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Summary

You want to believe your husband. She wants to destroy him.

Gripping psychological drama for fans of Apple Tree Yard, The Good Wife and Notes on a Scandal.

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.

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.

©2017 Sarah Vaughan (P)2017 Simon & Schuster

Critic reviews

"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, best-selling author of Our Endless Numbered Days)
"That rare book that combines great writing, spot-on characterisation and a compulsive, page-turning narrative. I read it in one breathless day. Set against a fascinating backdrop of the Houses of Parliament, the Old Bailey and Oxford University, think House of Cards meets The Secret History. Meticulously researched, this is an outstanding read." (Fiona Cummins, author of Rattle)
"A whip-smart, grown-up thriller with a hugely relevant moral question at its core." (Tammy Cohen, author of When She Was Bad)

What members say

Average customer ratings

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  • Kaggy
  • United Kingdom
  • 06-02-18

Tense, engrossing and very topical


This is a gripping story about people in power, not because they want to do public good but because it is career, for which they have a deep sense of entitlement. The characters are intelligently written and despite their outrageous actions, are sadly very believable. There is very little here that didn't make my blood boil which was great because I felt totally committed to the wronged people in this story and to the final very satisfying resolution of this murky tale.
This is edge of the seat stuff which relies more on the interaction of the characters than physical action, and some of the exchanges are brilliantly written. In fact I would go as far to say that it challenged some of the prejudices I never realised I held, and it is a real eye opener to be educated by a piece of fiction. The narrators were faultless and really added to the whole experience. This comes highly recommended by me.

9 of 9 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Unputdownable

I devoured it in a weekend. Absolutely brilliant, best thing I’ve read since Apple Tree Yard. Cannot recommend enough!

17 of 18 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Against a Tie and a Crest!

She thought she was smart when she took them on but she didn't take a peak in their artillery room . . . with apologies to Paul Weller!

Sarah Vaughan has written an absolute stick of dynamite and thrown it right at the over-privileged classes in a massively relevant drama. Although these are fictional characters she sticks her oar quite literally into the murky world of the old boys networks of our premiere universities. It's a book that explores the crushing arrogance of *some* of the upper classes and how their sheer arrogance and sense of entitlement, almost medieval in its nature, can wreak untold damage on all around them. There are references to Oxbridge, rich kids, dining clubs and how those same people have come to bring such damage to our country with their unsympathetic wielding of the power given to them.

The book is odd in the sense that most of the characters emerge with little credit to their names though there are a couple of great examples of nobility; that's the genuine characteristic not the inherited titular version! The book is well-suited to the four narrators and while it does take a bit of time to really get going the courtroom scenes in particular are genuinely powerful.

Sarah Vaughan - what a catalyst she's turned out to be - definitely one to watch!

11 of 13 people found this review helpful

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  • CLBRIGHT
  • EXMOUTH, United Kingdom
  • 19-03-18

Painfully dull

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

The book was drawn out and dull, only a drastic re-write could have improved it.

Has Anatomy of a Scandal put you off other books in this genre?

Not books of the genre, but definitely books by this author. I got the impression that she was giving the leader a lesson in the upper-middle class. Boring us with endless details about the Bar, Court, Oxford University etc. It was a 'look how clever I am' book that turned me off from the start. I'm not actually sure how or why I persisted to the end.

Who might you have cast as narrator instead of the narrators?

I think someone like Amelia Fox would have been more personable as Kate (Holly). Posh but not so patronising.

If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from Anatomy of a Scandal?

All of the ones wear Kate describes what she's wearing and the ins and outs of the court - i.e. the rules. John Grisham manages to write perfect excellent courtroom dramas without boring us with the details of how it all works.

Any additional comments?

I found this book incredibly dull and the end, pointless. The story didn't reach a decent conclusion. The women weren't likeable and the men were stereotypical political pomps. Excruciatingly dire at some points. I won't be returning to this author (or narrator).

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Really Gripping

I don't often post reviews but feel impelled here. A gripping plot, an excellent sense of time and place and a window into the thoughts of the characters. All this blends very well.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Brilliant-extremely current in today's news

I would really recommend this book ,superbly narrated.Rape is an extremely difficult subject to write about .The characters are tangible and real- really didn't want it to end

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Nicely rounded story.

I was a little worried that the story could have been somewhat pedestrian. Had it finished at the court case I feel it would have been. However, it continued until the anatomy of the affair had been dissected.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Great story about the complexity of life

I loved how it went back and forth in time to tell the story rather than a linear timeline. It kept revealing secrets which impacted on present day.
It shows the complexity of decisions made in relationships and how events in the past come back to haunt you.
It kept me enthralled to the end.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Excellent

This is a really very good story that I think would be perfect for the small screen. I don't know if It's because I have a very tenuous link with Oxford University, (my sister went), that made it all the more enjoyable. Maybe enjoyable isn't the right word, because at times, the book is so searingly honest, it's difficult to listen to. But the truth can hurt and Ms Vaughan doesn't shy away from making us face up to some very hard emotional veracity. However, it's all done with panache and good taste, so by the time you realise you've received instruction in morals and ethical behaviour, you're able to take it with good grace. All the narrators do well, but can someone please check how to pronounce the word "chutzpah"? The "ch" is not hard as in "chair"!

7 of 9 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

This is only part 1

This is s good tale, which has parallels with David Cameron’s Oxford background. Lots of twists and turns but the last chapter does not complete the story; it sets you up for the sequel.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Mervyn
  • 13-03-18

Days of men's galantry & caring for women are gone

The narrators were very good. The story was in very good voices and diction. I was loath to stop listening at any point.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful