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The Last Mrs. Parrish

Recap, Summary & Spoilers

The Full Book Recap and Chapter-by-Chapter Summary for The Last Mrs. Parrish by Liv Constantine are below.

Quick(-ish) Recap

In Part I, Amber is a woman with humble beginnings who has her eyes set on seducing Jackson Parrish, who owns a Fortune 500 company. She's researched and studied him thoroughly for two years. When the book opens, Amber befriends his wife Daphne by pretending to also have a sister who died from cystic fibrosis and offering to volunteer for the CF foundation that Daphne runs.

Amber and Daphne's friendship grows over time, with Amber meeting Daphne's kids and becoming the co-chair for a big silent auction that the foundation, Julie's Smile, is holding. However, while Daphne is trusting and easy to get close to, Jackson remains another matter. He is enamored with his wife and continues to show no interest in Amber. Amber also works on winning over their two daughters.

Soon, Amber lies to Daphne about her boss making unwanted sexual advances and her getting fired because of it, and Daphne gets Amber a job at Jackson's company as his second assistant. Amber then sets on convincing his first assistant, an older woman named Mrs. Battley, to retire by spiking her coffee to make her think she is becoming mentally slower and disoriented. After three months, the woman resigns.

Amber eventually gets promoted to first assistant, and she starts learning more about Daphne and Jackson's marriage. Notably, she finds out that Jackson always wanted a son. As she spends more time with Jackson, she manages to seduce him into starting an affair with her. Finally, she gets pregnant with a son, and Jackson agrees to try to leave his wife for her.

In Part II, we learn that Daphne has ben miserable in this marriage and wanted out for a long time. Daphne describes how she fell for Jackson because he took an interest in her foundation, and he swept her off her feet. He also stayed by her side when her father had a heart attack. They married shortly after, but soon after he starts trying to emotionally intimidate her. After they have their first child, things get significantly worse as he tries to break her down and harasses her about her weight.

Afterwards, Daphne tried to leave Jackson, but he'd already had a judge declare her as depressed and a danger to her child. Jackson had her put in a mental health facility and told her she needed to behave or he'd put her back there. He also forced her to keep seeing a therapist who was a friend of his and whose notes will say whatever Jackson wants them. Bella was eventually born, and Jackson continued to exercise control over the whole family.

Daphne stops fighting back until she meets and befriends Amber. The friendship is real up until Meredith reveals that Amber isn't her real name. Daphne finally gets suspicious and hires a private detective to look into Amber and learns the truth about her past as Lana Crumb. From there, she sets about creating circumstances to allow Jackson to cheat on her with Amber.

In Part III, Jackson tells Daphne that he's leaving her for Amber, and Daphne pretends to be upset. Jackson and Amber get married, and the baby boy is born. Daphne ends up with millions in the divorce and gets custody over the kids, however. Jackson still has visitation rights. Daphne reveals the truth about Amber to Jackson and threatens to reveal the truth about her being a wanted criminal unless he gives up his visitation rights. Once he knows the truth, Jackson is terrible to Amber. Daphne's mother relocates to SoCal to be with her and the kids.

The book ends with Daphne visiting Jackson one last time to let him know that the new assistant he hired after Amber was actually working with her to give information to the Federal authorities about his illegal offshore accounts. The FBI then comes to raid his office and arrest him. Daphne pays Amber one last visit to tell her that she engineered this situation after learning that Amber falsely accused someone of rape because he wouldn't marry her. That man ended up in prison for two years and was beaten during that time and is now wheelchair-bound. Amber is unapologetic. Daphne then leaves.

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Chapter-by-Chapter Summary

Part I (Amber)
Part II (Daphne)
Part III

Part I (Amber)

Chapter 1

Amber Patterson has been coming to the gym every day for three months.

Today, she approaches Daphne Parrish and strikes up a conversation about Cystic Fibrosis when she sees a magazine the woman is holding. Daphne says her sister Julie died of the disease twenty years ago, at the age of 16. Amber lies and says her sister Charlene died of the disease at 14 as well, though all her sisters are actually alive and well but out of touch. The two women agree to get a cup of coffee.

