Anatomy of a Scandal
An astonishingly incisive and suspenseful novel about a scandal amongst Britain’s privileged elite and the women caught up in its wake.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?

Anatomy of a Scandal Details

TitleAnatomy of a Scandal
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseJan 23rd, 2018
PublisherAtria/Emily Bestler Books
ISBN-139781501172168
Rating
GenreMystery, Fiction, Thriller, Suspense

Anatomy of a Scandal Review

  • Chelsea Humphrey
    January 1, 1970
    Sophie never thought of her husband as a liar. She knows he dissembles, yes. That's part of his job... A prerequisite, even, to being a government minister. But she has never imagined he would lie to her. Or rather, that he might have a life she knows nothing about: a secret that could detonate beneath her lovingly maintained world and blow it apart forever. Another excellent and timely read folks! Anatomy of a Scandal was brilliant and will likely be well-accepted by the crowd who enjoys their Sophie never thought of her husband as a liar. She knows he dissembles, yes. That's part of his job... A prerequisite, even, to being a government minister. But she has never imagined he would lie to her. Or rather, that he might have a life she knows nothing about: a secret that could detonate beneath her lovingly maintained world and blow it apart forever. Another excellent and timely read folks! Anatomy of a Scandal was brilliant and will likely be well-accepted by the crowd who enjoys their crime fiction to feature slow burning suspense with heavy doses of legal procedure. As I read this novel, I couldn't help but notice the apparent experience Vaughan has in this area. The quality of writing and the unfolding of the plot were done so well that only someone who has lived and breathed a part of this world could fashion such details and emotions. This is another suspenseful story featuring a nice twist, so you'll want to stay away from spoilers and know as little as possible going in to receive the maximum benefit of the wow factor.She tries to pretend it is never said, but the night is still and the quad empty."I'm telling the truth-and I think you know it."This entire book circles around the theme of whether or not a person can get away with their transgressions simply because they are privileged, and if so, how many people are willing to bury their head in the sand convincingly. I don't want to touch on any plot specifics, as it's too spoilery, but I will say that there are many facets to what appears as a straightforward story. We have an idea of what happens in the beginning, and as more evidence and flashbacks are added to our arsenal, the evidence points in many directions to many different things. This isn't a story intent on making you to feel sorry for a rapist, or trying to get you to understand what went wrong in his life to cause him to do this; here we more have a story of those around the accused and how they are and were affected by the claims against him. James is immediately an unlikable character in my opinion, and I was glad to not have the distraction of trying to force myself into feeling sorry for him.He is watching me, closely, and it's as if he knows exactly what I need to hear. And, though I know the law does not always punish the guilty...I also know that, in the court of public opinion, things are rather different and more than one morally questionable act seems more than a coincidence can-if uttered sufficiently often and loudly-completely ruin a man. This book won't be for everyone, and if you enjoy your thrillers to be action packed with nail-biting suspense, this probably won't be your cuppa. If you, however, enjoy slow burning drama full of satisfying plot and meaty characters, give this one a try. While the plots are a bit different, I received the same feeling after finishing Anatomy of a Scandal as I did with He Said/She Said by Erin Kelly. I do believe this type of book will be relevant for many years to come, and while I thoroughly enjoyed reading this one and wish the author much success, I do hope and dream of a day where it's message of warning and privilege becomes irrelevant. Well done and can't wait to see more from Sarah Vaughan!*Many thanks to the publisher for providing my copy; it was a pleasure to provide my honest thoughts here. 
