Anatomy of a Scandal
Atria/Emily Bestler Books
January 2, 2018
Advanced Reader Copy
Publisher via BookishFirst
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?
I read a preview of this one through the BookishFirst site, and requested a copy. Imagine my surprise when I realized that this author also wrote one of my previous 5 star reads The Art of Baking Blind (click for review)! I say that I was surprised because this book did not seem like the same sort of genre, but it was obvious when I finished this one that Sarah Vaughan can write a fantastic story no matter the subject matter! Even though this is a thriller, it's definitely a slow burn type (generally my favorite). I like to have more character driven than plot driven thrillers. That's not to say that this one doesn't have plenty of twists and turns, but the characters are very well fleshed out and made the story just that much more enjoyable for me. I particularly liked Sophie, who I thought was very believable as she grapples with what to do about her marriage, and how she lost sight of herself through the years. Part of the novel takes place in a courtroom, which I am also usually intrigued with. The writing was sharp, the characters were well done, and the story after a bit of a slow start, was fast paced and engaging. While not the ending exactly as I had hoped, I was satisfied and felt it was tied up nicely.
After a bit of a slow start while the characters are introduced, this book is a fabulous character study of the people involved in a scandal. Well worth the read, especially if you like a bit of substance rather than just twists with your thrillers.