Over coffee, Amber marvels at Daphne’s diamond jewelry while she talks about her CF foundation, Julie’s Smile. She says her husband, Jackson Parrish, was the first benefactor. Amber agrees to volunteer for a fundraiser the foundation is having, and Daphne invites her to a committee meeting at her house.

Chapters 2 – 3

Amber takes the train into the city and to the New York Public Library. She also visits the Met and a gallery that had a sketch from the artist Tintoretto which was a gift from “the Jackson and Daphne Parrish collection”. Amber has spent the last two years studying up on art and films to be able to converse about these things and to be at ease among the wealthy. Amber has always had ambitions beyond the humble lifestyle she grew up with.

She soon shows up to Daphne Parrish’s luxurious home on Long Island for the committee meeting. She purposely arrives early and uses the time to chat with Daphne, who tells her about her daughters Tallulah, 10, and Bella, 7. Soon, the other women — Lois, Bunny, Faith, Meredith, Irene, and Neve — arrive. The women are all well-to-do and flashy. The only exception is Meredith, who doesn’t quite seem to fit in with the rest. After the meeting, Amber overhears Meredith questioning Daphne about whether Amber has been sufficiently vetted to be a part of the committee.

Chapters 4 – 5

Back at home in Connecticut, Amber thinks about how she chose Jackson Parrish as her target even before she moved here after she learned about the Fortune 500 international development company he founded. Amber’s last attempt in Missouri was much more small-time in comparison and ended poorly.

She does some research on Meredith Bell Stanton, learning that Meredith comes from a family that breeds Thoroughbred racehorses, and that her husband is Randolph H. Stanton III. She also looks up another one of the women, Bunny Nichols, and leans that she’s the fourth wife of March Nichols, a prominent New York attorney.

The next time Daphne calls, Amber lets it go to voicemail. The time after, Daphne invites her over when Amber lies and tells her it’s the anniversary of her sister’s death. The two women get together and talk about their sisters. When it gets late, Daphne invites Amber to stay over.

Chapters 6 – 8

For work, Amber works at Rollins Realty and gets along well with her boss, Mark Jansen.

When Amber runs into Daphne at the library, Daphne mentions it’s would’ve been her sister’s birthday the next day, and Amber chimes in that her sister had the exact same birthday. They end up making plans to have lunch together at Daphne’s country club the next day.

On Monday, when Amber mentions to the receptionist at work, Jenna, that she’s having lunch with Daphne, Jenna says that Daphne came here once with her mother, Ruth Bennett. She says that Daphne’s mother owns an B&B in New Hampshire. Jenna also mentions that she has a friend, Sally MacAteer, who worked as a nanny for the Parrishes, and Amber suggests that they all get together. Jenna agrees to set it up.

Soon Daphne arrives to pick Amber up, and they go to the Tidewater Country Club and exchange memories.

After lunch, Amber attends a Zumba class that Bunny is at and overhears her plans to meet up with a younger lover at the Blue Pheasant bar. Amber goes to the bar and sees Bunny meet up with a handsome young man, and she snaps some photos which she plans to send to Bunny’s husband.

Chapters 9 – 10

On Friday, Amber goes to Daphne’s house for dinner. She’s hoping Jackson will be there but is disappointed when he fails to show due to work.

By the time the third committee meeting is taking place, Bunny is nowhere to be found, citing a family emergency she needs to deal with. Since Bunny is in charge pf organizing the silent auction, Amber volunteers to do it, saying she’s organized this type of thing before. Daphne eagerly accepts her help as co-chair of the event.

Afterwards, Daphne wants to take a photo of the group, but Amber opts out, knowing she doesn’t want anyone from her past to recognize her.

Chapters 11 – 14

The next morning, Jenna has arranged for Amber, her and Sally to have dinner. They meet up that night. Sally is a special education teacher at a private school, St. Gregory’s, in Greenwich. Amber asks about Sally’s experience as a nanny with the Parrishes and Sally confides in her that Daphne went away somewhere after Tallulah was born. There were rumors that police were involved and that she was a danger to the baby.

That night, Amber logs in and checks on a certain Facebook profile that she’s been monitoring for a long time now. She sees that the subject is looking older and fatter and laughs to herself.