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  • Jeffrey Keeten
    January 1, 1970
    ”But the truth is, women are often scared of antagonizing their assailants or they feel conflicted; not so very long ago they may have been charmed by them. And we women aim to please. It is hardwired into us that we should placate and mollify---bend our will to that of men. Oh, some of us have fought against that, and we’re seen as hard-nosed, difficult, assertive, shrewish. We pay the penalty. Why don’t I have a proper, live-in partner? It’s not just because I’m unsure if I can trust anyone su ”But the truth is, women are often scared of antagonizing their assailants or they feel conflicted; not so very long ago they may have been charmed by them. And we women aim to please. It is hardwired into us that we should placate and mollify---bend our will to that of men. Oh, some of us have fought against that, and we’re seen as hard-nosed, difficult, assertive, shrewish. We pay the penalty. Why don’t I have a proper, live-in partner? It’s not just because I’m unsure if I can trust anyone sufficiently. It’s because I refuse to compromise. I refuse to woman up, you might say.”Compromise is not necessarily a bad word, especially if the needs of both parties involved are weighed equally. Unfortunately, compromise has been a word that has been applied more to women than men. Women, through the years, have been somewhat enablers to men’s bad behavior, but they also have not felt empowered enough to say no. Inequality of pay, glass ceilings, social perceptions of their role, and systematic brainwashing have layered into their psyche a fine webbing of insecurities, which makes them much easier to subjugate. Those women who break free, and frankly even the most aggressive of women have only made small advances, are usually marginalized by friends, family, and coworkers. Don’t you want a boyfriend? Don’t you want to get married? Don’t you want to have kids? Then play by the rules. Historically, power is never given. It has to be taken. “Men” are not going to give up their power just because women ask nicely. Recent headlines have shown us that we are on a verge of a revolution. The question will be, will women be able to push it as far as it needs to go, or will they end up having to compromise once again?So where does the trouble begin? Maybe it begins with a belief. We are invincible, fucking invincible, James thought….”That is our man James Whitehouse, a man of abundant wealth, charm, and hunkiness. At Oxford, he was on the rowing team and walked around campus like a Greek god. He was a member of a group called the Libertines, and they did their best to live up to the name of the club. For those who may not know the definition of a Libertine, here it is: a person, especially a man, who behaves without moral principles or a sense of responsibility, especially in sexual matters. The young men in this group felt fully empowered to embrace the hedonistic implications as a mandate... nay, as a right of their social status. You see, they are rich.To give you an example: at a restaurant, they get rip roaring drunk and start breaking the glassware. They are too drunk to drink anymore, but decide that they will still pour the rest of the Bollingers on hand at the restaurant (they call it Bolly) down the drain. The type of wastefulness that puts my teeth on edge. They can afford to do anything they want to do and be whatever they want to be. James is paired up with Sophie, well, and with every other girl he can get horizontal or at least backed up against a wall for a good round of thrusts. Sophie is beautiful with long legs, long blonde hair, a fit rowing body, and a pristine pedigree. She would make the perfect wife for a man with his eye on a political career. As wonderful and gasp worthy as their life seems to be, I’ve found that, whether people sit on golden toilets or cracked porcelain, the human elements of existence still always come into play. Sophie, with two kids now and a husband on the rise in politics, is going to have to make a choice. ”You want to believe your husband. She wants to destroy him.”The she is the barrister Kate Woodcroft, who is carrying more baggage than a 747. She receives the file on the young blond assistant, who says that James Whitehouse raped her in a lift, and the bitter smile of opportunity curls the edges of Kate’s lips. Cases like this come down to who the jury will believe and who the jury likes the best. Sexual assault or rape rarely have witnesses, so it amounts to the he said/she said arguments, and who said what, and who heard what. Does no mean NO, or does no mean maybe? Who wouldn’t want to have sex with James Whitehouse? He is dreamy, after all. Even as the case seems to be straight forward, preordained even, Sarah Vaughan has loaded into the plot a burning Molotov cocktail that, when it goes off, brings new meaning to revenge served cold. Switching to different narrators with each new chapter leads to new revelations that land like body blows as it becomes more and more clear how those who feel entitled are playing by different rules than the rest of us. This is a story that could have easily been splashed across the headlines of The Guardian, The Sun, The Daily Mail or The Evening Standard. With all the sexual scandals rocking Hollywood, journalism, and politics in the United States, there have been many interesting, and sometimes heated, discussions in my household about all the nuances of the numerous accusations being made against various powerful men. I’m sure the same has been happening all across the United States in other households, as well. Hopefully, not too many men are finding themselves banished to the couch or the back bedroom. This is a book that would be interesting for couples to read together to encourage discussion of the numerous aspects that surround these issues that obviously deserve and need more understanding. I want to thank Atria Books for supplying me with an Advance Reading Copy in exchange for an honest review. If you wish to see more of my most recent book and movie reviews, visit http://www.jeffreykeeten.comI also have a Facebook blogger page at:https://www.facebook.com/JeffreyKeeten
