Anatomy of a Scandal by Sarah Vaughan

Hi all, here’s my first review! I wanted to review Anatomy of a Scandal because it’s one of my highly anticipated books of 2018. When I first learned about this book in the middle of all the Westminster sex scandals and accusations, I was dying to read it. And when I did, I loved it. So here’s a quick, non-spoiler review for you!

This book could not have come at a more crucial time. Published in the wake of Westminster scandals, rape and assault allegations, Sarah Vaughan brings us the perspectives we are dying to get our hands on. The accuser, the accused, the prosecutor, and the defender, all come together to weave an enticing narrative.

‘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.’

From the minute I picked up Anatomy of a Scandal, I wanted nothing more than to keep hold of it and devour it in one go. The introductions of each character were expertly done, capturing the opposing views of society and Westminster in honest, genuine voices. It’s difficult to read this book without doubting every character, without thinking ‘oh, well, maybe this is the truth’, which makes this book so much more intriguing.

Vaughan is fully engaging and honest in her writing, every detail captured and interrogated. This has happened. This does happen. And the manipulation of defence and prosecution is all too real in the courtroom. It’s hard not to fall under the spell of either side, the stories spun and witnesses questioned in such a way that every page spins your own opinions in so many directions.

Not only do we experience the court case in present day, but we are drawn into the past of the characters, offered new perspectives of their personalities and their growth into adulthood. They are not just accused and accuser; they are people with troublesome experiences and questionable motives. When I was dropped onto the Oxford University campus, I was fully prepared for societal hierarchy and opinionated students, but I got much more than I thought I would with the storylines that unravelled there. I was caught off guard on multiple occasions and I was thrilled by it.

I wish I could say that I had one opinion throughout the entire book, but I’d be lying. Vaughan’s writing is so evocative that I doubted my own opinions of the case as well as those written on the page before me. It was incredible to experience the different perspectives, feel my opinions shifting either way on multiple occasions. I love reading books where I’m caught off guard and my opinions change whether I want them to or not, and Vaughan gave me that turbulent experience.

Anatomy

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