3 Sentence Summary
The Last Mrs. Parrish by Liv Constantine is a psychological thriller. It follows a woman who manipulates her way into the lives of a wealthy couple to achieve the life she wants. Despite being light on psychological suspense, the novel takes surprising turns and touches upon weighty issues.
Summary Read Time: Less than 4 minutes
Actual Book Length: 560
First Published in: 2017
In 2021, Netflix bought the rights of the book to turn it into a movie. Even Amazon bought its rights and tried to spin a TV Series in 2019 but that project got scrapped.
Below is the detailed yet quick The Last Mrs Parrish summary:
In Part One, we’re introduced to Amber, a 26-year-old working-class woman from Connecticut. She orchestrates a chance encounter with Daphne Parrish, wife of millionaire Jackson Parrish, at the gym. Amber fabricates a story about her sister’s death from cystic fibrosis, as Daphne has a foundation for the disease and lost her sister to it as well. Amber is soon invited to join a fundraising committee, and their friendship blossoms. We learn that Amber moved to town with the sole intention of marrying Jackson, having researched his life extensively.
Amber’s manipulations continue as she eliminates obstacles in her quest to get closer to Daphne. By exposing the infidelity of a committee cochair, Amber secures the position for herself. After the successful fundraiser, Amber claims she was sexually assaulted by her boss and subsequently fired. Daphne sympathizes and helps Amber secure a job at Jackson’s company. The two women grow closer, with Amber attending family events and bonding with Daphne’s daughters, Tallulah and Bella.
As Amber becomes more entwined in the Parrish family’s life, she focuses on seducing Jackson. She alters her appearance and seizes an opportunity to sleep with him at the family’s New York apartment. Their affair begins, and Amber becomes pregnant. Desperate for Jackson to leave Daphne, she uses the unborn child as leverage. In Part Two, the narrative shifts to Daphne’s perspective, detailing her past with Jackson. Initially enamored by his charm and generosity, Daphne soon discovers his darker side—his controlling and abusive nature.
Daphne reveals that throughout their marriage, Jackson controlled every aspect of her life, including her diet, clothing, and social interactions. He even had her committed to a mental institution when she tried to leave him. Daphne turns to education as an escape, secretly studying psychology and saving money in a hidden bank account. When she discovers Amber’s true identity and intentions, she devises a plan to use their affair to her advantage.
In Section Three, the narrative alternates between Amber and Daphne’s perspectives. Amber forces Jackson to divorce Daphne by threatening to abort their baby. Daphne pretends to be heartbroken while secretly plotting her escape. Following the divorce, Amber and Jackson marry, but he soon becomes abusive towards Amber, just as he was with Daphne.
Daphne confronts Jackson with Amber’s sordid past, forcing him to relinquish his parental rights. With her daughters and mother, Daphne moves to California to start a new life. She orchestrates Jackson’s arrest for financial crimes and confronts Amber one last time, revealing her role in their divorce. Finally at peace, Daphne writes a letter to her late sister, leaving her tumultuous past behind.