Review: The Last Mrs. Parrish by Liv Constantine

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Harper | 2017

“What we’ve got here is a failure to communicate.” 

This quote from the 1967 film, COOL HAND LUKE, basically sums up how I’m feeling after reading this book. And I’ve never even seen the movie. The quote just came to me, as a thing I know somehow, deep from within the pop culture recesses of my mind. There’s a lot of useless information in there.

I might also go with: “…in the galaxy of This Sucks Camel Dicks!” Stepbrothers, 2008.

What I mean to say is: I wish the publishers hadn’t stuffed this novel into the psychological-thriller genre just because that’s where all the cool kids are, and had instead been honest about what this book is: a dark romance meets women’s fiction meets soap opera intrigue with a terrible, TERRIBLE message.

It’s not a thriller. I’m sorry, but no. I am not thrilled.

Had I known this from the start, I would have passed on reading it, because this level of dramatic soap-opera nutty-ness is just not my thing. It lacks humour and humanity, and is overpopulated with terrible one-liners, cliches and silly dialogue and tropes that feel like a reenactment. And the writing is derivative and basic.

Not to mention, the internal misogyny that permeates the entire theme gets my feminist hackles up.

Anyway… I didn’t know I shouldn’t read this, so I did, and now I have library late fees and a shitty review to write, so buckle in, bitches!

(This could get mildly spoiler-y because I’m going to rant, so if you’re super excited to read this, here’s my takeaway: Don’t waste your time with this, unless you’re cool with domestic abuse being legitimized. Otherwise, read on!)

First of all, this is boring. That’s the most concise way to describe it. It’s slow, with dull scenes, and so overtly dramatic in its boring elements that it becomes comical and cheesy. Ohhhhhh more rich people events with wildly cliche conversation? More descriptions of fancy clothes and designer labels and expensive underwear and boats and bikinis and hot bodies? Please, please, tell me again what else these people are spending their excessive amounts of money on!

nene leakes eye roll GIF

For the first third of the book, we follow Amber Patterson as she enacts her plan to steal someone’s rich, powerful husband. Amber is a one-dimensional douchecanoe who is absolutely agonizing to read. She’s a hateful, conniving con-artist for seemingly no real reason, other than she grew up poor and believes she deserves better…and the only way to get “better” is with buttloads of money.

She has zero redeeming qualities, not even a modicum of a sympathetic trait. She’s absolutely spiteful in her self-righteous belief that she could be a better rich asshole than all the other rich assholes. Like there’s some kind of virtue in aspiring to be the absolute worst. 

Amber teaches herself about everything that a cultured, wealthy a person would apparently know. She reads The Odyssey and becomes an amateur sommelier and learns about real estate and art and hedge funds. You’d think that someone who is that driven and smart would want to go to University and aspire to be a CEO or something, in charge of her own money, with her own power. But no, Amber just wants to be a rich wife, because that’s the kind of superficial world this book takes place in. Yawnnnn.

She’s a completely insufferable character, and you truly start to wonder what the authors were thinking in their creation of her, until the book switches over to the POV of Daphne Parrish, the woman who’s husband Amber is intent on stealing. I was honestly so relieved when I left Amber behind – I wasn’t sure how much more of her I could take.

Daphne, from Amber’s perspective, has it all. From the beautiful kids the nanny takes care of, to the closet full of designer clothes, the fleet of cars and a private chef and estate-sized mansion and expensive vacations; down to the perfect, powerful, wealthy husband who provides it all, and who is, of course, gorgeous and every woman wants him. Mr. Jackson Parrish.

Listen, Elon Musk might be able to buy himself hair but he can’t make himself hot. That’s the balance of the universe. It’s reality.

Underneath the opulence and money, however, Jackson is a controlling, abusive, waste of oxygen. There are small hints, leading up to the change in POV, that there is something dark about Jackson, but the shift in perspective brings it all rapidly to the forefront of the story, because it is the forefront of Daphne’s life.

Okay, I shouldn’t say rapidly. First, we need to get through how Daphne met Jackson, their first date, meeting the parents and getting married and going on a honeymoon and having a baby and like, every other major milestone in a married couple’s life before gasp! Jackson is really a total dick punch?! Say it isn’t so.

shocked will and grace GIF by NBC

Now…this is where I start getting angry.

Up until this point, I was willing this give this book 3 stars, call it just so-so and kind of Lifetime movie-esqe, and move on with my life. Except, it is here, in the last third of the book, that the tagline really starts to reveal it’s true meaning.

“Some women get everything. Some women get everything they deserve.” 

