Anatomy of a Scandal

Anatomy of a Scandal

Sophie’s husband James is a loving father, a handsome man, a charismatic and successful public figure. And yet he stands accused of a terrible crime. Sophie is convinced he is innocent and desperate to protect her precious family from the lies that threaten to rip them apart.Kate is the lawyer hired to prosecute the case: an experienced professional who knows that the law...

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Title:Anatomy of a Scandal
Author:Sarah Vaughan
Rating:
Edition Language:English

Anatomy of a Scandal Reviews

  • Holly  B

    *4.5*

    An clever, scandalous, courtroom drama! I was obsessed from start to finish.

    It has all the elements that make a story compelling to me. The vivid characters with the added appeal of having their POV written with emotion and details that bring them to life. The characters were intriguing and would definitely have enjoyed discussing this with someone while reading it together. The plot was perfectly thought out with an explosive twist! The ending was also very satisfying and left me feeling e

    *4.5*

    An clever, scandalous, courtroom drama! I was obsessed from start to finish.

    It has all the elements that make a story compelling to me. The vivid characters with the added appeal of having their POV written with emotion and details that bring them to life. The characters were intriguing and would definitely have enjoyed discussing this with someone while reading it together. The plot was perfectly thought out with an explosive twist! The ending was also very satisfying and left me feeling emotional.

    Kate is the Queens Court prosecutor. She is determined to win this case against the defendant James. She knows it will be difficult because he is a high profile politician (very timely as of today!) and works closely with the Prime Minister. He is also very handsome, athletic and charming. His wife, Sophie, seems to be making excuses for his bad behavior and is standing tall beside him throughout his trial.

    If you enjoy highly entertaining courtroom drama that will keep you absorbed with wanting to know the outcome, then you may enjoy this one! Highly recommend for fans of legal fiction.

    Thanks so much Atria for my copy in exchange for my honest review.

  • Elyse

    I was completely captivated, intrigued, and fascinated, with this fast-paced intelligent, timely and relevant novel.

    James Whitehouse is a member of the Parliament, and until he was charged with

    rape —( at the point of penetration, did James understand that Olivia Clarissa Lytton did not consent to sex?), he was a junior minister in the government. He is married to Sophie whom he has two children with.

    James admits his adultery to Sophie ‘before’ the story breaks out to the public. His affair was

    I was completely captivated, intrigued, and fascinated, with this fast-paced intelligent, timely and relevant novel.

    James Whitehouse is a member of the Parliament, and until he was charged with

    rape —( at the point of penetration, did James understand that Olivia Clarissa Lytton did not consent to sex?), he was a junior minister in the government. He is married to Sophie whom he has two children with.

    James admits his adultery to Sophie ‘before’ the story breaks out to the public. His affair was only sex - an affair which only lasted 5 months - it was his only time he cheated in their twelve years of marriage ( well not counting all the times he cheated back in college when they were an item). The sex he had with Olivia meant ‘nothing’....and HE ended it! HOW BIG of HIM!

    And why does James TELL HIS WIFE THAT HE’s a cheating scum-bag? ONLY ONE REASON: HE GOT CAUGHT! His high- profile goody-two-shoes-reputation is at risk. AND THAT’S BEFORE BEING ACCUSED OF RAPE.

    James already showed his character-colors very early in this novel. The marriage started off with major red flags. WHY DO WOMEN THINK SO LITTLE OF THEMSELVES TO ‘EXCUSE’ SEXUAL CHEATING?

    I THINK I LOVE AUTHOR SARAH VAUGHAN! Awesome novel! Women ought to being getting fired up - not reading this like ho-hum-ho-hum....heard this before. This novel has many thought- provoking opportunities!!!

    Much to be furious about: HAVEN’T WOMEN HAD ENOUGH OF MEN BEING SEXUAL SLIM horny boy VULTURES?

    MEN.......MOVE OVER....

