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Anatomy of a Scandal: A Novel Hardcover – January 23, 2018
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"Vaughan weaves together a juicy courtroom drama set among the British elite and told from the perspectives of three characters . . . Exceptional." (Entertainment Weekly)
“Sarah Vaughan is sensational.” (Clare Mackintosh, internationally bestselling author of I LET YOU GO)
"I cared about both women—couldn't put it down . . . really, really, really, really good." (Marian Keyes, Internationally bestselling author of THE BREAK)
"ANATOMY OF A SCANDAL is a compelling and cautionary story about how we can never truly know someone else; how even after twelve years of marriage, a wife might not know everything about her husband. Brilliant, shocking, and gripping, once I started, I couldn't stop reading." (Claire Fuller, award-winning author of OUR ENDLESS NUMBERED DAYS and SWIMMING LESSONS)
“Shocking. Compelling. Completely brilliant.” (Eve Chase, bestselling author of BLACK RABBIT HALL)
“I was hooked right from the start. So beautifully written, clever and compelling. I was gripped right up to the final page.” (Claire Douglas, bestselling author of The Sisters and Local Girl Missing)
“I enjoyed ANATOMY OF A SCANDAL immensely – a very elegant dissection of a very messy affair. Loved it.” (Louise Candlish, author of THE SWIMMING POOL)
"ANATOMY OF A SCANDAL is a stunningly compelling read--utterly gripping from the first page, beautifully written and expertly plotted. Vaughan brilliantly captures the cloistered world of Britain's elite, which is packed with suspicion, lies, and terrible betrayals. This book is a must-read for 2018--it's impossible to put down and will stay with you long afterwards." (Sarah J. Harris, author of THE COLOR OF BEE LARKHAM'S MURDER)
"A gripping dissection of deceit and desire . . . The definition of a page-turner." (Elizabeth Day, award-winning author of THE PARTY)
"ANATOMY OF A SCANDAL is superb. Bitingly truthful, intelligent, gripping. All round class act." (Gilly Macmillan, New York Times bestselling author of WHAT SHE KNEW)
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.
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Kate Woodcroft is a tough, standoffish London barrister for the prosecution of violence of a sexual nature. Kate hates to lose, bringing a fierceness to every case. The stakes are especially high, when she is assigned the high-profile case of a charismatic Tory Junior Minister. James, is accused of raping his assistant, who he admits he had a short affair with.
James was born with the proverbial silver spoon. A graduate of both Eton and Oxford he has it all, and knows it....including the friendship and confidence of the current Prime Minister who is an old college friend. A true narcissist, James is accustomed to getting what he wants and he expects his dutiful wife to stand by his side.
Sophie, while she is devastated by her husband's infidelity, still wants to hold her family together. It is hard for her to reconcile the man she has loved since college, with that of a rapist. Will she be able to stand by her man?
Alternating perspectives between Kate, Sophie and James, Anatomy of a Scandal follows the ensuing high profile trial, as we are privy to the characters inner motivations, rationalizations and self-delusions. You feel the tension build, in the hallow halls of the old Bailey courtroom, where everything is not as it appears and secrets from the characters past are slowly revealed. Vaughn also effortlessly gives us backstory by seemingly taking us back to 1993 Oxford, to see how the privileged with their built in safety nets make staggeringly irresponsible choices.....and the early relationship between James and Sophie as well as the shared histories of two outsiders, which are aptly interconnected.
Anatomy of a Scandal rested on top of my People magazine with Taking down a Hollywood Predator; scandal of Harvey Weinstein. It perfectly reflects how some in positions of power abuse their power, failing to comprehend their actions. What was fascinating was Vaughn's perspective on why women allow it happen. Their seeing and not seeing "And we women aim to please. It is hardwired into us that we should placate and mollify-bend our will to that of men" and the secrecy and the separateness that befall some of their victims. An obvious must-read for 2018.
In the public eye, Sophie and James are a perfect couple. This illusion is shattered when details of a scandal are leaked to the press. Things swiftly escalate and he is soon charged with a terrible crime. Sophie is determined to stand by her man, even given the full circumstance of his misdemeanour.
Kate is a lawyer and, when we fist meet her, she has just lost a case. She is still reeling from this when she is handed James' case to prosecute. Certain of his guilt she is hellbent on making him pay, especially as more information of his past is revealed; especially his university days. As things start to be revealed, a clearer picture emerges. One that will determine the path that certain characters must now take.
In Kate we have a strong character. Well, on the surface anyway; deep down within she is affected and conflicted and has a bit of a score to settle. This is evident in the cases she chooses to take on. But why is not fully known until much later on. We are drip fed her past through flashback and also her conversations with her friend in the present. When she does cross the line, as she does a few times in this book, it is for the right reasons and her motivation, once clear, is justified. I really connected to her right from the off. A connection that remained throughout.
Sophie however is more convoluted and not really that easy to like; especially as her layers are unpeeled and her past exposed. She took a bit more thinking about throughout but I can't say more than that here.
As for James, well, you'll have to make your own mind up about him and his place in this story. I have my own thoughts and feelings and they are a tad on the strong side but again, I have to leave that here.
Needless to say, this is a very character driven book and as such relies on its characters to play their parts throughout which they do, with great aplomb.
The story itself is all the more shocking as it is completely credible. I have no doubt that the events depicted within these pages actually happened to more people than I care to think about. In fact, these days you only need open a newspaper to see evidence of the prevalence of certain incidents.
It is a story that is shocking but very well told. Unlike some of the popular press, the facts here are portrayed without the need for sensationalism, this being unnecessary given the nature of what is described anyway. It's not that fast paced but it doesn't need to be. The tension ramps up slowly and so steadily that often you really don't see it coming so it has more impact when it does.
This was a story that saddened me a bit with its credibility and realism. It also made me think, a lot, and left me with plenty more to mull over after I finished.
It wasn't a comfortable read but I think it was an important and compelling one. My thanks go to the Publisher and Netgalley for the chance to read this book.
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