What Daphne deserves is to be free of Jackson. To regain control of her life, the lives of her children and move on from the prison she has been living in, even if she had “everything”. Okay, great. Agreed. You can’t put a price on freedom.

But in order for Daphne to escape her personal hell, Amber must take her place in her abusive marriage. And we, as the readers, are supposed to want this. We’re supposed to cheer this. We’re supposed to think it’s an inspired twist!

This is why the authors created such a one dimensional, unsympathetic bitch of a character in Amber. So that when Daphne’s “clever” plan succeeds and Amber becomes the new Mrs. Jackson Parrish, we the reader, say: “Yes, good! She deserves this!”

We’re supposed to want a woman to be a victim of domestic abuse and rape because that is a just punishment.

Are you fucking kidding me?

get out facepalm GIF

I could see this coming, but I hoped it wasn’t true. I kept my fingers crossed that Daphne and Amber would find a way to join forces and destroy Jackson together. I was still hoping I would end up back at a three-star rating. But noooooooooo.

I don’t care how awful Amber is, or how many heartless things she did in pursuit of her morally-bankrupt goal, this is not a thing to wish on someone. Prison time? Sure, that would have looked more like justice. But, I’m literally stunned that an active choice was made by the authors to convince readers that it’s fun and entertaining to witness an unlikable character become a victim of domestic abuse and rape.

Anyone who gave this book 4 or 5 stars really needs to examine why this “twist” didn’t bother you. I mean, if you totally loved the book, I’m not here to judge your review… but, just think about it. Because, honestly, for as cheesy and boring and soap-opera-y as this novel is, the resolution to Daphne’s problems, and what Amber “deserves,” is dark and fucked up and no one should be okay with this kind of narrative device – one that tells us some women deserve to be victims of abuse.

It’s sick.

done bai GIF

It takes a lot for me to hand out one star. I save those for flaming piles of shit. But, I’m making an exception in this case. I think I kind of totally hated this deeply.

🔪🔪🔪


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. 

With shocking turns and dark secrets that will keep you guessing until the very end, The Last Mrs. Parrish is a fresh, juicy, and utterly addictive thriller from a diabolically imaginative talent

18 thoughts on “Review: The Last Mrs. Parrish by Liv Constantine

  1. “Listen, Elon Musk might be able to buy himself hair but he can’t make himself hot” – this review is hilarious!! You have a way with words. Sounds like a real shitty book – I hate books about really rich people anyway, but one that promotes domestic abuse??? Burn it.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. You are sooooo funny 😂😂😂😂
    I’ve had this book on my shelf for long but never started it… would’ve never bought if it hadn’t shown up in a subscription box 😔😔
    I’m not even sure I should read this now, even if just to hate on it… sounds like such a waste….

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Aw, thank you! Being funny is my main goal. Number two would be honesty. And number 3 would be pasta. That has nothing to do with the blog, but, you know…

      As for the book, lots of my GR friends seemed to like it, I’m in the minority with my rating, but at least now going into it, you would know what to expect. I’m so not down with the message it sends!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Arggg started it… got bored .. not the correct word… did not like the character… Read the reviews and now know whole story…. good, I like “ revenge books ” if one could call it that. The reviewers that did not like book….. yea! I only got to chapter TWO…. some might say, “ if you like revenge, why not read it.” Cuz. I really don’t like women like that 🙀. For whatever reason I thought it was a mystery novel?

    Liked by 1 person

  4. lol. Interesting perspective. I love how you weave your words. I was pregnant when I read this one. I just kept dozing off but didn’t think it was the book. I blamed it on the pregnancy. Well, now I know better. For some reason I was really also hoping the two babes would kick Parish’s a*** and walk away whistling. Guess no such luck. Not sure I’ll be posting a review on my blog for this one.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I just finished this book and rushed to look up reviews of it because I could t believe this inane and demented story had somehow gotten into my hands. I agree with you 1000 percent. Wished the two victims had teamed up and turned tables in the monster. What a crock of shit misogynist ending! Love your review!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I also kept thinking over and over again how rich Amber could have been if she used her evidently strong work ethic, aptitude for learning, and fierce determination to do LITERALLY. ANYTHING. ELSE. I’m so glad I bailed a third of the way through this book and saved myself the agony and boredom of more of this drivel. I am also very glad I found your review which confirmed that I was correct in hating this book.

    P.s. I am also passionately in support of the oxford comma

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m clearly bias, but yeah, you were totally correct to bail. And definitely one of my biggest problems with the narrative was that a super intelligent woman uses all her brains and determination to…. steal a penis? *eye twitch* That’s gonna be a hard “no” from me.

      Like

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