    ........Women are going to be kicking you in the balls harder than you’ve ever experienced— the old school B.S. isn’t going to fly forever —-WOMEN ARE FINDING THEIR VOICE - EXPRESSING THEIR POWER - and they don’t give a damn how hotsie-totsie good looking and charming ‘he’ is. THE TIME HAS COME TO PUT AN END TO ‘Boy’s-will-be-boys’.....GAME OVER!!!

    THIS NOVEL opens a window into the sexual battles between men and women. It’s clear men have had the upper hand through history...but maybe -maybe - books like these empower both men and women to come together - respect each other with equal dignity ...and drop the power games. (unless of course it’s ‘clearly’ an adult consented game).

    Olivia Lytton was James parliamentary researcher. They had a consensual relationship- embarked on an affair. Olivia believed she was in love with him. James ended the relationship- told her he needed to be with his family.

    Yet—- a week after their affair, they had sexual intercourse once again- in a lift off the committee corridor in the heart of the House of Commons. There is no dispute that this event took place — both sides acknowledge it.

    What *is* the dispute is the nature of it.

    WAS THIS, IN FACT, RAPE....or as the defense will submit, AN ACT OF PASSION, A FRENZIED BOUT OF LOVEMAKING by two individuals caught up in the moment?

    We will hear evidence from both sides!!! Other than the Judge Luckhurst’s need to “adjourn” when ‘he’ gets uncomfortable in his courtroom when things get intense — prosecuting barrister, Kate Woodcroft and defense barrister, Angela Regan each assert, maneuver, disclose, argue, dismiss, and convince their side aimed toward the jury. Is James innocent or guilty?

    “Rape, like domestic violence, happens across our classes, could happen to each and everyone of us”.

    Cautionary story includes.......

    Anatomy of Secrets.....

    Anatomy of the Wealthy and privileged.....

    Anatomy of Arrogant- callous-elite spineless power hungry narcissists

    Anatomy of Political sex scandal....

    Anatomy of a British Courtroom drama....

    Anatomy of of a marriage....

    Anatomy of Scrutinize Old Memories- and how they are never forgotten.

    Anatomy of ‘he said/she said’ suspense.....

    “ANATOMY OF A SCANDAL”.....IS IT ABOUT JUSTICE OR WINNING?

    Terrific book club discussion pick!!!

    Thank You Netgalley, Atria Books, and Sarah Vaughan

  • Chelsea Humphrey

    Another excellent and timely read folks! 

     was brilliant and will likely be well-accepted by the crowd who enjoys their

    Another excellent and timely read folks! 

     was brilliant and will likely be well-accepted by the crowd who enjoys their crime fiction to feature slow burning suspense with heavy doses of legal procedure. As I read this novel, I couldn't help but notice the apparent experience Vaughan has in this area. The quality of writing and the unfolding of the plot were done so well that only someone who has lived and breathed a part of this world could fashion such details and emotions. This is another suspenseful story featuring a nice twist, so you'll want to stay away from spoilers and know as little as possible going in to receive the maximum benefit of the wow factor.

    This entire book circles around the theme of whether or not a person can get away with their transgressions simply because they are privileged, and if so, how many people are willing to bury their head in the sand convincingly. I don't want to touch on any plot specifics, as it's too spoilery, but I will say that there are many facets to what appears as a straightforward story. We have an idea of what happens in the beginning, and as more evidence and flashbacks are added to our arsenal, the evidence points in many directions to many different things. This isn't a story intent on making you to feel sorry for a rapist, or trying to get you to understand what went wrong in his life to cause him to do this; here we more have a story of those around the accused and how they are and were affected by the claims against him. James is immediately an unlikable character in my opinion, and I was glad to not have the distraction of trying to force myself into feeling sorry for him.

    This book won't be for everyone, and if you enjoy your thrillers to be action packed with nail-biting suspense, this probably won't be your cuppa. If you, however, enjoy slow burning drama full of satisfying plot and meaty characters, give this one a try. While the plots are a bit different, I received the same feeling after finishing 

     as I did with 

     by Erin Kelly. I do believe this type of book will be relevant for many years to come, and while I thoroughly enjoyed reading this one and wish the author much success, I do hope and dream of a day where it's message of warning and privilege becomes irrelevant. Well done and can't wait to see more from

    !

