Monday, 26 February 2018

Anatomy of a Scandal by Sarah Vaughan

Anatomy of a Scandal
By Sarah Vaughan
Published by Simon & Schuster (11 January 2018)
I received an Advance Reader Copy from the publisher.

Publisher's description
A high-profile marriage thrust into the spotlight. A wife, determined to keep her family safe, must face a prosecutor who believes justice has been a long time coming. A scandal that will rock Westminster. And the women caught at the heart of it. 
Anatomy of a Scandal centres on a high-profile marriage that begins to unravel when the husband is accused of a terrible crime. Sophie is sure her husband, James, is innocent and desperately hopes to protect her precious family from the lies which might ruin them. Kate is the barrister who will prosecute the case – she is equally certain that James is guilty and determined he will pay for his crimes.

My verdict
When I finished reading Anatomy of a Scandal, I was suffering from flu. I didn't have the brain power to write a full review, so I created a Twitter banner instead.

This Twitter banner really does summarise my thoughts:
'Anatomy of a Scandal is twisty, gripping, thought-provoking, multi-layered, heart-stopping and breath-holding brilliance. Very much a novel of modern times. The writing is sublime. Wow!'

And now I'm attempting to put my thoughts into something longer and more coherent. But I'm still struggling as there's so much I want to say and I don't feel I can do this book justice. I'm not mentioning anything about the plot (so no spoilers) and I'm not mentioning specific characters either - but I am mentioning the themes.

Anatomy of a Scandal is a courtroom drama combined with psychological thriller. It's a believable and gripping dissection of an affair and a marriage, a window into the lives of politicians and barristers and a thought-provoking insight into class divide. There's the topical 'Me Too' theme, about the strength of women and issues surrounding consent. This multi-layered plot is filled with moral dilemmas and themes of revenge, truth, lies and privilege.

For me, my enjoyment of the book wasn't about the twists, shocks and surprises - that doesn't mean there aren't any, but I did guess certain things. Instead, I appreciated how much this book got right under my skin, right until the end. And how it raised so many questions.

I read Anatomy of a Scandal with another reader, stopping after a few chapters and discussing our thoughts. I'm so glad that I read it in this way, as this book needs to be discussed and dissected,. Anatomy of a Scandal is a perfect choice for a reading group/book club, and the type of book that I would read again and again.

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