The Last Mrs. Parrish

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This engaging story had me captivated and wanting to find out all the answers.  I used three formats so I could keep moving - hardback, eBook and audio download.

On a scale of 1 - 5:  (not judging the quality of the topic, just the frequency)

Sex: 4 

Religion: 1

Gruesome: 1   

Suspense:  3

Morality:  4

Traditional:  4

Sex - Comments (Ch. 18) Seduction (Ch. 29) Ch. 32 - lots of examples. Striptease, masturbation, roughness. (Ch. 43)  Part 2 - Daphne's story has lots of instances, especially in the beginning.

Religion - at a Christmas celebration they have a tradition of giving three gifts to represent the gifts of the wise men (Ch. 39, ePg. 222)

Gruesome - psychological abuse

Suspense - Why did Amber not want to be in pictures?  Overall I was eager to see how things would work out and driven to keep making progress in the book on a daily basis.

Morality - Extra-marital affair. (Ch. 29)  Ch. 32 - lots of examples. Psychological abuse with a gun. (Ch. 46)  The parent of a dyslexic child ridicules them.  Several instances of casual attitudes toward abortion. (ex. Ch. 73, ePg. 385)

Traditional - there were no gay characters, but it was still hard to classify these marriages as completely traditional

Discussion Questions

The author's name is Liv.  The Dedication page has "Lynne's" dedication and "Valerie's" dedication.  Who are they and why are they given the page real estate to make dedications to others?  The Author's Note explains that two sisters, Lynne Constantine and Valerie Constantine, write under the name Liv Consantine.  What do you think of this strategy?

There are hints that Amber holds some grudges.  Hints are dropped, like at the end of Ch. 3. What did you think her backstory was?There are a few mentions of someone from Amber's past on whom she held a grudge.  The hints begin in Ch. 4 when she checks their Facebook. (ePg. 22) Who is she checking on?  Did you receive enough information about this piece of her past to impact the present-day story?  What did you think the connection was?  Did it change your perception of Amber?  Why did you think Amber was jealous of the little boy in the picture who got to go to private school and why would Amber think the parents were liars?  In Ch 22 Amber vows that she will win this time. (ePg. 126)  Did she win, in the end?

Amber faked the anniversary of the death of her fake sister.  Then, soon after, she claimed it was "Charlene's" birthday, the same day as Julie's.  (Ch. 7, ePg. 32)  Did you worry that Amber was overplaying her hand?

When Bella was rude to Amber at dinner, both girls had to go eat in the kitchen. (Ch. 9, ePg. 45)  Was it right or fair that Tallulah had to leave also?

Daphne was so intent on not allowing a stain when Amber dropped her drink. (Ch. 9, ePg. 47)  What did you think was driving Daphne's behavior?

In Chapter 10, Amber describes rich women as dressing somewhat simply with "minimal makeup, no particular style to her hair, quiet wristwatch and earrings...nothing ostentatious". (Pg. 52)  Did you know this was how wealthy women dressed?

As the first section goes on, Amber becomes more and more unsympathetic.  Not just because of the plot, but because she seems to hate everything - even the Rockettes. Amber often expressed negative thoughts as asides to the reader.  For example, she rolled her eyes at The Wizard of Oz. (Ch. 23, ePg. 127)  She seemed almost incapable of appreciating anything.  Did you have any sympathy for her?  Who did you find to be the most sympathetic character?  How did your opinion change of the characters throughout the book?

Amber was upset because she thought Jackson wanted to keep her on the side but still have Daphne - yet isn't that what she offered him? (Ch. 32, ePg. 186)

Jackson said Daphne needed to let go of the past. (Ch. 42)  It had been 20 years since her sister died.  Do you think Daphne's level of grief was appropriate?

Did you agree with Daphne's justification that Bella was a brat because Jackson was mean to her?

Jackson shaped Daphne's taste in books.  (Ch. 51)  Which books do you prefer?  Which would you read with your spouse?

If Jackson winds up in jail, then would he still need a wife to maintain his status?  Would Amber be free?  Would that make her the winner?

When Daphne passes through the neighborhood for the last time, she looks at the other houses and wonders what is really going on inside them. (Ch. 73, ePg. 388)  Have you ever had similar thoughts?

Theme Ideas

Serve apples, raisins and nuts like Amber ate when she went into New York City to study art.  (Ch. 2)
Serve coffee and tea and "goodies" like Daphne served at the meeting Amber attended  for her first visit to Daphne's house. (Ch. 3, ePg. 16)
When Daphne and Amber went to lunch to celebrate the birthday of their sisters, they had salad, ahi tuna, and iced tea. (Ch. 7, ePg. 38)
Serve red wine (pinot noir)  like Daphne offered Amber in the Conservatory when she went over for dinner.   They also ate guacamole.   spinach salad, and shrimp scampi over quinoa. (Ch. 9, ePgs. 43-45) After dinner they had coffee.  (Ch. 9, ePg. 46)
Serve grilled salmon and spinach with red wine to drink like Amber and Sally ordered at the grill with Jenna. (Ch. 11)
Serve french toast, ham and cheese croissants, and tea like Amber, Daphne and the girls had at Alice's Teacup. (Ch. 12)
Serve Christmas cookies like Jenna made for Amber. (Ch. 15)
Serve chardonnay, like when Amber went to Daphne's for movie night. (Ch. 23, ePg. 128)
Serve muscat, like Jackson served them on the boat. (Ch. 24, ePg. 137)
Serve bellinis, like when Jackson first took Daphne to his house. (Ch. 36, ePg. 213)
Serve chocolate turtles, in honor of Daphne's personal growth.

Decorate with prints of The Maas at Dordrecht in a Storm like Amber admired in the museum.  (Ch. 2, ePg. 10)
Decorate with wisteria, like Amber noticed on the arbor as she arrived for her first visit at Daphne's house. (Ch. 3, ePg. 13)
Decorate with Nancy Drew and Eloise books like Tallulah and Bella enjoyed.
Decorate with bright red dishes on "navy blue place mats, and napkin rings decorated with silver sailboats [holding] blue-and-white-checked napkins. (Ch. 9, ePg. 44)