Book Review: Anatomy of a Scandal, by Sarah Vaughan

anatomy of a scandal
Image belongs to Atria Books.

Sophie has been married to James for years. He’s a successful public figure. She stays at home and cares for their two children. On the outside, they live a charmed life, as part of Britain’s elite society.

Until James is accused of a horrible crime.

Sophie has protected James since college, and is determined to stand by his side as he faces the lies hurled at him now. Then Sophie realizes James’ story doesn’t quite add up, leaving her to question her husband’s version of the truth.

Kate is the lawyer prosecuting James. She knows the only way to win a case is to win the argument. And Kate is determined to win this argument. She believes James is guilty, believes it with knowledge born of experience, and she will stop at nothing to make the truth known.

Anatomy of a Scandal is told in alternating viewpoints and times, with the present-day storyline entwined with the relevant events from college. I have to be honest:  while I felt sorry for Sophie and Kate both, I didn’t actually like any of the characters in this novel. James is horrible: elitist, privileged, arrogant. I knew I wouldn’t like him. But I expected to feel more than sympathy for the female characters. The unfolding of the trial and the college-era timeline was very well-done, but my dislike of the characters colored my perceptions of the book. This is definitely a personal preference, and not an indicator of the book itself.

Sarah Vaughan is a former journalist who now writes fiction. Anatomy of a Scandal is her newest novel.

(Galley provided by Atria Books via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.)

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