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?
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Anatomy of a Scandal by Sarah Vaughan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Anatomy of a Scandal by Sarah Vaughn is a 2018 Atria/Emily Bestler Books Publication.
Timely, with a few very intriguing twists!
When the Junior Member of England, James Whitehouse, is caught out in an affair, it looks as though he will weather the storm, both professionally and personally- until his mistress, Olivia, comes forward with an accusation of rape.
Kate, a prosecutor/barrister believes James is guilty as sin. But, his wife, Sophie, despite enduring the humiliation of his affair, doesn’t think her husband is capable of sexual assault. She plays the part of the supportive politician's wife- a cliche if there ever was one, going along with James' management team, saying and doing what was expected of her, while she denies the lie her life has become.
During the investigation and subsequent trial, Sophie, Kate, and James all reveal their inner thoughts, revealing their innermost secrets, some of which are explosive, dangerous, and raise many questions about ethics, about the rape culture, the way the courts handle rape cases. It examines the mindset of the elite and entitled, the nature of politics, and the rationalizations people make, the lies they tell to maintain a way of life they are accustomed to, or to have a taste of power. It also examines gray areas of human nature, which can make the reader think- "What would I do in that situation?"
The story grabbed my attention right away, although the story moved in a predictable fashion, at least in the beginning. But, then a very, very, unique twist develops along the way, which puts a fresh spin on a familiar plot. This revelation creates a suspenseful situation that had me holding my breath, sitting on the edge of my seat. I love courtroom dramas and am always especially interested in the court systems outside the US, so I found the trial segments of great interest, as well.
Usually I’m not a big fanof multiple POV novels, but in this case, it was quite effective and really gave readers deep insight into the characters moral code, the lines they draw in the sand and the ones they are willing to cross- for revenge or for justice.
I thought this book was thought provoking, and of course, it’s very timely and emotional topic. The pacing drags in some places, but other than that, the book is polished, well- constructed, with a unique style and presentation. Legal thrillers have been too few and far between for a long time, so it’s good to find one that well and truly fits into that category!
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Sarah Vaughan read English at Oxford and went on to become a journalist. She spent eleven years at the Guardian as a news reporter, health correspondent, and political correspondent. She left to freelance and began writing fiction the week she turned forty. Her debut novel, The Art of Baking Blind, published by Hodder & Stoughton, St. Martin's Press, and in seven other languages, was the result. The Farm at the Edge of the World was published in June 2016 and will be published in Germany and France. Sarah lives in Cambridge with her husband and two children.