed, the story zooms along to a satisfying conclusion.
If you enjoy a dysfunctional dynamic, a little evil manipulation, or some serious revenge in your books, this is definitely your kind of book.
Reading Challenge: #BooklistQueen20 #46: written by 2 authors (Liv Constantine is 2 sisters writing under 1 name) See how I'm doing on the rest of my challenges at the menu at the top of the page.
photo via pexels.com - Karolina Grabowska