  • Carol
  • Arah-Lynda

    As the title suggests this is the story of a scandal, that happened some years ago among Britain's elite citizenry. In fact it involves a Junior Minister in the House of Commons, one James Whitehouse. I’m sure we have all met men like James: tall, good looking, suave and charismatic, uncommonly gifted, able to work a room and have most everyone eating from his hands. Yet here he stands before us in a Court of Law accused of one of the most heinous crimes one can commit against another. The burde

    As the title suggests this is the story of a scandal, that happened some years ago among Britain's elite citizenry. In fact it involves a Junior Minister in the House of Commons, one James Whitehouse. I’m sure we have all met men like James: tall, good looking, suave and charismatic, uncommonly gifted, able to work a room and have most everyone eating from his hands. Yet here he stands before us in a Court of Law accused of one of the most heinous crimes one can commit against another. The burden of proof is on the prosecutor and she does not accept it lightly. It is a difficult crime to bring to justice where often the victim becomes more sullied than the perpetrator. Kate stands absolute in her resolve to see justice done.

    As contemporary readers I think we can become a little jaded. I mean I have read ever so many graphic portrayals of criminal and inhumane acts. What Vaughn did here was to navigate these treacherous waters without once resorting to sensationalism. In fact she demonstrates remarkable restraint in sharing the specifics of this heinous act with us, without compromising our intimate understanding of the crime. A remarkable achievement although, at times I felt she could have unleashed her prose a little, just enough to jar and keep the reader uncomfortable with that part of the narrative. But that is a minor concern.

    Sadly one of the things that really brings this story home, is that it happens all too often, still, all over the world. There is no Hollywood in this story and that is how it should be. There is no Hollywood in this hideous crime.

    Ooops I neglected to thank Simon & Schuster, Sarah Vaughn and NetGalley for an opportunity to read an advance copy. Expected publication on Dec. 5, 2017.

  • Linda

    The process of reconstructing one's life......

    Brick by brick. Story by story. Lie built upon lie.

    We all leave our footprints planted in the ground of our past. Do we even recognize their familiar forms when trampled on time and again by others? Blurred attempts both intentional and not.

    Kate Woodcroft pours herself a stout one to mellow out the night. Being a barrister in London assigned to difficult cases involving violence of a sexual nature has an ember that is only accelerated by that drink.

    The process of reconstructing one's life......

    Brick by brick. Story by story. Lie built upon lie.

    We all leave our footprints planted in the ground of our past. Do we even recognize their familiar forms when trampled on time and again by others? Blurred attempts both intentional and not.

    Kate Woodcroft pours herself a stout one to mellow out the night. Being a barrister in London assigned to difficult cases involving violence of a sexual nature has an ember that is only accelerated by that drink. A hot bath eases the knots, but it hardly loosens the mental ties that bind Kate's overburdened heart and weary soul.

    The next day brings with it a case that drops both the jaw and the legal file. James Whitehouse, a government minister, has been charged with rape. The accusations have been brought to court by Olivia Lytton, a parliamentory researcher, who works in James' office. Kate will represent Olivia. But who is presenting a true face lined with the honesty of facts and real happenings? Which one of these individuals has danced one too many times leaving footprints of a shady past?

    Sarah Vaughan presents a storyline which weaves back and forth in time. Oxford becomes the focal point of the story's rapid pulse in which each character has a connecting line to the others. These spokes of the wheel move forward into actions that have been concealed for questionable reasons on all of their parts. Just how long can lips be sealed?

    Vaughan does a spanking great job with her dialogue during the trial. That's the sizzle of the book. The characters are many and each is embedded with flaws of the past that seep into the present. The ending, though clever, seemed a tad contrived for its outcome. But Vaughan does have her finger on the pulse of the action. All in all, this was an engaging read by a very talented author.

