Monday, July 8, 2019

The Last Mrs. Parrish by Liv Constantine

The Last Mrs. Parrish by Liv Constantine
The Last Mrs. Parrish tells the story of Amber, a conniving woman from a poor background who schemes to break up the marriage between a gorgeous and mind-blowingly rich couple, Jackson and Daphne, in order to nab the wealthy husband and fabulous lifestyle for herself.

The first half of this book sped by, all fun trash and uncomplicated, shallow characters and plot. It seemed an enjoyable light summer read, if one with a couple of fairly obvious plot twists. At least it looked like it would be a fun ride to watch the story unfold.

But as we all know, looks can be deceiving.

For those that caught the clues, a key problem and one character's solution were apparent fairly early, but what wasn't apparent was the degree of the problem or the degree of the solution. It's hard to discuss The Last Mrs. Parrish without spoilers, so I'll do that later with ample warning. 

For now I'll just say this book got real crappy, real fast. The way the twists played out was just bad. Sad. Made me mad. Like I'd been had. (I love rhyme. I did not love this book. I'm indulging my love to get me through the tripe, of which I plan to gripe.)

At first I bit into this literary Twinkie with pleasure, but by the time my Paperwhite said 50% was done and gone, they needed to stop hinting around the bush and move the story along (they being the pair of sisters who dreamed up this novel and jointly write as Liv Constantine). This first half was told from Amber's perspective, and was wearing thin.

Then the perspective changed to that of the wife, Daphne. We got her side of things, her backstory. I thought great, this should keep the ol' story moving and grooving and steadily improving. But before the end, I was reproving.

That's because the promise of where the tale was headed was fulfilled in a rubbish way. A wtf way. Which you could also see coming as soon as you learned certain details in the second half. And you were hoping you were wrong, it couldn't play out as you thought. And then it did, and this was not a good thing. Though I'm sure some people thought it was a good thing and were thrilled, or else there wouldn't be so much love for this book. 

Now it's time for SPOILERS, so call it day if you don't want specific details. Otherwise, scroll down a piece ...

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SPOILER time:

In the second half the book shifts to a dramatically darker tone when we learn Daphne endured severe abuse. Hints in the first half implied Jackson demanded everything be perfect, and that his wife and children were on eggshells around him lest they put a foot wrong and he explode in some way. I've seen this before in families, and it usually meant the person people had to be careful around would be difficult, angry, stubborn, unpleasant and unyielding if everything wasn't just so.

Daphne's situation was much worse than I expected, with an abusive relationship that included rape and humiliation. Then her plan to get out of it was to trap another woman in the situation? What the actual hell is that?! Even if the woman is vile with no redeeming qualities, that's not OK.

And worse, I think the reader was meant to be thrilled that the awful, man-stealing sociopath Amber got what she deserved. The book even says: "All she’d wanted was the life she deserved. It didn’t occur to her that she had gotten it." This books seemed to be saying the punishment she deserved was to be trapped in an abusive relationship! She deserved to go to prison for some of the things she'd done, but not this, and not presented as something the reader should be elated about.

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