I bought Anatomy of a Scandal by Sarah Vaughan from Goldsboro Books in the signed first edition hardback, and I am so glad that I did. I had heard great things and it sounded like my perfect book, and it really truly was. Vaughan writes with such conviction and her characterisation is just impeccable. She knows how to write a story that unravels before your eyes and makes you think and wonder about what you might do in that scenario. She deals with questions of morals, good, bad and evil and the power of knowledge. A 5 star book in every sense, Anatomy of a Scandal by Sarah Vaughan was published by Simon and Schuster on 23 January, 2018.
Without giving too much away, the central storyline focuses on two female protagonists; Kate and Sophie. Kate is a prosecutor in a case of rape following an extra-marital affair. Sophie’s husband is the accused. Following the case from the two women’s perspectives, occasionally with a look-in from Sophie’s husband, James’ past and their time at Oxford University, this book shows how a man can be looked at from all different angles as an innocent, a rapist and how that can be judged just by looking at him. This plot takes into account a very topical subject matter in how the public responds to accusations of rape, particularly when it comes from a “less reliable” witness.
What I liked…
I loved Anatomy of a Scandal 100%. Vaughan is not a slow storyteller, nor does she race through the plot without giving the reader a second to consider the events in the narrative. The pace of Anatomy of a Scandal very much reflects a court case, as there are the sections in court with the questioning of witnesses, as well as the parts where everyone goes home in between and considers the details, which is where Vaughan feeds in the pasts of the central characters.
I absolutely adored Kate. Her character is unapologetic, confident and bold. From the very first page, I wanted to know more about her; she is intriguing and hard-faced – definitely not one to be messed with. Throughout the novel, the reader is introduced to the reasons she has become who she is today, which made me fall more in love with her, as most people would not have the guts to do what she has done.
Sophie, on the other hand, I felt a love/hate connection with. I really sympathised with her wanting to stand by her husband despite him having cheated on her; her love of her family and children shining through and truly representing strong women in extremely difficult situations. While many may see her as weak for remaining by his side, if you consider how much of a strain this would have on anybody’s mental state, you will realise just how strong she is. And she gets one of the best endings, I felt.
James (and Tom) was the perfect perpetrator. The middle-class white male with a political career being accused of rape by the woman he had had a five month affair with. I hated him to the core, wanting it all to be a lie, while at the same time wanting him severely punished; I was torn with his character.
Overall, Sarah Vaughan’s Anatomy of a Scandal is a five star courtroom drama. Her writing style gripped me from the first page and I took it everywhere with me until I had devoured every last word. I would recommend this novel to all crime lovers, or anybody who watches courtroom dramas on television or cinema, because it goes above and beyond these experiences.