    My thanks to NetGalley, Atria Books, and to Sarah Vaughan for the opportunity to read Anatomy of a Scandal for an honest review.

  • karen

    NOW AVAILABLE!!

    i thought this was going to be another domestic suspense book - a story of crime and marriage full of misleading clues to veer the reader off course, with lies and secrets and conflicting unreliable narrators. and it sort of is, but it’s much broader in scope and less circuitous in structure.

    with a kaleidoscope of sexual misconduct allegations making up the backdrop of any given day’s news lately, this is certainly a timely book: james whitehouse, a happily married man of privile

    NOW AVAILABLE!!

    i thought this was going to be another domestic suspense book - a story of crime and marriage full of misleading clues to veer the reader off course, with lies and secrets and conflicting unreliable narrators. and it sort of is, but it’s much broader in scope and less circuitous in structure.

    with a kaleidoscope of sexual misconduct allegations making up the backdrop of any given day’s news lately, this is certainly a timely book: james whitehouse, a happily married man of privilege and power, a junior minister in the house of commons and an old school chum of the prime minister, a handsome man who oozes charm and knows how to work any room, is accused of raping a colleague in a

    lift. to complicate matters, his accuser is a woman with whom he has had an affair, broken off just before the incident.

    these situations almost always come down to one individual’s word against another, but this one gets extremely blurry, both in and out of the courtroom. i’m really at a loss when it comes to “how the british legal system works*,” and a lot of what happens in this book surprised me. juries aren’t permitted transcripts of the testimonies during deliberation? this is something i did not know! and the expectations of the lawyers, the process, the way so much came down to semantics, parsing utterances, body language, the particulars of ripped underclothes - it’s all over a messy case filled with lies and shifting (and shifty) perspectives, further complicated (and jeopardized) by the ulterior motives of the prosecuting attorney.

    there’s some interesting stuff to chew on here about consent, gray areas, entitlement, gender and culpability, not just specific to this court case, but in the private reflections of the characters, and in their various backstories. i appreciated these ideas being raised and acknowledged, filtered through individual POVs, even if i disagree with some of the observations made by james and by the female characters as well. but that’s the point of littrature, right? black-and-white is boring; there’s more nourishing food for thought in the in-between.

    as far as structure, it’s not a tricksy book filled with twists, not really. there’s ambiguity, and i guess one “something” that i figured out early on, but i couldn’t make the facts fit to support it, which was frustrating, since nearly everything lined up and my brain kept telling me what was what, and i felt so stupid later when i realized how easy a hurdle those stubborn “facts” were to clear. but it’s more a character-driven social/legal narrative than a thriller of any stripe; definitely more "book club option" than "vacation escapist book."

    * i’m no better at “how british government works,” if we’re being honest. some of it the book explains really well, but i know i’m missing a lot of the nuance, particularly in the hierarchies, so i don’t register when the “minister of thus-and-such” becoming the “minister of this-and-that” is a demotion or a lateral move or what. oh, and i was an innocent babe about what “anal chugging” was, although i could have done without this knowledge. i’ve just googled it now, and the anal chugging the internet seems to know all about, involving a forceful self-administered alcohol enema is very different from the thing called “anal chugging” in this book, and i don’t know what to make of that discrepancy, but i do not have the inclination to research either practice any further. my search history is damning enough as it is.

    okay - i caved. i discovered it is

    and now i shall clear my cache.

    ***************************************

    sarah vaughan

    is not sarah vaughan

  • Jeffrey Keeten

    Compromise is not necessarily a bad word, especially if the needs of both parties involved are weighed equally. Unfortunately, compromise has been a word that has been applied more to women than men. Women, through the years, have been somewhat enablers to men’s bad behavior, but they also have not felt empowered enough to say no. Inequality of pay, glass ceilings, social perceptions of their role, and systematic brainwashing have layered into their psyche a fine webbing of insecurities, which makes them much easier to subjugate. Those women who break free, and frankly even the most aggressive of women have only made small advances, are usually marginalized by friends, family, and coworkers.

