Tuesday 12 December 2017

Anatomy Of A Scandal by Sarah Vaughan @SVaughanAuthor @simonschusterUK #AnatomyOfAScandal

A high-profile marriage thrust into the spotlight. A wife, determined to keep her family safe, must face a prosecutor who believes justice has been a long time coming. A scandal that will rock Westminster. And the women caught at the heart of it. 

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.

Anatomy of a Scandal by Sarah Vaughan is published by Simon & Schuster on 11 January 2018 in hardcover and is the author's third novel. My thanks to the publisher who sent my copy for review.  I'm a big fan of Sarah Vaughan's writing, I've read and reviewed both of her previous novels here on Random Things;  The Art of Baking Blind in August 2015 and The Farm At The Edge of the World  in June 2016. When I heard that her next novel, with her new publisher Simon & Schuster was to be a political thriller, I was surprised and a little excited, and oh my goodness, I haven't been disappointed!

Whilst I adored this author's previous books, there is no doubt at all that this genre and these subjects are where she's most at home. There were times whilst reading about this sex scandal trial that I really did believe that this was true-crime reporting, there's such an incredible air of authenticity about this which will resonate more starkly after the murky revelations made this year about men in power and their treatment of women.

I'm not going to go over the plot of Anatomy of a Scandal, for that is not my job. I'll just say that the story is based around the prosecution and trial of a member of Parliament. This is a high-profile and much reported story; the whole country is transfixed by the idea of handsome, successful, family man James Whitehouse being accused of rape by a woman he works with.  His accuser is also a woman that he admits he's had an affair with. Yes, he says, we had sex in the Houses of Parliament; I took her away for nights and bought her expensive gifts. He also claims that even though he'd ended their relationship, the rough sex they had in a lift was consensual. That's it, in a nutshell. A woman's word against a man's ..... as it so often is.

Sarah Vaughan writes with a beautiful clarity that is both stunning and at times, shocking. She exposes the darkest corners of the brightest minds in the country. She doesn't hold back with the shocking behaviours and the total sense of entitlement that accompanies wealth and good name. Her detailed look at the lives of those who make up the Libertines; a group of Oxford students who use their money as a powerful tool to barge their way through life is sordid and tawdry, yet eye-opening and excellently portrayed.

Anatomy of a Scandal is told in three voices; James; his wife Sophie and Kate, the prosecuting barrister. Each one of these characters is intimately and cleverly constructed; the reader will love them, and hate them. The reader will agree, will object and will cheer as the story unfolds. There's also an air of mystery running through this novel, and the author creates more tension, suspense and unease with her clever flashbacks that totally gel with the present-day story.

Anatomy of a Scandal is utterly compulsive, I hated having to set it down for even a few minutes. The plot, the characters and the brilliant reveals are so finely executed. This is a stand-out legal thriller. An absolute triumph and I urge everyone to read this.

Sarah Vaughan was born and brought up in Exeter. In 1991 she went to Brasenose College, Oxford, to read English and whilst there became features editor at the university paper. Her first job was as a news trainee with The Press Association, a two year position which included six months as a parliamentary correspondent and stints as a court reporter, covering stories such as the Stephen Lawrence inquest.
She joined the Guardian news room in 1997 and covered high profile cases such as the disappearance of Sarah Payne, the Soham murders and interviewed Ian Huntley before his arrest. 
In 2002 she returned to the Houses of Parliament as political correspondent to cover the Iraq debate.
She travelled to Istanbul with Tony Blair, interviewed Boris Johnson over affair allegations and discovered that politicians may be willing to be economical with the truth if they believe it is in their best interests.
Sarah returned to the newsroom and a job as a health correspondent after the birth of her first baby in 2005, and took voluntary redundancy after her second in 2008.
On her 40th birthday she committed to writing her novel and secured a two-book deal with Hodder for The Art of Baking Blind and The Farm at the Edge of the World.
Anatomy of a Scandal draws on Sarah's experience as a news reporter and political correspondent, and her time spent reading English at a historic Oxford college in the mid-Nineties. 
Married to an NHS surgeon, she has two children and lives just outside Cambridge.

Find out more at www.sarahvaughan.com
Follow her on Twitter @SVaughanAuthor

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