The Last Mrs Parrish by Liv Constantine

This is one of those novels that I have very mixed feelings about.  It was an interesting way to spend a few hours …

‘Amber smiled. All she needed from Daphne was everything.’

Amber Patterson knows that she deserves more than she has. She’s sick of being in the background, of being poor and unnoticed. Amber has a plan: she will be wealthy, and she will have power. All she needs to do is replace Daphne as the current Mrs Parrish.

Daphne and Jackson Parrish are a good looking, wealthy couple with every material possession they could possibly want. They live, with their two daughters, in a beautiful mansion in the exclusive town of Bishops Harbor in Connecticut.

In the first half of the novel, Amber sets out to undermine Daphne and then replace her. There’s not much Amber won’t do to realise her dreams. And in the second half of the novel? Well, let’s just say that Amber gets a surprise.

I have mixed feelings about this novel. I had trouble accepting that Amber’s plan could progress quite so smoothly quite so quickly. Was Daphne as naïve as she appears at the beginning? Would Jackson really be so fickle? I kept reading, wondering what the next twist would be. What I can tell you, without ruining the story, is that all will become clear by the end. Clear, but not (for me at least) particularly satisfying. I did enjoy aspects of the novel and the writing held my attention. I finished the novel wondering whether the ends can ever justify the means, wondering whether the ends were just as despicable as the means. Hmm. I’m glad that these particular characters are confined within the pages of this novel.

Note: My thanks to HarperCollins Australia and NetGalley for providing me with a free electronic copy of this book for review purposes.

Jennifer Cameron-Smith