During the last RCM Virtual Book Club, Catie recommended The Last Mrs. Parrish by Liv Constantine to the group. After it seemed that the consensus was that everyone was going to read it whether we talked about it or not, and after reading the first chapter, I thought why not make it the next book club pick.? And boy am I glad that we did.
Liv Constantine’s debut The Last Mrs. Parrish, is an excellent choice for any book club. Which is probably why Reese Witherspoon selected it last December for her Hello Sunshine Book. It is scandalous and highly entertaining. If you want a well-written guilty pleasure read, pick this up today. And get it in hardback. The cover is gorgeous!
***This review may contain spoilers. You’ve been warned.***
Boy, is it EVER a Page-Turner!
One of the issues that I have with most scintillating novels, is that sometimes they are too basic. Character development is done at the surface level. The prose is almost elementary. Not so with Mrs. Parrish. I love a good turn-of-phrase and Constantine had a few good ones. One stood out: “the poverty of imagination.” Constantine does not suffer from this phenomenon.
I didn’t want to put it down and, in fact, I didn’t. I read it in a four-hour stint I managed to plan for on a dreary morning. The setting was just right and all I really needed was a cozy blanket. I enjoyed every moment of it. I could not wait to see what happened next. And Constantine kept me guessing the entire way, right up to the last couple of pages.
While I’m still not sure that I completely understand Amber’s motivations, I appreciated the attention that Constantine devoted to develop each character. I felt that I could see each of them and the world that they inhabited by the descriptions throughout the book. Sometimes, descriptions can be overpowering; too much is described which can cause the story to drag. No so with this one. I was there, a fly on the wall in every scene. It heightened the reading experience.
It was Difficult to Read at Times
The story is kind of dark and very twisty. I struggle with books that deal with violence against women and reading Daphne’s side of the story was very difficult. Here, I didn’t want to feel like I was in the room. I must admit that I skipped ahead a few times because I just couldn’t stomach what was happening. And it really saddened me because I know that her scenario is a reality for a lot of women in the world. As Constantine said, “emotional intimidation could be just as unsettling as physical.”
“My Head Exploded”
On Instagram Stephenie said it best: “My head exploded when I was reading it.” This novel has stayed with me since I read it. Constantine has managed to not only write a thoroughly entertaining beach read (and it is now available in paperback) but a story that haunts you after you have read it. What lengths are you willing to go to have the life you want? I was appalled by Amber’s diabolical actions almost every other page. I’m not even sure Constantine tried to make her a sympathetic character. On the other side of that is the question, how much will you pain will you endure for your children?
Did you know that The Last Mrs. Parrish’s author, Liv Constantine, is actually the pen name of sisters Lynne and Valerie Constantine? I was not aware of this while I was reading the novel. While reading, I observed how Amber’s voice and Daphne’s voice were different from each other. The style of writing was different although cohesive and I thought that Constantine must be a fabulous writer to pull off two distinct voices in one novel. But once I did the research and discovered that two different people had written it and that each sister was primarily responsible for one character, it made total sense. Mind blown… AGAIN!
I have described Mrs. Parrish in-depth to friends, including my husband – the story was just that good. They have to be a making a movie out of this one sometime soon and we all know that the books are better than the movie. Read it so you’ll know why.
So, what did you think? Let me know in the comments and join us on Thursday, July 26 at 8:30 PM on the RCM Book Club Facebook Page to discuss. Bone up on the title before then: Discussion Guide for Book Clubs: The Last Mrs. Parrish
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