Last Mrs. Parrish (Constantine)

The Last Mrs. Parrish  
Liv Constantine, 2017
400 pp.

The mesmerizing debut about a coolly manipulative woman and a wealthy "golden couple," from a stunning new voice in psychological suspense.

Some women get everything. Some women get everything they deserve.

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. (From the publisher.)

Author Bios
Lynne Constantine
Birth—ca. 1961
Where—Baltimore, Maryland, USA
Education—M.A., Johns Hopkins University
Currently—Milford, Connecticut

Valerie Constantine
Birth—ca. 1947
Where—Baltimore, Maryland, USA
Education—B.A., University of Maryland
Currently—Annapolis, Maryland and England

Liv Constantine is the pen-name of two sisters, Lynne and Valerie, who published The Last Mrs. Parrish in 2017. Born into a Greek-American family, the two have collaborated previously — on Circle Dance (2004, Rev., 2012), a novel about two sisters from a Greek American family, who, while embracing their American identity, are determined to hold on to their family's proud Greek traditions. Lynne went on to write short stories, as well as a second novel, The Veritas Deception (2016), a suspense mystery.

Thanks to technology — Skype and email — the sisters are able to live three states away from one another yet still manage to write as one to plot their novels. They attribute the dark storyline found in The Last Mrs. Parish to the hours they spent listening to their Greek grandmother spin her wonderful tales. (Adopted from the authors' joint and individual websites).

Visit Lynne's website.
Visit Valerie's website.

Book Reviews
[This] utterly irresistible novel is about a young woman named Amber Patterson, newly arrived in an ultra-rich town on Long Island Sound. The Last Mrs. Parrish pivots on an enormous and satisfying twist …the pages keep flying, flying, flying by.
USA Today

Fabulous.… I read this book in a flash, devouring every twisty delicious detail.
Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel

This terrific, noir-steeped tale written by sisters that go by Liv Constantine actually owes more to Patricia Highsmith’s The Talented Mr. Ripley than it does to the likes of Gone Girl or The Girl on the Train.… The twists, turns and mechanizations are a devilishly delicious delight. Kind of like the brilliant television show Breaking Bad, where it’s hard to distinguish Dr. Frankenstein from the monster he created.
Providence Journal

(Starred review.) The reader watches with shock and delight as Amber cold-bloodedly manipulates Daphne and Jackson.… To say any more would spoil all the twists …[and] a surprising and entirely satisfying ending.
Publishers Weekly

(Starred review.) Readers will learn that things are not always as they seem, as they anxiously await the next bombshell.… [A] captivating … deliciously duplicitous psychological thriller. —Mary Todd Chesnut, Northern Kentucky Univ. Lib., Highland Heights
Library Journal

The twists keep coming in this psychological roller coaster.… [T]his is a satisfying thriller that offers a window into the darker side of glamorous lives and powerful men.

(Starred review.) Constantine's debut novel is the work of two sisters in collaboration, and these ladies definitely know the formula. A Gone Girl-esque confection with villainy and melodrama galore.
Kirkus Reviews

Discussion Questions
We'll add publisher questions if and when they're available; in the meantime, use our LitLovers talking points to help start a discussion for The Last Mrs. Parrish … then take off on your own:

1. Start perhaps by talking about the disparity in life-styles — wealthy vs. "just-getting-by — that sets Amber off on her con job. How great are the differences in the women's lives? Amber is jealous, belieing that Daphne takes the ease and luxuries of her life for granted. Is she correct, at least in the first half of the book? Have you ever envied someone for their wealth? Of if you're wealthy, have you ever been on the receiving end of others' envy?

2. Talk about Amber's inner monologues, the ones she has, for instance, while talking to Daphne about the death of Julie. What more do the internal conversations reveal about Amber?

3. Is Daphne naive, or is Amber that convincing in her lies?

4. At what point do you begin to suspect that Amber has more to hide than the desire to break her way into the Parrish marriage? What do we learn about her past?

5. At what point, in the first half of the book, do cracks in the perfect Parrish marriage begin to evidence themselves?

6. Jackson has piercing blue eyes. Why do all fictional male hunks have dazzling orbs? Can you think of one, just one, who doesn't?

7. The book changes point of view in the second half. Were you surprised by Daphne? In what ways had you misjudged her?

8. The plot's twists and turns: did you see them coming, or were you taken by surprise? What about the ending: satisfying?

9. Inevitable comparisons are being made to Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train. How does this one stack up?

(Questions by LitLovers. Please feel free to use them, online or off, with attribution. Thanks.)

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