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  • Arah-Lynda
    January 1, 1970
    As the title suggests this is the story of a scandal, that happened some years ago among Britain's elite citizenry. In fact it involves a Junior Minister in the House of Commons, one James Whitehouse. I’m sure we have all met men like James: tall, good looking, suave and charismatic, uncommonly gifted, able to work a room and have most everyone eating from his hands. Yet here he stands before us in a Court of Law accused of one of the most heinous crimes one can commit against another. The burde As the title suggests this is the story of a scandal, that happened some years ago among Britain's elite citizenry. In fact it involves a Junior Minister in the House of Commons, one James Whitehouse. I’m sure we have all met men like James: tall, good looking, suave and charismatic, uncommonly gifted, able to work a room and have most everyone eating from his hands. Yet here he stands before us in a Court of Law accused of one of the most heinous crimes one can commit against another. The burden of proof is on the prosecutor and she does not accept it lightly. It is a difficult crime to bring to justice where often the victim becomes more sullied than the perpetrator. Kate stands absolute in her resolve to see justice done. As contemporary readers I think we can become a little jaded. I mean I have read ever so many graphic portrayals of criminal and inhumane acts. What Vaughn did here was to navigate these treacherous waters without once resorting to sensationalism. In fact she demonstrates remarkable restraint in sharing the specifics of this heinous act with us, without compromising our intimate understanding of the crime. A remarkable achievement although, at times I felt she could have unleashed her prose a little, just enough to jar and keep the reader uncomfortable with that part of the narrative. But that is a minor concern.Sadly one of the things that really brings this story home, is that it happens all too often, still, all over the world. There is no Hollywood in this story and that is how it should be. There is no Hollywood in this hideous crime.Ooops I neglected to thank Simon & Schuster, Sarah Vaughn and NetGalley for an opportunity to read an advance copy. Expected publication on Dec. 5, 2017.
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  • Linda
    January 1, 1970
    The process of reconstructing one's life......Brick by brick. Story by story. Lie built upon lie.We all leave our footprints planted in the ground of our past. Do we even recognize their familiar forms when trampled on time and again by others? Blurred attempts both intentional and not.Kate Woodcroft pours herself a stout one to mellow out the night. Being a barrister in London assigned to difficult cases involving violence of a sexual nature has an ember that is only accelerated by that drink. The process of reconstructing one's life......Brick by brick. Story by story. Lie built upon lie.We all leave our footprints planted in the ground of our past. Do we even recognize their familiar forms when trampled on time and again by others? Blurred attempts both intentional and not.Kate Woodcroft pours herself a stout one to mellow out the night. Being a barrister in London assigned to difficult cases involving violence of a sexual nature has an ember that is only accelerated by that drink. A hot bath eases the knots, but it hardly loosens the mental ties that bind Kate's overburdened heart and weary soul.The next day brings with it a case that drops both the jaw and the legal file. James Whitehouse, a government minister, has been charged with rape. The accusations have been brought to court by Olivia Lytton, a parliamentory researcher, who works in James' office. Kate will represent Olivia. But who is presenting a true face lined with the honesty of facts and real happenings? Which one of these individuals has danced one too many times leaving footprints of a shady past?Sarah Vaughan presents a storyline which weaves back and forth in time. Oxford becomes the focal point of the story's rapid pulse in which each character has a connecting line to the others. These spokes of the wheel move forward into actions that have been concealed for questionable reasons on all of their parts. Just how long can lips be sealed?Vaughan does a spanking great job with her dialogue during the trial. That's the sizzle of the book. The characters are many and each is embedded with flaws of the past that seep into the present. The ending, though clever, seemed a tad contrived for its outcome. But Vaughan does have her finger on the pulse of the action. All in all, this was an engaging read by a very talented author.My thanks to NetGalley, Atria Books, and to Sarah Vaughan for the opportunity to read Anatomy of a Scandal for an honest review.
