When choosing a novel, I am typically drawn to anything involving courtroom drama or a he said/she said type storyline. When I discovered that Anatomy of a Scandal, the new novel by Sarah Vaughan, had these exact two things within its storyline, I was sold! Up to the top of my TBR pile, it went.
The novel opens with the introduction of James: loving father, Member of Parliament and accused rapist. His wife, Sophie, is shocked at the accusations and is desperate to protect her family. Kate, the lawyer hired to prosecute the case, is certain James is guilty and should pay for his crimes. As all three viewpoints collide, Vaughan weaves a tale of love, betrayal, deceit and revenge.
When I started reading, I was completely hooked from the first few pages. In fact, I flew through Anatomy of a Scandal within a couple of sittings. Vaughan’s narrative voice is completely addictive and I found myself loving the characters; I found Sophie and Kate to be extremely relatable. Vaughan did a spectacular job at making her characters jump off the pages; there was nothing superficial about them. Instead, Vaughan seemed to delve deep and I found myself completely engrossed as their stories developed. While I loved the female characters, James, on the other hand, I hated from the moment I was introduced to him. Conniving and powerful, I felt like I couldn’t trust him for a second. I loved this juxtaposition within the writing! Having characters I loved and characters I abhorred kept me on the edge of my seat!
As for twists, I felt as if the story was pretty surface. I was able to guess where it was going almost immediately but that didn’t disturb or affect my reading at all. In fact, it made me more curious to see exactly how the story was going to play out.
I think my favourite part of the novel was how relevant it was. With all that is going on in the world involving rape culture, women’s rights and Hollywood/political scandals, I felt as if Anatomy of a Scandal did an amazing job at portraying the system surrounding these issues and what needs to change.
Overall, I really enjoyed Anatomy of a Scandal. If you are looking for a character-centric, slow burn that will get you thinking and leave you feeling, then you will enjoy this one too! However, if you are looking for an extremely fast-paced, thrill ride type of novel this one will likely disappoint.
I gave it 4/5 stars.
Thanks to the author (Sarah Vaughan), the publisher (Atria/Simon and Schuster Canada) and Netgalley for copies of this novel; it was my pleasure to provide an honest review.
Obviously, #cjsreads had to make this one of our January picks! Keep reading to see what Jessica and Chandra thought!
What Chandra Thought:
What Jessica Thought:
When a thriller novel starts to gain a lot of hype leading up to release day, you always have to try and go into it without having that high expectation. Well, ANATOMY OF A SCANDAL by Sarah Vaughan definitely earned that hype! A he said/she said thriller meets courtroom drama make for an engrossing read.
James is the perfect man – handsome, charismatic, and a respected and successful member of Parliament. However, he now stands accused of rape. Sophie, James’ wife, is completely convinced that he is innocent of the allegations and is prepared to defend her family against everything. We are also introduced to Kate. She is the prosecutor for James’ case and is sure that he is guilty and wants to make sure he pays for his crime.
I love how the he said/she said thrillers always unfold. Going from character to character and hearing their sides of the story. The reader never truly knows who to believe! In this book we get to see through James’ eyes, Sophie’s, and Kate’s as the investigation and trial progress. We also get a glimpse into James and Sophie’s past when they met at Oxford and suspicious events that occurred with Holly, Sophie’s tutorial partner.
Both Kate and Sophie are very relatable and likeable characters. You felt for Sophie and the situation she was thrust in and then you can’t wait to see what new information Kate uncovers. James is the complete opposite. If you like a character to hate in a novel, then this one won’t disappoint! He definitely uses his influence, good looks, and charm to get his way.
Overall, if you want a good suspense read with some courtroom drama and a he said/she said theme, then you’ll need to have this on your TBR. With such a relevant topic for today, I’m always curious how authors will approach rape and the events following such a crime. If you want a slow burn suspense that will keep you pulled in, then this is the book for you! If you’re wanting more of an edge-of-your-seat thriller, then this might fall short.
I give this a solid 4/5 stars!