Book Review: Anatomy of a Scandal

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Author: Sarah Vaughan
ISBN: 9781471165009
RRP: $29.99
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Copy: Courtesy of the Publisher

Anatomy of a Scandal is another book that I wiled away some quiet hours on my holiday with, yet it was far from a light summer read. This book is dark and twisted with a storyline that could easily trigger readers.


The narrative kept me guessing for quite a while because I kind of thought I knew what was going on but I couldn’t quite get the pieces to go together to paint the picture I was seeing.

I finished reading this nearly a month ago so it’s another review that is going to be a little tough for me to write, there’s been a lot going on since then….

James is a member of Parliament, he’s making a name for himself in his career. He is also a loving husband and father who comes from a prominent family and old money. James is also accused of a terrible crime. Sophie’s wedding vows saw her promise to stand by him and she believes in his innocence and wants nothing more than to protect her family from the fallout and the lies that threaten to tear them apart.

A high profile personality and a scandalous high profile court case makes great fodder for the tabloids, and the gossip mongers.

The story telling is a little jumpy as we follow the story from many perspectives, one of them being James. Perspectives change in alternating chapters through Sophie, Holly, James and Ali in the third person and Kate in the first. So I guess ultimately this is Kate’s story. She is the prosecutor of the case, she is aware that winning is all about who makes the best argument but the truth is also important to her. She is convinced James is guilty and determined to make him pay.

Anatomy of a Scandal gets quite dark and twisted because it isn’t all just about the alleged crime unfolding in the here and now. There is also a storyline unfolding in 1993 when Sophie and James were at Oxford, as were Holly and Ali.

It is in Oxford that we get to know James and really understand his personality type, and it’s not pretty. He may be attractive and charismatic but he is also arrogant and a lot of words that aren’t very nice but also don’t quite cover it. He is a character with a great public persona, there’s no denying that, but he is a character I certainly didn’t warm to.

The characters were all well drawn and realistic, their motivations were explored and we were able to get to know all of them well. It took a while to piece together all the elements which made for an interesting collection of theories on how it would all play out.

Sarah Vaughan is a talented author whose background in journalism has given her a great insight to the inner workings of situations like this. It is the first of her novels I have read but I hope that it won’t be the last.

Anatomy of a Scandal is a great read for those who love a good courtroom drama but some of the events in the book are likely to trigger past trauma. Vaughan explores themes of excess, the things that the ruling classes feel they can get away with, date rape, long term effects of trauma and the things that we put up with because we think it’s the best for our families. It’s a tale of friendship, of self evaluation and evolution and ultimately a take of power. I really enjoyed it and I look forward to seeing what else Vaughan has to offer.

Sarah Vaughan can be found on her Website, Twitter and Facebook.

Anatomy of a Scandal is published by Simon & Schuster and is available through Angus & Robertson Bookworld, Booktopia and where all good books are sold.

Thanks to Simon & Schuster a selection of our Beauty and Lace Club members are reading Anatomy of a Scandal and you can find their thoughts here: Book Club: Anatomy of a Scandal

3 thoughts on “Book Review: Anatomy of a Scandal

  1. I bought this book after reading the synopsis and wanting to know more!

    The story of Sophie, Holly and James and things that happened at University many years earlier are examined in light of the current events involving James.

    Sophie as the wife who doesn’t want to believe that her husband could be guilty and Kate the prosecutor who is trying to prove just that….

    This is quite a gripping story and the characters are well drawn, believable and their actions and responses are spot on. I was drawn into the story from the first page and loved the twists and turns.

    Highly recommended – I would give this 5 stars as a thoughtful and compelling read.

  2. I am very grateful to have had the opportunity to review this book.

    I enjoyed it. It was well written and gripping.

    I think the storyline was realistic and clever. Would recommend to people who enjoy a court drama.

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