Set in London, mostly in the Inner Temple High Court, this engrossing novel is a scrutiny of deceit and abuse of power. Kate, a criminal barrister, has just been awarded the biggest case of her career as well as an opportunity for revenge, seething since her college days. Sophie is a devoted mother and wife of James who has just admitted to having an affair. James, a junior Home Office minister in London’s government, has a promising career if he could only curb his “indiscretions.” James’ latest mistake is colossal, and he is being charged with rape. The trial must go on, dragging Sophie into depths of despair and doubt. Kate, who is prosecuting the case, faces challenges and memories almost beyond her capacity. When it seems like justice has failed one must hope that the human spirit will rebound – but will it?
“A nuanced story line perfectly in tune with our #metoo times.”—People, Book of the Week
“One of the season’s most buzzed-about thrillers.”—Bookish
“A strong choice for book clubs. Former political correspondent Vaughan makes an impressive debut with this savvy, propulsive courtroom drama.” —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“Vaughan offers gripping insight into a political scandal’s hidden machinations and the tension between justice and privilege…Absorbing, polished.”—Booklist (starred review)
“Skillfully interweaving the story of the unfolding scandal, Vaughan gradually reveals just how shockingly high the stakes are…Sinewy…engrossing, twist-filled.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review)
You want to believe your husband. She wants to destroy him.
An astonishingly incisive and suspenseful novel about a scandal amongst Britain’s privileged elite and the women caught up in its wake.
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 is all about winning the argument. And yet Kate seeks the truth at all times. She is certain James is guilty and is determined he will pay for his crimes.
Who is right about James? Sophie or Kate? And is either of them informed by anything more than instinct and personal experience? Despite her privileged upbringing, Sophie is well aware that her beautiful life is not inviolable. She has known it since she and James were first lovers, at Oxford, and she witnessed how easily pleasure could tip into tragedy.
Most people would prefer not to try to understand what passes between a man and a woman when they are alone: alone in bed, alone in an embrace, alone in an elevator… Or alone in the moonlit courtyard of an Oxford college, where a girl once stood before a boy, heart pounding with excitement, then fear. Sophie never understood why her tutorial partner Holly left Oxford so abruptly. What would she think, if she knew the truth?
About the Author
Sarah Vaughan read English at Oxford and went on to become a journalist. She spent eleven years at the Guardian as a news reporter, health correspondent, and political correspondent. She left to freelance and began writing fiction the week she turned forty. Her debut novel, The Art of Baking Blind, published by Hodder & Stoughton, St. Martin’s Press, and in seven other languages, was the result. The Farm at the Edge of the World was published in June 2016 and will be published in Germany and France. Sarah lives in Cambridge with her husband and two children.
"Vaughan weaves together a juicy courtroom drama set among the British elite and told from the perspectives of three characters . . . Exceptional."
"A psychological thriller practically made for the #MeToo era . . . ANATOMY OF A SCANDAL is a win on every side: it has a gripping plot, but it's also an intelligent, kaleidoscopic look at the conversations surrounding sexual harassment going on today."