Soon after, Amber meets up with Daphne and her kids to go Christmas shopping and look at the tree at Rockefeller Center. At one point, Amber takes Tallulah to the bookstore, since she likes books. Afterwards, Daphne tells Amber to join them for dinner and says that Jackson will be there.

At dinner, Amber sees that Jackson is drop-dead gorgeous, and he asks them all about their day. After dinner, they see the Rockettes. Jackson orders a limo to take them home, but Bella begs to stay at the Plaza instead because that’s what Eloise (children’s character) does, and she gets her way. Amber stays with them.

The next morning, Amber tells Bella that her mom used to read Eloise to her as a kid too, and Bella excitedly tells her dad that the two of them are going to have breakfast with Eloise.

At breakfast, Daphne offers to buy Amber a dress as a thank you for arranging the fundraiser which will take place in two weeks. Amber declines in order to seem humble, so Daphne offers to let her borrow something from her closet instead.

Later, as Amber looks at dresses, Daphne introduces her to Sabine, their nanny. As she’s looking through Daphne’s extensive closet, she also finds a pistol engraved with the initials YMB, and she wonders why Daphne has it.

Chapter 15

On Christmas Eve, Jenna brings by some cookies for Amber. For Christmas, Amber is invited to Daphne’s house, since she tells her she’s be alone otherwise. The Parrishes have an elaborate holiday display set up. Daphne tells her they are going to St. Bart’s on the 28th.

Daphne gives Amber a gold necklace with a pearl as a gift. Amber gives her a bracelet with Julie’s name engraved on it as well as a crystal turtle. She also gives Jackson a book on cave paintings, knowing his love for art. Finally, she gives them the cookies that Jenna baked for her, claiming that she made then the night before.

Chapter 16

In the New Year, Amber has a plan to ramp things up. She lies and tells Daphne that she’s been fired from her job for rejecting her boss’s sexual advances. She tells her she ended up making out with one of her coworkers at the holiday party and making a fool out of herself, so she thinks if she reported him to HR that no one would believe her.

Daphne keeps insisting that she needs to report him, but Amber says she needs the severance and doesn’t want to compromise her other job prospects with something like this.

Daphne thinks about it and tells Amber she’s going to talk to Jackson to see if there’s some type of work she can do for his company. She also offers to take Amber shopping to find a new interview outfit. Daphne says she didn’t grow up with all of this either and wants to help her.

Chapter 17

The night of the fundraiser, Amber is nervous. Daphne and Jackson pick her up, and Daphne offers to let her keep the dress she borrowed since she looks great in it. She tries to talk to Jackson, who seems completely disinterested in speaking with her and completely enamored with Daphne.

The night goes smoothly, but Amber feels her resolve weakening as she sees how difficult Jackson will be as a target.

Chapters 18 – 20

A month later, Amber’s friendship with Daphne has continued to grow as well as her familiarity with her family, but she’s made no progress with Jackson. At Tallulah’s birthday, Daphne introduces to her mother, Ruth. Amber brings a gift for Tallulah, but also one for Bella. As expected, she sees Bella get petulant when Tallulah gets all the attention, and when Amber gives Bella a gift, too, Bella is delighted with her. Everyone else is pleased with her, but Amber notices that Ruth is not charmed by this gesture. During the party, Amber hears Ruth confront her daughter about how she’s let her extravagant lifestyle go to her head.

Before she leaves, Jackson invites Amber to the office to come work for his company.

The next day, Amber reports to Jackson’s first assistant, an older woman by the name of Mrs. Battley. The woman is displeased she is there, but Amber is determined to work as hard as she can to change her mind.

Amber comes early and stays late and Mrs. Battley soon comes to rely on her. Amber also starts spiking Mrs. Battley’s coffee with pills to make her slower and more confused. Amber hopes that Mrs. Battley will decide it’s time to simply retire.

It ends up taking a full three months, but Mrs. Battley finally decides to retire. Amber then works on trying to convince him to give her the first assistant job before he can find a replacement for Mrs. Battley.

Chapters 21 – 22

One night, Amber and Daphne get a drink, and Amber starts asking Daphne about her relationship with Jackson to try to understand what attracted him to her.