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  • Holly B
    January 1, 1970
    *4.5*An clever, scandalous, courtroom drama! I was obsessed from start to finish.It has all the elements that make a story compelling to me. The vivid characters with the added appeal of having their POV written with emotion and details that bring them to life. The characters were intriguing and would definitely have enjoyed discussing this with someone while reading it together. The plot was perfectly thought out with an explosive twist! The ending was also very satisfying and left me feeling e *4.5*An clever, scandalous, courtroom drama! I was obsessed from start to finish.It has all the elements that make a story compelling to me. The vivid characters with the added appeal of having their POV written with emotion and details that bring them to life. The characters were intriguing and would definitely have enjoyed discussing this with someone while reading it together. The plot was perfectly thought out with an explosive twist! The ending was also very satisfying and left me feeling emotional.Kate is the Queens Court prosecutor. She is determined to win this case against the defendant James. She knows it will be difficult because he is a high profile politician (very timely as of today!) and works closely with the Prime Minister. He is also very handsome, athletic and charming. His wife, Sophie, seems to be making excuses for his bad behavior and is standing tall beside him throughout his trial. If you enjoy highly entertaining courtroom drama that will keep you absorbed with wanting to know the outcome, then you may enjoy this one! Highly recommend!Thanks so much Atria for my copy in exchange for my honest review.
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  • Carol
    January 1, 1970
    4.5 Stars. Addictive writing....Secrets....Lies....and a Perfectly Satisfying last line! Kate Woodcroft is a QC (Queen's Court) Barrister for the prosecution of sex crimes in London, and she just lost a case...not something that happens often. She likes to win and plans on doing just that with the scandalous high-profile case of a charming, handsome and manipulative politician....JM (Junior Minister) James Whitehouse.ANATOMY OF A SCANDAL takes the reader back in time 25 years to meet some of Kat 4.5 Stars. Addictive writing....Secrets....Lies....and a Perfectly Satisfying last line! Kate Woodcroft is a QC (Queen's Court) Barrister for the prosecution of sex crimes in London, and she just lost a case...not something that happens often. She likes to win and plans on doing just that with the scandalous high-profile case of a charming, handsome and manipulative politician....JM (Junior Minister) James Whitehouse.ANATOMY OF A SCANDAL takes the reader back in time 25 years to meet some of Kate's college friends with smooth and engrossing transitions that show a different side of Kate bringing past and present together with surprising reveals and dark secrets.Sarah Vaughan is a new author for me. One I won't soon forget.Many thanks to NetGalley and Atria/Emily Bestler Books for the ARC in exchange for an unbiased review.
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  • Diane S ☔
    January 1, 1970
    3.5 A case that could be taken from the daily headlines in the United States. A politician is being charged with rape, a man who is a long time friend and has the long time support of the prime minister. A man who is married, with two children, a family who he swears he loves. A man who readily confesses to having an affair with the claimant, but insists the sexual act was consensual.A very slow paced book, in fact I do believe there were some incidences that could have been cut, but that is onl 3.5 A case that could be taken from the daily headlines in the United States. A politician is being charged with rape, a man who is a long time friend and has the long time support of the prime minister. A man who is married, with two children, a family who he swears he loves. A man who readily confesses to having an affair with the claimant, but insists the sexual act was consensual.A very slow paced book, in fact I do believe there were some incidences that could have been cut, but that is only my opinion, and one many of my fellow readers in the sisters group shared. The judge, who has a big secret, the wife who can't believe her husband is guilty, and the politician himself who shares a big secret from college years with the prime minister. Though much of the plot followed the expected form, arrogance and shove the law attitudes, but there are some unexpected occurrences that made this more interesting and maddening at the same time.I found the most interesting element was the changes both the judge and the wife go through. Of course, there is one thing that is not credible, and this lessened the impact and shock value of one unveiling of a secret, so this ended up being a good read but one in which the reader has to have some patience and a willingness to go where the author wants to take one.ARC from Edelweiss.