    Historically, power is never given. It has to be taken. “Men” are not going to give up their power just because women ask nicely. Recent headlines have shown us that we are on a verge of a revolution. The question will be, will women be able to push it as far as it needs to go, or will they end up having to compromise once again?

    So where does the trouble begin? Maybe it begins with a belief.

    That is our man James Whitehouse, a man of abundant wealth, charm, and hunkiness. At Oxford, he was on the rowing team and walked around campus like a Greek god. He was a member of a group called the Libertines, and they did their best to live up to the name of the club. For those who may not know the definition of a Libertine, here it is:

    The young men in this group felt fully empowered to embrace the hedonistic implications as a mandate... nay, as a right of their social status.

    To give you an example: at a restaurant, they get rip roaring drunk and start breaking the glassware. They are too drunk to drink anymore, but decide that they will still pour the rest of the Bollingers on hand at the restaurant (they call it Bolly) down the drain. The type of wastefulness that puts my teeth on edge. They can afford to do anything they want to do and be whatever they want to be.

    James is paired up with Sophie, well, and with every other girl he can get horizontal or at least backed up against a wall for a good round of thrusts. Sophie is beautiful with long legs, long blonde hair, a fit rowing body, and a pristine pedigree. She would make the perfect wife for a man with his eye on a political career. As wonderful and gasp worthy as their life seems to be, I’ve found that, whether people sit on golden toilets or cracked porcelain, the human elements of existence still always come into play.

    Sophie, with two kids now and a husband on the rise in politics, is going to have to make a choice.

    The she is the barrister Kate Woodcroft, who is carrying more baggage than a 747. She receives the file on the young blond assistant, who says that James Whitehouse raped her in a lift, and the bitter smile of opportunity curls the edges of Kate’s lips.

    Cases like this come down to who the jury will believe and who the jury likes the best. Sexual assault or rape rarely have witnesses, so it amounts to the he said/she said arguments, and who said what, and who heard what.

    Does no mean

    , or does no mean maybe? Who wouldn’t want to have sex with James Whitehouse? He is dreamy, after all.

    Even as the case seems to be straight forward, preordained even, Sarah Vaughan has loaded into the plot a burning Molotov cocktail that, when it goes off, brings new meaning to revenge served cold. Switching to different narrators with each new chapter leads to new revelations that land like body blows as it becomes more and more clear how those who feel entitled are playing by different rules than the rest of us. This is a story that could have easily been splashed across the headlines of The Guardian, The Sun, The Daily Mail or The Evening Standard.

    With all the sexual scandals rocking Hollywood, journalism, and politics in the United States, there have been many interesting, and sometimes heated, discussions in my household about all the nuances of the numerous accusations being made against various powerful men. I’m sure the same has been happening all across the United States in other households, as well. Hopefully, not too many men are finding themselves banished to the couch or the back bedroom. This is a book that would be interesting for couples to read together to encourage discussion of the numerous aspects that surround these issues that obviously deserve and need more understanding.

    I want to thank Atria Books for supplying me with an Advance Reading Copy in exchange for an honest review.

    If you wish to see more of my most recent book and movie reviews, visit

    I also have a Facebook blogger page at:

  • Deanna

    My reviews can also be seen at:

    4.5 Stars!!

    With everything that has been going on in the world recently, I was thrilled to have the opportunity to read this timely novel.

    Kate Woodcroft’s work is her life. Divorced with no children, she’s practiced law for many years. She specializes in prosecuting sexual crimes and she is no stranger to difficult cases. However, today she is in a bad mood after losing a case. But then her long time clerk, Brian comes to s

    My reviews can also be seen at:

    4.5 Stars!!

    With everything that has been going on in the world recently, I was thrilled to have the opportunity to read this timely novel.

    Kate Woodcroft’s work is her life. Divorced with no children, she’s practiced law for many years. She specializes in prosecuting sexual crimes and she is no stranger to difficult cases. However, today she is in a bad mood after losing a case. But then her long time clerk, Brian comes to see her.