Later, Daphne invites Amber to go kayaking when Jackson is out of town. When Jackson arrives home early, she spends time with all of them together and marvels at how perfect their lives seem.

Chapter 23

Meredith comes by one night asking to speak to Amber and Daphne. She says she’s run a background check and Amber Patterson has been missing for four years. However, Amber is calm. She tells them that she left to get away from her father who raped her and that she didn’t want to be found. She says she took on a missing girl’s identity with the help of a friend. Amber feels a little bad thinking of how her actual father sacrificed for her and her family, but she pushes away those feeling.

Meredith questions her story, but Daphne is cold towards her and tells Meredith to leave.

Chapters 24 – 26

When July 4 rolls around, Amber spends the weekend with the Parrishes on their boat. Jackson gives Amber a lesson on maneuvering the boat, commenting how Daphne is not interested in boating though he loves it.

That night, Daphne goes to sleep early and Amber and Jackson chat.

Soon, Amber gets promoted to being Jackson’s first assistant, helped along by Amber tossing out any resumes she deems too good. With the position comes a raise and respect from the other administrative staff. Handling his receipts, she gets an idea of his household finances such as the vast amounts that Daphne spends. She becomes even more determined to make her plan work.

Later, over coffee Amber and Daphne talk more about her relationship with Jackson. Daphne admits that Jackson cheated on her once after Bella was born.

One night, Bella gets sick when Jackson and Daphne have plans to go to the theater to see Hamlet. Daphne has to stay home with Bella, so Jackson invites Amber to accompany him instead.

Chapters 27 – 29

At a dinner party, Amber meets Gregg, a man with a rich father who Amber is happy to string along. He’s boring and useful for keeping Daphne from getting suspicious. Amber coaxes Daphne into arranging a double date with them and Jackson and Gregg.

Daphne and Jackson rent a lake house from Memorial to Labor Day, and they invite Amber to join them for a weekend. Daphne also encourages Amber to see more Shakespeare with Jackson, saying that it doesn’t really interest her. Daphne also confides in Amber that Jackson always wanted a son.

The last week of August, Daphne lets Amber stay in their apartment by herself since the Parrishes are at the lake. Amber is enjoying the luxuries at the apartment when Jackson unexpectedly comes home, saying he’s had a long week and a change of plans. When they’re along Amber starts hinting that Daphne seems unhappy in their marriage and that Daphne doesn’t actually want another child, since Amber knows that Jackson does. Jackson comments that Daphne has gained weight lately.

Jackson gets upset, and Amber goes to comfort him which turns into her seducing him and them having sex. The next morning, she tells Jackson that she’s available to him whenever he wants.

Chapters 30 – 33

Their affair continues, and Amber continues to pretend to be best friends with Daphne. One day, Daphne offers to give Amber a bunch of her old clothes, saying they don’t fit anymore. Daphne admits she’s been stressed about Jackson and the way he’s been acting different. Amber hints that she thinks it’s because of a woman they work with, Bree, and encourages Daphne to confront her.

Amber continues to date Gregg but refuses to sleep with him, knowing she wants Jackson’s child and not his. But even spending time with him grates at her patience a little.

Amber now sees Jackson three nights a week, and Daphne comments that they haven’t had sex in weeks. When Jackson plans a night out with Daphne, Amber purposely makes him jealous to get him to hurry back to her instead.

Amber soon attends an art opening with Jackson featuring the work of an artist he discovered, Eric Fury. She continues to sneak out of any pictures to avoid her past catching up to her, but Jackson thinks she’s doing it to protect him and to be discreet about their relationship.

Daphne comes by the office to see Jackson one day, and she has lunch with him. Amber gets upset, but Jackson reassures her it’ll all work out.

Chapters 34 – 35

Soon, Jackson surprises Amber with a trip to Paris. They spend a glorious week together. Afterwards, Jackson offers to buy a place for her in New York so she’s not commuting from Connecticut, but Amber declines. She tells him it’ll be hard to explain to other people. Moreover, she doesn’t want to be hidden away.

Amber also thinks about how she’s missed two periods.