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  • Carol (Bookaria)
    January 1, 1970
    You will not know who to believe in this novel of intrigue and past secrets.James Whitehouse is a a successful politician who has been married to his wife Sophie for over a decade. Both are attractive, attended Oxford and are respected members of their community. One day James is accused of rape, the victim is a young researcher that works in James's office.  She also had an affair with the accused that ended abruptly two weeks before the event took place.Your job (if you decided to take it) is You will not know who to believe in this novel of intrigue and past secrets.James Whitehouse is a a successful politician who has been married to his wife Sophie for over a decade. Both are attractive, attended Oxford and are respected members of their community. One day James is accused of rape, the victim is a young researcher that works in James's office.  She also had an affair with the accused that ended abruptly two weeks before the event took place.Your job (if you decided to take it) is to go over the evidence presented in the narrative and decide whether James is guilty of the charge or the victim of lies by a wounded ex-lover. This is a character-oriented novel that takes place in England. I love legal thrillers and this one provided excellent details of the Court system in the UK and about the matter of consent.  The novel alternates between the present and the past and is narrated from the points of view of different characters. It was interesting, intriguing and suspenseful.Overall I liked it and recommend it to readers of legal thrillers.Thanks to NetGalley, Atria and Sarah Vaughan for an advance copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Esil
    January 1, 1970
    A high 4 stars!So incredibly timely... Sarah Vaughan may have been prescient when she decided to write Anatomy of a Scandal, but this book sure resonates with the MeToo surge of focus on sexual assault and harassment, especially involving men abusing positions of power.But no one should be deterred from reading this one for fear that it's an easy attempt to cash in on a hot topic or for fear that it's violent or graphically exploitative of the topic. On the contrary... Vaughan took care in writi A high 4 stars!So incredibly timely... Sarah Vaughan may have been prescient when she decided to write Anatomy of a Scandal, but this book sure resonates with the MeToo surge of focus on sexual assault and harassment, especially involving men abusing positions of power.But no one should be deterred from reading this one for fear that it's an easy attempt to cash in on a hot topic or for fear that it's violent or graphically exploitative of the topic. On the contrary... Vaughan took care in writing this well crafted story. Part of the story takes place at Oxford in the mid 1990s and part of it takes place today in London. It's not really a mystery or a thriller, but there are elements best discovered as you read, so I don't want to say too much about the story. But I will say that it focuses on the triangular dynamics between a very privileged man, his protective wife and the women he sees as being at his disposal. The dynamics are depicted as they existed in the 1990s and again as they are replicated today. Vaughan gets into everyone's head, not making excuses but exploring the arrogance and denial that come with privilege, and the twisted guilt and uncertainty that can come with being a victim. Vaughan is a strong engaging writer. Highly recommended, and again there's no need to worry about graphic violence. Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for an opportunity to read an advance copy.
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  • Zoe
    January 1, 1970
    Intricate, dark, and compelling!Anatomy of a Scandal is a gripping tale that reminds us that justice may not always be blind in the face of privilege, politics, charisma, and power and that rape has devastating and enduring emotional and psychological effects on its victims.The story is told from differing perspectives; James, a handsome, entitled politician accused of a heinous crime; Sophie, a dependable, intelligent wife who believes in her husband's innocence; and Kate the tough, tenacious b Intricate, dark, and compelling!Anatomy of a Scandal is a gripping tale that reminds us that justice may not always be blind in the face of privilege, politics, charisma, and power and that rape has devastating and enduring emotional and psychological effects on its victims.The story is told from differing perspectives; James, a handsome, entitled politician accused of a heinous crime; Sophie, a dependable, intelligent wife who believes in her husband's innocence; and Kate the tough, tenacious barrister who wholeheartedly knows he's guilty.The characters are multilayered and well developed with some wounded and resilient and others ostentatious, arrogant, and callous. And the plot uses a past/present, back-and-forth style to create tension and suspense as it subtly unravels the personalities, motivations, and histories of all those within it.Anatomy of a Scandal is ultimately a novel about marriage, over indulgence, consent, scandal, revenge, deception, adultery, social status, rape, and the British legal system and is certainly an excellent, highly entertaining debut for Vaughan.Thank you to Atria Books for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.All my reviews can be found on my blog at http://whatsbetterthanbooks.com
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