on January 23, 2018
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An astonishingly incisive and suspenseful novel about a scandal amongst Britain’s privileged elite and the women caught up in its wake.
Sophie’s husband James is a loving father, a handsome man, a charismatic and successful public figure. And yet he stands accused of a terrible crime. Sophie is convinced he is innocent and desperate to protect her precious family from the lies that threaten to rip them apart.
Kate is the lawyer hired to prosecute the case: an experienced professional who knows that the law is all about winning the argument. And yet Kate seeks the truth at all times. She is certain James is guilty and is determined he will pay for his crimes.
Who is right about James? Sophie or Kate? And is either of them informed by anything more than instinct and personal experience? Despite her privileged upbringing, Sophie is well aware that her beautiful life is not inviolable. She has known it since she and James were first lovers, at Oxford, and she witnessed how easily pleasure could tip into tragedy.
Most people would prefer not to try to understand what passes between a man and a woman when they are alone: alone in bed, alone in an embrace, alone in an elevator… Or alone in the moonlit courtyard of an Oxford college, where a girl once stood before a boy, heart pounding with excitement, then fear. Sophie never understood why her tutorial partner Holly left Oxford so abruptly. What would she think, if she knew the truth?
This story is about sex, power, relationships, and status. A chilling tale that seems expected but is anything but. I found myself drawn into the lives of James, Sophie, Kate, and Holly from the moment they graced the page. In seeking the truth, Kate takes the reader on a journey that twists and turns, taking an in-depth look at consent, intent, justice, and what motivates people to make the choices they do.
Anatomy of a Scandal is told from multiple points of view and moves forward and back in time which in the beginning took some getting used to but was well worth the effort in the end. I was fascinated by the relationships in this story. Seeing them develop, grow, fuse and fracture held me captive. I was shocked to learn that I felt for all the characters, even James seemed to be a victim of circumstance. The writing was detailed and engaging offering pages packed with history, lies, love, and deceit. I highly recommend reading Anatomy of a Scandal, and I look forward to reading what Sarah Vaughan publishes next.
“The courtroom yields high drama, but Vaughan also dives deep into the characters’ backstories—especially the entitled lives of powerful men—creating a nuanced story line perfectly in tune with our #metoo times.”—People, Book of the Week
“One of the season’s most buzzed-about thrillers.”—Bookish
“A strong choice for book clubs. Former political correspondent Vaughan makes an impressive debut with this savvy, propulsive courtroom drama.” —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“Vaughan offers gripping insight into a political scandal’s hidden machinations and the tension between justice and privilege…Absorbing, polished.”—Booklist (starred review)
“Skillfully interweaving the story of the unfolding scandal, Vaughan gradually reveals just how shockingly high the stakes are…Sinewy…engrossing, twist-filled.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review)