When Amber is 10 weeks pregnant, she tells him she’s pregnant with a boy. When Jackson reacts by saying he’ll get her a place in the city, Amber bristles. She tells him she’s going home to Nebraska to raise the boy near family.

Jackson doesn’t want that and asks Amber for some time to figure out how to get out of his marriage. He says that she can’t let anyone know she’s pregnant though for the time being or else that will complicate things for him.

Part II (Daphne)

Chapters 36 – 39

Daphne thinks about what a monster her husband is. She had no idea when she met him. She was 26 at the time. He had swept her off her feet offering to fund Julie’s Smiles and taking an interest in her work.

He was soon sending her flowers and when her father had a heart attack, he offered to fly her home on his private plane. Jackson also had her father moved to a better hospital and had a top cardiologist come treat him. He stayed by her side and proved how serious he was about her.

When her father is discharged, Jackson joins them for Christmas and proposes. Her parents then welcome him into the family, and Jackson offers to replace their roof which he knows has leaks.

Chapters 40 – 41

Daphne and Jackson had a small wedding, since they wanted to do it quickly to ensure her father would still be around to walk her down the aisle. Jackson’s father also shows up to the wedding, who she knows was a workaholic who didn’t have time for Jackson. Jackson speaks meanly of his father’s partner, a woman named Flora, and idolizes his late mother.

They honeymoon in Bora Bora, and everything is perfect. But she soon starts to see how Jackson’s need for order and control would overpower her life.

Jackson is quick to let her know when she has disappointed him and often uses emotional intimidation against her.

Chapters 42 – 45

They’d been married for six months when Jackson wanted to start having kids. He wants to do genetic testing to ensure they have a child free from any “defects” but Daphne says she’d want the child regardless.

Once Tallulah is born, Jackson’s behavior gets worse and he keeps trying to break her down. He is fixated on her losing her baby weight.

When she pushes back on his plans to force her to diet, he disinvites her mother from visiting her and is cruel towards her. When she lashes out and attacks him, he records it.

She plans to leave him, and she takes the baby to head to her mom’s place. However, on the way, she’s stopped by an officer. She finds out that Jackson had already convinced a judge that she was depressed and a danger to her child weeks before. The officer takes her to be admitted to a psychiatric facility, Meadow Lakes.

Jackson comes to visit Daphne and tells her to behave or else. A month later, she’s released but she has to keep seeing a therapist who he’s friends with, and she knows his notes will say whatever Jackson wants them to.

Chapters 46 – 49

When she gets home, Daphne learns that Jackson has hired a nanny. He also starts forcing her to do things sexually that she’s uncomfortable with, threatening her with a gun when she refuses. He also uses the threat of taking away Tallulah to keep her in line.

Jackson wants another baby when Tallulah is two. However, he’s angry when it turns out to be another girl. Jackson is determined to have a boy, and Daphne wonders if she can secretly get her tubes tied.

When the kids get older, Jackson decides he wants Daphne to attend classes to learn French. Meanwhile, he sets up situations to make her seem incompetent to others, like by making her miss school appointments. Jackson tells their kids it’s because Daphne has a drinking problem. He also puts turtle figurines everywhere, knowing Daphne dislikes them.

Chapters 50 – 52

Daphne soon realizes she’s married to a psychopath and starts taking psychology classes. She continues to have an IUD to ensure she won’t get pregnant again. She also begins to accumulate a stash if money although Jackson makes that difficult by limiting her access to cash and monitoring her actions closely.

Jackson continues to limit her relationship with her mom, and Daphne feels bad that her mom thinks she doesn’t want to see her. By now, Daphne has recently befriended Amber.

Bella has dyslexia though Jackson refuses to acknowledge it or get Bells the help she needs. Instead, he forces Bella to read out loud every night and taunts her when she’s not able.

Chapters 53 – 57

On Christmas, the family exchanges gifts, amd a few days later she attends a birthday party for Meredith’s husband. When she wears a color Jackson doesn’t like, he spills wine on her dress.

Daphne is glad when Amber befriends her, since she’s eager to have a friend again, which is something else Jackson tries to limit. Daphne asks him to give Amber a job by making him feel like a hero for rescuing Amber. In exchange though, he wants her to cancel a visit from her mom.

