Sarah Vaughan's latest novel, Anatomy of a Scandal is another great read to add to your TBR list!
Anatomy: "A study of the structure or internal workings of something."
Scandal: "An action or event regarded as morally or legally wrong and causing general public outrage."
Politician James Whitehouse reveals to his wife Sophie the affair that he has been having an affair with his beautiful young assistant. Not because he's overly penitent, but because she has accused him of rape - and that fact is about to be disclosed by the press. Kate is the prosecuting barrister assigned to the case. She specializes in sexual abuse cases.
Anatomy of a Scandal is told mainly through the eyes of Sophie and Kate. We are privy to Sophie's worries, hurt, doubts and stoicism. Vaughan does an excellent job depicting her thoughts. But, I found my self hard pressed to like or empathize with her. On the other side of the coin is Kate. She has her own reasons for wanting to win this case. Those reasons become clear as the book progresses - and I was firmly in her camp. There are chapters that give us a glimpse into the past at Oxford University. And those glimpses explain much. James too has a voice. Again, Vaughan's characterization is so effective - I had a visceral reaction to James and his cavalier attitude and actions.
|There are so many layers to this story - that the wealthy and privileged are treated differently in the court system, the ties of old boys' networks, schooling, tradition, breeding and political connections. What of the actual case and barristers? Is it about justice or about winning?
"The truth is a tricky issue. Rightly or wrongly, adversarial advocacy is not really an inquiry into the truth."
Vaughan's author note says "Anatomy of a Scandal owes much to my experience as a news reporter, political correspondent, and student reading English at Oxford...." That background makes this novel so very believable and not so far from the truth I think.
The case and the verdict are of course a large focus of the book - and are very well done. But, for this reader it was the characters, their inner dialogue and decisions that kept me eagerly turning pages. It's also a bit of a slower burn. Those looking for a fast paced thriller won't find it here. Those looking for a timely novel - one that mirrors many actual headlines - will enjoy this introspective look into a scandal. Read an excerpt of Anatomy of a Scandal. You can connect with Sarah Vaughan on her website and follow her on Twitter.