Book review: An Anatomy of a Scandal by Sarah Vaughan

I love a courtroom drama so was immediately attracted to this. I should start off by saying that like Erin Kelly’s He Said She Said and Laura Marshall’s Three Little Lies it is a story about a rape and for that reason won’t appeal to everyone  but I felt it was an important book that was intelligently written and didn’t sensationalise.

Kate Woodcroft is a highly-driven criminal barrister specialising in sex crime cases. She’s on the lookout for a high-profile case to advance her career when one comes along that she can’t refuse.

James Whitehouse, a Tory politician and close friend of the Prime Minister, is accused of rape by his aide, Olivia Lytton, an accusation which threatens to blow apart his apparently perfect middle class marriage to Sophie. James admits to having had an affair with Olivia but insists the sex was consensual. Kate’s convinced he’s guilty and is determined to prove it but it gradually becomes apparent her reasons for taking the case are more personal than she would admit.

The story’s told from different character viewpoints and in two timeframes – the present day and 1992 at Oxford university. Having been, like Kate, a state school girl at Oxbridge, I found all the characters and the behaviour of the Libertines (similar to the Bullingdon club) totally convincing. This is an unflinching portrayal of a toxic male culture of entitlement which in the #metoo climate is obviously very topical.

I took a while to warm to Kate and was a bit concerned that she was acting unprofessionally but I loved the way the story developed with several twists and revelations, and the ending felt right. All in all, I found this book a compulsive read and would highly recommend.

An Anatomy of a Scandal is published by Simon & Schuster and costs £7.99 paperback and £2.99 kindle.



One thought on “Book review: An Anatomy of a Scandal by Sarah Vaughan

  1. I received this book for Christmas and have just finished it. I agree it was a very convincing portrait of a time and a place and very topical, hence the reason it attracted so much attention. It was very well written and kept me on my toes. A good read.


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