The Last Resort: A Novel

The Last Resort: A Novel

by Marissa Stapley


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NAMED ONE OF 2019’S BEST BEACH READS BY Oprah MagazineNew York PostPopSugarThe Globe and Mail

ParadeHollywood ReporterChatelaine

“Marissa Stapley’s writing is a gift.”—Pam Jenoff, New York Times bestselling author of The Orphan’s Tale

The Harmony Resort promises hope for struggling marriages. Run by celebrity power couple Drs. Miles and Grace Markell, the “last resort” offers a chance for partners to repair their relationships in a luxurious setting on the gorgeous Mayan Riviera.

Johanna and Ben have a marriage that looks perfect on the surface, but in reality, they don’t know each other at all. Shell and Colin fight constantly: after all, Colin is a workaholic, and Shell always comes second to his job as an executive at a powerful mining company. But what has really torn them apart is too devastating to talk about. When both couples begin Harmony’s intensive therapy program, it becomes clear that Harmony is not all it seems—and neither are Miles and Grace themselves. What are they hiding, and what price will these couples pay for finding out?

As a deadly tropical storm descends on the coast, trapping the hosts and the guests on the resort, secrets are revealed, loyalties are tested and not one single person—or their marriage—will remain unchanged by what follows.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781525823541
Publisher: Graydon House Books
Publication date: 06/18/2019
Edition description: Original
Pages: 368
Sales rank: 146,071
Product dimensions: 5.30(w) x 7.96(h) x 0.89(d)

About the Author

Marissa Stapley is a journalist and the author of the acclaimed novel Things to Do When It's Raining. She writes page-turning, deeply emotional fiction about families, friends and women's lives. Visit her at or follow her on Twitter, @marissastapley.

