The Last Mrs. Parrish

The Last Mrs. Parrish - Storm Constantine It can be refreshing to note that a rewarding novel does not need to be particularly literary, unpredictable or even plausible to be thoroughly enjoyable. Reading the Last Mrs. Parrish, cowritten by two sisters under the pen name Liv Constantine, is an example of such an experience. The characters are exaggerated archetypes: pure evil and plucky goodness pitted against each other set within the backdrop of luxurious wealth and glamour. The novel is divided into three parts, the first is presented in the third person (omniscient) and focuses on the wicked Amber Patterson, a grifter who feels entitled to the riches and privileges denied her by birth. She readily admits her intentions from the beginning-to lie, seduce and manipulate her way in to infiltrate that world she envies. Amber sees Daphne Parrish as an easy mark; a woman who is pitifully trusting and naïve, desperately trying to find someone to mentor as a replacement for her deceased sister. Amber, a true sociopath, feels no remorse as she plots to replace Daphne as the wife of the superrich Jackson Parrish. The second part switches to the first-person point of view of Daphne, who then relates her side of the story as it unfolds. Typical of stories of this type, there are plenty of twists and surprises for the characters as well as for the reader. The final section reverts to third person again, bringing the two women into clear focus and resolving the drama in a very satisfying way. A healthy suspension of disbelief and a respect for pulpy page-turners would be a good way to approach (and fully appreciate) this guilty pleasure of a novel.