Review: Anatomy of a Scandal by Sarah Vaughan @SVaughanAuthor @AtriaBooks

Review: Anatomy of a Scandal by Sarah Vaughan @SVaughanAuthor @AtriaBooksAnatomy Of a Scandal by Sarah Vaughan
on January 23, 2018
Genres: Suspense
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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)

About Sarah Vaughan

I’m a novelist and journalist who has alway wanted to write fiction. My first novel, The Art of Baking Blind, was published in 2014 by Hodder, and nine other countries. The Farm at the Edge of the World, followed in 2016, and in 2017 became a bestseller in France. Anatomy of a Scandal heralds a shift in genre: part courtroom drama, part portrait of a marriage, part psychological thriller, it will be published in January 2018 by Simon & Schuster UK and Emily Bestler Books, US, and translated into 17 other languages. I’m now completing another novel in a similar vein – exploring what happens when women’s lives are touched by darkness or crime.
Though I didn’t start writing fiction in earnest before I turned 40, I have put pen to paper – or fingers to a keyboard – every day of my career. Before writing novels, I was a journalist, writing under the byline Sarah Hall. After journalism college and work at The Times, I trained with the Press Association and spent 11 years on The Guardian as a news reporter, health correspondent and political correspondent. I left after having my second baby and began to freelance.
Long before that, I read English at Brasenose College, Oxford. Reading Beowulf may not have helped me become a novelist but reading and thinking about writing for three years undoubtedly did. I now live just outside Cambridge with my husband, two young children, geriatric cat and puppy. When I’m not writing, I love to walk, run, read.

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