What’s it all about?:
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?
What did I think?:
I’ve lost count of the amount of amazing reviews I’ve seen about Anatomy Of A Scandal from my wonderful fellow bloggers. And guess what? They were all right! This is a fantastic novel that melds contemporary fiction with mystery and a legal thriller in a perfect way. This combined with some hard-hitting issues and intriguing characters produces a novel that is not only incredibly relevant and timely but difficult to tear yourself away from and I must have gobbled it up in less than two days as I found once I started, I definitely didn’t want to stop. This book rightly deserves all the acclaim it is getting and I feel my job now in this review is to get as many of you to read it (who haven’t already done so) as possible so you can all discover the powerhouse that is Sarah Vaughan.
Told from a number of different perspectives this is the story of a wife, Sophie and her husband, James, a politician and close friend of the Prime Minister. They met at Oxford University where they formed a fleeting relationship then re-connect later on in life, marry and have two children. Their relationship has been tested at times but Sophie now fully believes that they have a strong, loving partnership that absolutely nothing can shake. She is wrong. When he is accused of a terrible crime and protests his innocence, their whole world is rocked irrevocably. Of course, Sophie trusts her husband implicitly and stands by him through a horrendous trial situation but as more details of the incident come to light from the woman accusing him, she begins to question everything. We also hear from the brilliant Kate, who is prosecuting James’ case and determined to get a guilty verdict for him, whatever the cost.
This novel jumps across time-lines from the present situation that all parties find themselves in to their past experiences in the world of Oxford University where the rich and privileged seem to get away with anything as long as they have enough money, prestige and connections to make the situation go away. I loved how this was a eye-opening reflection on scandals we have heard about, particularly politically (and across the globe, not necessarily in Britain) in recent years where if you have power, the world is your oyster no matter how badly you might behave.
I was shocked to realise that the exclusive club at Oxford that Sarah Vaughan writes about, where the young men go around, getting horrifically drunk, wrecking restaurants and then settling the bill for the damage at the end of the night IS an actual thing and indeed, some of our illustrious leaders in the country at the moment were part of this club. There’s also the very timely issues of sexual abuse/rape and how this is treated in the courtroom and by a jury i.e. “was she asking for it?” and the real fact that convictions for this crime are so staggeringly awful. There is no doubt that change needs to happen.
This is such a brilliant novel, for all of these above reasons and also because you really feel each character is so beautifully written, you could almost know them inside out. They could be a family member, your best friend, your colleague from work etc. However, even though I felt like I connected intimately with some of these characters, and knew what they might do, particularly Kate and Sophie at points, Sarah Vaughan is not shy of throwing a few spanners in the works and there are some fantastic twists to the tale that you just won’t see coming. I’d love to chat more about this novel in the comments so if you’ve read and loved this please tell me what you loved the most and if you haven’t read it yet, tell me when you’re going to start reading it! You just have to. It’s that good.
Would I recommend it?:
But of course!
Star rating (out of 5):