“Sarah Vaughan is sensational.” — Clare Mackintosh, internationally bestselling author of I LET YOU GO
"I cared about both women—couldn't put it down . . . really, really, really, really good." — Marian Keyes, Internationally bestselling author of THE BREAK
"Anatomy of a Scandal completely skewers the zeitgeist; cool, sharp and beautifully written." — Lisa Jewell, New York Times bestselling author of I FOUND YOU
"The world has gone mad for this book. I’m so excited. What an outstanding premise." — Rosie Walsh, New York Times bestselling author of GHOSTED
"ANATOMY OF A SCANDAL is a compelling and cautionary story about how we can never truly know someone else; how even after twelve years of marriage, a wife might not know everything about her husband. Brilliant, shocking, and gripping, once I started, I couldn't stop reading." — Claire Fuller, award-winning author of OUR ENDLESS NUMBERED DAYS and SWIMMING LESSONS
“Shocking. Compelling. Completely brilliant.” — Eve Chase, bestselling author of BLACK RABBIT HALL
“I was hooked right from the start. So beautifully written, clever and compelling. I was gripped right up to the final page.” — Claire Douglas, bestselling author of The Sisters and Local Girl Missing
“I enjoyed ANATOMY OF A SCANDAL immensely – a very elegant dissection of a very messy affair. Loved it.” — Louise Candlish, author of THE SWIMMING POOL
"ANATOMY OF A SCANDAL is a stunningly compelling read--utterly gripping from the first page, beautifully written and expertly plotted. Vaughan brilliantly captures the cloistered world of Britain's elite, which is packed with suspicion, lies, and terrible betrayals. This book is a must-read for 2018--it's impossible to put down and will stay with you long afterwards." — Sarah J. Harris, author of THE COLOR OF BEE LARKHAM'S MURDER
"A gripping dissection of deceit and desire . . . The definition of a page-turner." — Elizabeth Day, award-winning author of THE PARTY
"ANATOMY OF A SCANDAL is superb. Bitingly truthful, intelligent, gripping. All round class act." — Gilly Macmillan, New York Times bestselling author of WHAT SHE KNEW
"Sarah Vaughan’s Anatomy of a Scandal is just that — a gradual unearthing of long-held secrets and betrayals, followed by a front-row seat for the lives that unravel as a result. Suspenseful and shocking, centered around an important moral issue that makes it especially intense, Anatomy of a Scandal is a nuanced, highly addictive read that resonates long after the final word." — Kimberly Belle, New York Times bestselling author of THE MARRIAGE LIE
"Deftly plotted and superbly well researched, with an eerie relevance to the current debate surrounding the attitudes to and experiences of women in Westminster, Hollywood, and beyond. An intelligent, absorbing page-turner that avoids all knee-jerk assumptions and easy answers." — Laura Barnett, internationally bestselling author of THE VERSIONS OF US
"Sarah Vaughan writes about the heartbreaking consequences of sexual abuse and the abuse of power with real compassion as she takes us on a journey from modern day Westminster to 1990s Oxford University and back again." — Karin Salvaloggio, critically-acclaimed author of SILENT RAIN
"You won't want to miss . . . Anatomy of a Scandal."
"It's that rare thing--a book that wholly merits the buzz it's been getting . . . a thoughtful if heartbreaking and, at times, hard-to-read exploration of the complexities of the emotions surrounding sexual violence."
"An eerily well-timed novel, Anatomy of a Scandal is an incisive examination of a rape accusation from the perspective of two different women."
"For fans of Gone Girl, The Girl on the Train, and Big Little Lies."
"A close observation of character and people, their personal stories, and ultimately, their scandals."
"Fascinating and suspenseful."
"This is an extraordinarily written tale about power, prestige, and the skeletons in the closet. Highly recommended!"
"This exhilarating novel . . . will have readers thinking about justice and truth and whether you can ever really, fully know someone."
"Moving between the present and the past, this is a timely thriller about marriage, but also about power, who wields it, and how that affects who we believe."
"Sarah Vaughan drip feeds revelations while exploring the power and privilege of political elite."
"Incredibly authentic, highly involving character drama here, in a story that could easily be ripped from the headlines."
"Sarah Vaughan’s ANATOMY OF A SCANDAL is a must read for anyone who has any fascination with sex scandals and the corridors of power. It is sharp, insightful, clever and thoroughly fresh. It takes your breath away. Highly recommended!"
"I need to say WOW what an incredible debut novel."
"When does consensual sex cross the line into rape? This is the question at the heart of this breathtaking novel . . . Lovely prose with a raw and poignant tone made this a one-sitting read!"
"Un-put-down-able. This has the intrigue and suspense of GONE GIRL or GIRL ON THE TRAIN, but is extra chilling because it lacks the extremism that makes those situations pure fiction. The events of this book - the political scandal, the affair, the criminal trial, the personal repercussions of every decision - could happen just as they're laid out, and that makes this book just that much more chilling."
"This is an outstanding book, wonderfully written and a sensitive portrayal of an all too topical issue. Deserves every one of its five stars and should be huge when it's published."
"Through a series of flashbacks and present-day accounts, Sarah Vaughan spins a chilling tale of appearance versus reality, lies versus the truth, and where we all fall in between."
"You don't know what the word 'gripping' means until you've read ANATOMY OF A SCANDAL. Wow."
"This engrossing, masterfully crafted thriller is a story of money, abuse of power, revenge, and the pursuit of justice. This story feels like it has been ripped from the headlines."