Cover Image: Anatomy of a Scandal

Anatomy of a Scandal

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Member Reviews

Epic. Brilliant. Vital reading material. The perfect tale for current times. Sarah will be added to me trusted author list.
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A good courtroom thriller/drama. Set in Oxford, England. A young experienced lawyer is set to prosecute the case. 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. Who will win Sophie or the young lawyer?
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Being a big fan of legal thrillers, I was looking forward to this book. Unfortunately, it missed the mark for me. The storyline was good but it just dragged out too much and was too slow for many chapters at a time and I found myself wanting to skip ahead, and sadly had to at times, the final quarter improved for me but not soon enough to give a better rating.
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Really enjoyable read. Good characters and a Good story. Well worth a read. Think others will enjoy.
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Anatomy of a Scandal centres around politician James who is on trial for rape and the story is told from the viewpoint of the different people involved as the case unfolds. These characters include Sophie, his seemingly loyal wife and Kate, the prosecuting counsel determined to secure a guilty verdict.


The story jumps between the court case, back to Oxford when Sophie and James were young lovers and the present day political world where James works and all its murky goings on. All this jumping around made it quite hard to follow initially but it did all add to the context of the present situation so it is worth sticking with.


I did enjoy this book, it wasn't gripping or a page turner but it is a clever story very well told and I look forward to reading this author again.


Thank you to Netgalley for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
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Anatomy of a scandal was a good book. Great twists and turns throughout which kept me interested. A real page turner.
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Thank you Netgalley for this Arc in exchange for an honest review. 

I have been so obsessed with psychological books lately and this was just one of the great ones I read in 2018. It was thrilling, provocative, and very well executed. You’ll want to go into this novel knowin* as little as possible so that you can be like woah! It was quite a slow burning drama rather than fast paced suspense but I still thoroughly enjoyed it!
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Thanks to NetGalley and to Simon & Schuster UK for providing me an ARC copy of this book that I freely chose to review.
I got a copy of this book a while back, but I must confess it got buried under tonnes of other books at a time when there were many things on my mind. I kept seeing the book here and there but wasn’t even sure I had a copy any longer. Eventually, as it always happens at the end of the year, I saw a list with recommended reads for the year that ends, with this novel featured prominently, and it was the push I needed to start reading it. I apologise for the delay because it was well worth a read.
The book opens up the 2nd of December 2016, is set in the UK, and is mostly narrated chronologically by a collection of characters. Kate, a QC (the prosecution lawyer in other countries) working in London tells of her experience in court, prosecuting sexual crimes, in the first person. The rest of the characters’ perspectives we get are narrated on the third person, and include those of Ali, a friend Kate met while she was a college student; Sophie, the wife of a junior conservative minister, James, and now stay at home Mum; James himself, the only male account, an upper-class man who always knew his future was golden, and Holly, whose narration starts in 1992, in Oxford. She is a fish out of the water, a young girl from the North, from a modest family, who has managed to get into an Oxford College to study English with a grant, and she suffers a cultural shock at first, although later things seem to look up until… (No spoilers here). It takes a while for all the strands of the story to fit together, although we soon realise there are some coincidences, and some of the people whose narrations appeared disconnected at first, had crossed paths years back.
The author, who as a political journalist has more insight than most people into what goes on in political office and in the government, provides a detailed and totally immersing account of the life of privilege of those who seem destined for “better things” from the very start, and creates very credible and nuanced characters. Vaughan is skilled at describing the atmosphere of the government corridors and of the Old Bailey, and as skilled at shining a light on the characters and their motivations. We have those who feel entitled to everything; characters who keep lying to themselves because they feel they got what they wanted and should now be happy with it, even if it has turned out to be far less ideal than they had always thought; the survivors who reinvented themselves and paid the price of never being completely at ease in their skins, and we have big areas of grey. (I think this book would be ideal for a book club, as there is much to discuss and plenty of controversial topics to keep the conversation going). What is a relationship and what is not? What is love and what is only lust? And central to the whole book, a big question, what is consent? Is it a matter of opinion? Although the definition of the crime seems very clear, when it comes to what people think or “know” in their heads at the time, is anything but. 
Although the book is told from different perspectives, it is not confusing to read. Each chapter is headed by the name of the character and the date, and we soon get to know who is who, because their narration and their personalities are very different. That does not mean there aren’t plenty of surprises in the book, and although some we might suspect or expect, the story is well paced, the revelations are drip-fed and make the tension increase, and with the exception of one of the characters (hopefully!), it is not difficult to empathise and share in the thoughts and the moral and ethical doubts of most of the characters. We might think we know better and we would do the right thing but determining what the right thing is can be tough in some cases. And we all compromise sometimes, although there are limits.
I have read some reviews complaining about the amount of detail in the book and they also say that it is slow and nothing much happens. The book is beautifully observed, and the way it explains the ins-and-outs of the trial feels realistic. Perhaps the problem is that we are used to books and movies where everything takes place at lightning speed, and there isn’t a moment to contemplate or observe what is truly happening, beyond the action. This is a thinking book, and there are not big action pieces; that much is true. I have mentioned there are surprises. Secrets are revealed as well, but they surface through digging into people’s memories, or getting them to recognise the truth, not with a gun or a punch. The way we connect with the characters and the layers upon layers of stories and emotions make for a gripping reading experience but not a light one. I have sometimes read books or watched movies that have such a frenzied pace that I always come out at the other end with the feeling that I’ve missed something, some gap or hole in the plot that I would be able to discover if only I were given some time to breathe and think, but that is not the case here. Even the turns of events you might not have expected are fully grounded and make perfect sense, both action-wise and according to the personality of the protagonists. No big flights of fancy here.
This is a book for those who love psychological thrillers, and courtroom dramas that go beyond the standard formula. Although it is a book with strong roots in England, the British Criminal Justice System and the country’s politics, it is so well-written that it will make readers from everywhere think and will inevitably bring to mind cases and well-known characters at a national and international level. Now that I live in Spain, I could not help but keep thinking about the infamous case of “La manada”, where definitions of sexual crimes have become a hot political potato, for very good reason. The debate that the #MeToo has generated should be kept alive, and anything that contributes to that is useful, and if it is a great book, all the better. 
I know it is silly, but I was happy to discover that I had finished reading the book on exactly the same date when the book comes to an end, 7th of December 2018. I take that as a sign and look forward to reading many more books by the author.
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A book that makes for a very uncomfortable read, the nature of sex, power, entitlement and truth are all exposed in a tough exposure of an anatomy of a scandal. A very apt book in these days of MeToo. It shows how we don’t always know people as well as we think we do.