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The Last Resort 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 8 reviews.
cloggiedownunder 6 months ago
The Last Resort is the third novel by best-selling American author, Marissa Stapley. Located on the Mayan Riviera in Mexico, the Harmony Resort is touted as the last resort for failing marriages. Celebrity therapist Dr Miles Markell and his wife Grace and their team at the luxury resort repair marriages, a dozen couples at a time. It takes just two weeks. Their own marriage is, of course, perfect. The reader knows, though, from the first pages, that after Hurricane Christine has passed through the area, Miles is missing, with grave fears held for his safety. Trouble in paradise, indeed! But before all that, the couples, with all their problems and quirks and secrets, arrive: alcoholic Shell Williams and her workaholic husband, Colin; social worker Johanna Haines and her District Attorney husband, Ben Reid. The other eight couples, nameless and featureless in the background. From vague hints drip-fed into the narrative, the reader gradually learns what crippling secrets (and there are quite a few) these three couples are holding, and how their lives have been affected, until things build to an explosive climax, concurrent with a category four hurricane making things wet and wild. It’s quite clever of Stapley to situate her resort in Mexico where the (accredited?) therapists are able to be unprofessional, unethical and inappropriate without oversight from any professional body; and where clients can be made to sign a (legal? binding?) contract with some surprise conditions. What does become quickly clear is that all the therapists are as much in need of therapy as the clients they are treating. Nonetheless, the credibility is stretched: would DA Ben really sign a contract with no more than a cursory glance? Would two therapists and one intern dealing with twelve couples actually have time for all those dramatics and dummy spits? Certainly, the Haines/Reid and Williams couples seem to be getting more than their share of attention. Stapley’s characters are perhaps a little stereotypical: a predator and some enablers; the sexually repressed, the grieving, the traumatised, the weak, the guilty; lots of angst there. Some are immediately detestable; others eventually evoke some sympathy. Stapley uses multiple formats besides the conventional narrative to convey the story: blog, email, therapy session transcript, book excerpt and flashback. The very neat resolution is undeniably Agatha Christie inspired. Get past the slow start, suspend disbelief and it’s a fairly entertaining read. This unbiased review is from an uncorrected proof copy provided by Allen & Unwin.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
paulalala09 More than 1 year ago
This was not a favorite of mine because there were too many subplots and vaporous details to make the story solidify and not seem to ramble. The premise is good: a couple’s resort designed to delve deep into the true reasons for the couple’s problems. However, the problems of the owners of the resort present more problems to the continuity of the plot rather than add to it. I voluntarily read an advanced reader's copy of the book. All opinions and thoughts are my own.
whatsbetterthanbooks More than 1 year ago
Sinuous, compelling, and timely! The Last Resort is an ominous, character-driven novel that takes us to the idyllic Harmony Resort where the illustrious marriage counsellors Miles and Grace Markell are once again ready to help another group of struggling couples find their way back to each other. But like most things involving money, power, and privilege everything is not always as it seems, and hidden away behind those polished, flawless exteriors lies an abundance of lies, secrets, adultery, greed, abuse, subjugation, and manipulation. The prose is tight and intense. The characters are troubled, deceptive, and vulnerable. And the plot, including all the subplots, keep you engrossed from start to finish with a multitude of twists, turns, obsession, deception, jealousy, familial drama, revelations, violence, and murder. Overall, The Last Resort is an atmospheric, intricately woven, engrossing mystery by Stapley that is highly entertaining and devilishly satisfying.
Shelley-S-Reviewer More than 1 year ago
I really love supporting Canadian authors and Maria Stapley lives in Toronto, like me. I read her book Mating for Life and really enjoyed it. She knows how to write women's fiction, very well, so I was surprised to see a suspenseful novel by her. She really hit it out of the park with this one. I liked the way the author moved from each main character and gave clear insight to their fears and insecurities. Each was living behind a facade which they projected to the public. What was going on in their personal life was very different from that. An interesting portrayal of broken down marriages, secrets and lies. I liked the way the author wrote, switching from one perspective to another as their lives intertwined in the resort and during the different therapy groups. I also love the title as these couples and their marriages are on their last legs and they go to a resort to try and fix their relationships...loved the pun.
dcl55 More than 1 year ago
The Last Resort by author Marissa Stapley is set in a gorgeous natural beach villa for couples therapy by the famous Drs. Miles and Grace Markell. They are renowned for helping wealthy couples worldwide to get their marriages back on track. Johanna and Ben and Shell and Colin are the two couples highlighted in this story. They all have problems, secrets, and different reasons for agreeing to come to the marriage therapy resort. All seem to have suffered or experienced some kind of loss. Are Miles and Grace all they claim to be? The couples discover their luggage has been searched and personal items removed. Johanna is surprised to find Grace swimming alone in an underground cave which has been closed. Shell is given little pills by Miles during her sessions with him. Secrets, lies, and deceitful motives follow the couples as a deadly storm hits the villa! What happened to Miles?
JillJemmett More than 1 year ago
I loved this book! It was a gripping thriller that reminded me of Big Little Lies. I’ve only watched the TV adaptation of Big Little Lies, but this story had a lot of the same elements of mystery. The story opens with the report of a character’s death, and possible murder. The mystery throughout the story was finding out who killed him. It was so difficult to figure out because most characters had a motive. Secrets played an important part in this story. All the characters had secrets, which were slowly revealed. At the beginning, they seemed like ordinary people, but their secrets revealed dark pasts. I was pretty shocked, but looking back on hints given through the book, it all makes sense. The setting played an important part in the story. It was descriptive, with details of the beach and villa, so I could picture the resort vividly. This will be a great beach read for the summer! I highly recommend this shocking thriller! Thank you Simon and Schuster Canada for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
HowUsefulItIs More than 1 year ago
I started reading The Last Resort on 6/13/2019 and finished it on 6/18/2019. A fantastic read, this book is definitely different, from no chapter headings to celebrity articles. It was a bit of getting used to in the beginning for me. Once day 3 comes around and some secrets are being revealed, I couldn’t read fast enough. I couldn’t guess any of their secrets, especially Johanna and Drs. Markell’s. I like how the cover is peaceful and the story is anything but. I started reading this book with only the knowing about marriage counseling, but oh boy, what a ride I was given. I like following the three point of views, more so with Johanna and Shell because Grace is more in the church side. With #metoo hashtags, I thought this book is based on modern day, but I don’t understand why church is still strict on homosexuality. This book is told in the third person point of view following an unknown man as he struggles to breathe and calling out to Jezebel. Then an article from celebrity scoop talks about the celebrity marriage counselor Dr. Miles Markell has gone missing during Hurricane Christine. There was also a mystery therapy session between a man and a woman about how each person holds on to 13 secrets, with 5 kept locked away. The woman has been seeing the doctor for a year and now is ready to tell her one big secret. The story finally begins with the two weeks marriage counseling starting from day 1 where an email was sent out to the couples from Dr. Miles, 52 and his wife Dr. Grace Markell, 35 to welcome them. The first couple readers follow are Johanna, ex-social worker who experienced trauma at work and Ben, lawyer as they ride the bus with other couples, (12 couples in all) to the counseling’s luxury bungalow in Mexico. The second couple are Shell and Colin where Shell is often angry that her husband doesn’t look straight at her. The third view is of Dr. Grace Markell, who walks around with a veneer of perfection but has several secrets of her own. The Last Resort is very well written and offer a unique read. I don’t read too many women’s psychological fiction and I like that this book is different from any others I have read. I like Shell and Colin. Their struggles are realistic where others can relate to. I like the psychological aspect of the story because a person can feel really small and lose all self confidence when they are repeatedly told that they are worthless. I like the ending and I didn’t even expect goody Ben to involve himself in the tangle. I love a story with an epilogue and this book has it. This book kept me up many nights and I highly recommend everyone to read it. Pro: secrets, lies, marriage counseling, therapy sessions, mystery, psychological abuse, Con: church seems to contradicts the modern day twitter hashtags I rate it 5 stars! ***Disclaimer: Many thanks to Harlequin Trade Publishing for the opportunity to read and review. Please be assured that my opinions are honest. xoxo, Jasmine at for more details