    He has her attention now…

    Sophie Whitehouse and her husband James have been married for twelve years and have two children together. Both grew up in affluent households and first met while attending Oxford. James is now a Junior Home Office minister. She watches her husband and the children, as they leave for the day. Her family. Her world. A world that crumbles at 8:43 that evening.

    James is late and when he finally gets home from work and he tells her they need to talk. She tenses as she sees the look he gives her. It’s the same look he gave her twenty-three years earlier, right before he confessed to something that damaged their world. What he tells her now breaks her heart. But Sophie tells herself that they can get through this… they have been through worse. But it seems this is only the beginning, that the worst is yet to come, when he says....

    Her husband has been accused of a heinous crime; Sophie is convinced he’s innocent. She’s desperate not to let these vicious lies break her family apart.

    Kate is the prosecutor in the case against James. She’s determined to win and becomes obsessed with the case. It’s all she can think about. She’s usually able to remain detached but this case is unnerving her.

    Will Sophie be strong enough to ask herself the hard questions? Even though she may not want to hear the answers to them?

    So what happened all those years before?

    So many secrets ….so many lies. But who is lying?

    We learn about the characters lives through flashbacks and their individual perspectives. Hints about trauma and other incidents are slowly revealed.

    “Anatomy of a Scandal” is a slow burning, character driven novel. In the beginning, there were times that my attention waned. There was a lot of legal jargon and details about the judicial system etc., but I realize that the author was trying to set the scene. I’m glad I stuck with it because before I knew it, I was fully immersed in the plot and the lives of the characters.

    All in all this I thought this was an intelligent, impressive, thought-provoking and timely novel. A cautionary tale that shows we may not always know as much about someone as we think we do. A story about sex, entitlement, power, and as the author says -- “

    I read this book along with some of the members of the Traveling Sisters. Though we may not have all had the same reaction to the novel, it’s always interesting hearing the different points of view.

    Thank you to Atria Books for providing a copy of this book for me to read in exchange for my honest review.

  • Emily May

    .

    I can't help it. My idea of the inside of a courtroom is heavily-influenced by years of watching

    and, these days, watching Annalise Keating brutally taking down prosecutors and witnesses in

    . I love the (completely sensationalized) battle of wits, the dramatic "object, your honor!", the tense moment before the verdict is revealed.

    And

    has all of that and more.

    There's sever

    .

    I can't help it. My idea of the inside of a courtroom is heavily-influenced by years of watching

    and, these days, watching Annalise Keating brutally taking down prosecutors and witnesses in

    . I love the (completely sensationalized) battle of wits, the dramatic "object, your honor!", the tense moment before the verdict is revealed.

    And

    has all of that and more.

    There's several different perspectives, but the two main ones are of Kate - a sexual offenses prosecutor this time taking on the high profile case of a government minister accused of rape - and the minister's wife, Sophie, who knows her husband is far from perfect, but cannot imagine he could ever commit this horrendous crime. It's even more compelling because both women are

    and our interest in them drives the story.

    James is a loving father and husband who made a mistake by having a lust-fuelled affair, but that doesn't make him a rapist, and Sophie is determined to stand by him. To be a "good wife". But, of course, some dark history is about to come into play, asking us to wonder whether James is the victim of a scorned woman's agenda, or if his actions are the latest in a long line of horrors.

    To be fair, though, I don't want to paint this as a twisty book shrouded in mystery. It's not just one more in a long line of domestic thrillers. The tension comes from the action and drama of the case and the impact this has, not from surprises and reveals, of which there are few, if any.

    Between the corridors of Oxford University and the corridors of Westminster, Vaughan weaves an intriguing narrative about privilege, sexual assault, and womanhood. She looks at something that has always fascinated and horrified me about the judicial system - and

    - the importance of winning cases, putting on the most convincing performance, over truth and justice.

    might be less of a traditional thriller than a lot of the books I've been reading lately, but it was definitely one of the most thrilling.

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