Anatomy of a Scandal by Sarah Vaughan

Anatomy of a Scandal by Sarah Vaughan

Emily Bestler Book, December 2017

Disclosure: I received a review copy.

Anatomy of a Scandal is a courtroom thriller more than anything. James Whitehouse, a member of Parliament is on trial for raping a young staff member, and the story switches between Kate’s(the prosecutor) and Sophie’s (his wife) perspectives, with a bit from James’s (the accused) point of view. The story also cover the contemporary criminal case and everyone’s college years.

The cover of my review copy is misleading, a quibble I often have with books. “You want to believe your husband. She wants to destroy him.” That is not this book. There is no direct confrontation between Kate and Sophie. Vaughan does not play clear favorites between those characters. She’s more interested in how everyone is affected by James, both during the criminal case as well as before and after. She’s more interested in how women live in a world where men abuse women both criminally and psychologically. It’s very reflective.

The humiliated politician’s wife shows up in movies and in real life over and over, and this book gets at Sophie’s struggle. And it’s very perceptive about the slitheriness of James, the accused. The longer I am away from the book, the more impressed I am by how damning this story is to him.

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