Chapters 58 – 61

When Meredith tells Daphne the truth about Amber’s real identity, Daphne starts to grow suspicious of Amber. Daphne goes to a private investigator, Jerry Hansen, to learn the truth. He discovers Amber’s real name is Lana Crump and he tells her that most of the things Amber told her were lies. She’s also a wanted criminal.

Daphne is furious at first and then realizes the perfect payback is to let Amber end up with Jackson. Daphne starts formulating how to make Jackson fall for Amber. She purposely lies and tells Amber that Jackson cheated on her once to make Amber believe it’s possible to get him to cheat again.

Daphne then purposely bows out of the showing of Hamlet to give the two of them the opportunity to be alone together. She also purposely introduces her to Gregg, knowing it would be a good way to make Jackson feel possessive. Daphne also begins putting on weight.

Chapters 62 – 65

Soon, Daphne pretends to be jealous of Jackson’s fondness for Amber and reminds him that she’s her best friend, asking him not to give into it but knowing her saying that would only increase his interest.

Daphne then purposely sends Jackson to her apartment when she had told Amber she could use it for the weekend. Soon, Jackson is gone many nights each week, and Daphne is thrilled about it. Jackson start telling her about how he always wanted a son.

Part III

Chapters 66 – 67

Amber wants to force Jackson to make a move, so she decides to leave the apartment he bought her and tells him she’s tired of waiting. She threatens to abort the baby, so he tells her to go to his place and that they’ll stay there together forever.

When she arrives, Jackson is angry with her, but she coaxes him into relenting a little. Amber then talks to Jackson about getting Daphne to leave the house so they can live there together instead.

Soon Jackson tells Daphne that he’s leaving her and that Amber is pregnant with his son. Daphne pretends to be heartbroken and shocked, buts he leaves the conversation smiling.

Chapters 68 – 70

Jackson and Amber arrange for a quick courthouse wedding since Amber says she doesn’t want their son to be born out of wedlock. Amber tells Jackson’s kids that their father didn’t want them there even though it’s not true. She also breaks up with Gregg.

Soon, everyone accepts Jackson’s new wife easily. Daphne and Meredith remain close friends.

Daphne walks away from the marriage with millions and custody over the kids. Jackson still has weekend visitation rights, but she plans on changing that. Two months after their divorce, she tells Jackson the truth about Amber. She threatens to expose her, embarrass him amd get her arrested (because she’s a wanted convict) unless he gives up his visitation rights.

He finally relents, saying he’s done with her anyway since she’s old and used up.

Chapter 71

Amber is happy briefly. However, after he learns about the truth from Daphne, his attitude towards her quickly shifts. He tells her that he owns her now. She’s put on a strict allowance, and he forces her to go to the gym every day.

Still, Amber stands to him, but she tells him that she loves him and vows to win his love back. However, she wakes up to him choking her and a gun to her head. She pees herself in fear. Jackson tells her that YMB on the gun stands for You’re Mine Bitch.

After that, Amber is obedient. Sexually he continues to debase and demean her.

Chapter 72

Eight Months Later

With the divorce final, Daphne tells her mother the truth about what happened. Her mother relocates to where Daphne is in SoCal to be with her. She sends the kids to see a therapist.

Today, Daphne is back in New York. She goes to see Jackson before he’s arrested by the FBI. She’s been working with them to reveal details of Jackson’s illegal offshore accounts. Daphne also reveals that Douglas, his new assistant, was someone she had apply to ensure she had someone on the inside to help. Douglas helped get the account numbers they needed for the Feds to be able to arrest Jackson. Daphne gives Jackson a cheap plastic turtle from the dollar store to show him that she’s free on him.

Afterwards, Daphne goes to see Amber. She tells her that she knows who she really is, so she should stay away from her children unless she wants to be exposed. Daphne says she knows all about how Amber framed someone, Matthew Lockwood, for rape because he wouldn’t marry her, and how he ended up in prison for two years because of it. Matthew was also beaten in prison and is now wheelchair-bound.

When she leaves, Daphne pens a letter to Julie, saying that she misses her and that a new chapter has begun.

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