The raves are in for "The Last Mrs. Parrish" by Liv Constantine, and it's no wonder. If anything, the glowing blurbs from such literary luminaries as Jane Green, Karin Slaughter, Lee Child, and Jenny Milchman don't go far enough. The story is gripping from the start, yet when the twist occurs, the reader will feel compelled to go back to the beginning to see what was missed.
The story is of a rich and powerful man and the two women in his life. First, the reader meets Jackson Parrish, a paragon of perfection -- handsome, athletic, charming, wealthy -- through the eyes of Amber Patterson. Amber, the reader quickly finds out, is a schemer whose goal is befriending Jackson Parrish's wife so that she can ruin their marriage and take her place at his side.
There is nothing too low for Amber to do in her quest. Make up a sister who suffered and died from cystic fibrosis so that she has something in common with Daphne, the beautiful and pampered wife of Parrish? Done. Arrange to accidentally start a conversation with her at the local health club? Done.
As Amber weasels her way into the lives of Daphne and Jackson Parrish and their two darling girls, the reader will worry about what might happen to the perfect marriage and the sweet and innocent Daphne.
That's where the beauty in the writing becomes apparent. In part two, told from Daphne's point of view, the reader learns what is going on from a completely different, but also very reliable, narrator. The way the pieces mesh together is brilliant. The surprises that unfold as the story progresses are cleverly crafted.
The whole book works and meshes beautifully. It would be a perfect choice for a book club, but it's also just a great read. Part psychological thriller, part suspense, all of it impossible to put down. Be prepared to keep reading non-stop 'til the end.
Please note: This review is based on the final, hardcover book provided by Harper, the publisher, for review purposes.