Character driven if slightly long winded at times! Legal aspects were a bit over done in my opinion but I do understand it was window dressing. The differing perspective and slow unraveling of the plot leaves you feeling very unsettled. It’s that unsettling feeling tha we all have when we realise that we never ever really no everything and we just have to trust.

A good book for this time.
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Been a long time since I had to read a book in one day. Brilliant and spellbinding.
A real page turner and the only thing I dislike is the style of ending but not enough to drop from a 5 star.
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Very good writing, brilliant characters both good and bad and very believable. Rather close to home for certain Bullingdon Club members perhaps...
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I liked the format of this book, it was cleverly written and clearly thought out.
Different characters made this book come to life. Would recommend 
7/10
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Well-written,  biting and topical, and I didn't spot the twist. I loved the university chapters, although I felt the wife's indecision went on a bit long.
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This book was recommend by the Hi-Low show and I was pleased that NetGalley had given me the opportunity to read it. I found the writing style utterly engaging and easy to read - I flew through this book and was pleased to learn how the courtroom setting works.  It is part court room drama and part psychological thriller which I found to be impeccably researched. There are some shocking scenes in this book which are quite eye opening.
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I really enjoyed this book. The characters were well developed and very believable. I enjoyed the flashbacks to earlier years, building the plot layer by layer. Very well written and definitely one for the book club.
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I really enjoyed this book.  It was a good read but slightly different to the usual psychological thriller formula which seems to be getting overused at the moment!  Recommended.
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For those of you that like your novels to build slowly, for the suspense to tick along, page by page, and to then have the odd bit of legal procedure tossed in to the mix, this novel will be for you! 

It's been such a long time since I've read a cracking legal thriller that I was really excited to get into this one. It's been a much hyped up book and I've eagerly awaited its release since first hearing about it. For me, the let-down in regard to this one was that it contained very little courtroom action, and the courtroom scenes that there were, seemed rather pedestrian and lacked the gripping nature of other legal thrillers that I've read.

Having said that, I did enjoy the general story which focuses on Holly, Kate, Sophie and James, and their interactions with each other. This is also a book about abuse and more specifically, about rape. At the heart of this story is a theme that most of us in South Africa understand all too well - how easy it is for people in government and in powerful positions to get away with all sorts of criminal behaviour, and how they seem to be above the law.

I found this novel to be a slow one. It's a good read but it definitely doesn't rocket along. There were stages where I felt that the pace could have been increased somewhat and where, if truth be told, I would skim read a few pages to move the story along. I'm never really a fan of that and what it ultimately means is that although I enjoyed the story, a rating of anything higher than 3 stars couldn't be justified. 

It's a good one, but it's not going to make it onto my list of 2018 favourites.
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This is probably the most gripping novel I have read in a long time. So well-written and full of suspense, I could not put it down. Highly recommend.
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Loved it! Plot was riveting and I was stuck on reading it to the end! Let's just saying didn't put it down.
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It seems that I really don't like Sarah Vaughan's writing, after reading a couple of chapters of Anatomy of a Scandal. I did not at all enjoy what I read of her second novel, The Farm at the Edge of the World, which sounded precisely like something I would love. This novel did not pull me in at all; I found the writing dull, and the narrative voice lacking and unrealistic.
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