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Anatomy of a Scandal: A Novel by Sarah…
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Anatomy of a Scandal: A Novel (2018)

by Sarah Vaughan

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Holly kommt dank eines Vollstipendiums aus der nordenglischen Provinz nach Oxford, wo sie Literatur studieren will. Große Erwartungen hat sie an das Studentenleben, doch bald schon muss sie erkennen, dass sie nicht in diese Welt passt. Sie bemüht sich, passt sich an, findet in Sophie und Alison auch zwei Freundinnen. Ein Ereignis am Ende des ersten Studienjahres lässt ihre Welt jedoch zusammenbrechen. Von einem Kommilitonen, der zu den berühmt-berüchtigten Libertines gehört, die sich dank des Geldes ihrer Familien alles erlauben können, wird sie vergewaltigt und ergreift schließlich die Flucht. Zwanzig Jahre später ist sie nicht mehr das naive Mädchen, sondern eine knallharte Prozessanwältin und es scheint als sei endlich der Tag der Abrechnung gekommen.

Sarah Vaughns Roman lebt von den unterschiedlichen Perspektiven auf die Ereignisse. Im Wechsel werden die Protagonisten beleuchtet: die Anklägerin, der Angeklagte und dessen Frau. Obwohl es zunächst um den Vergewaltigungsvorwurf gegen den Politiker James Whitehouse geht, wird bald schon klar, dass eigentlich die beiden Frauen mit ihren widersprüchlichen Emotionen und Überzeugungen die interessantesten Figuren sind.

Zwei Aspekte hat Vaughan für mein Empfinden sehr überzeugend in ihrer Geschichte dargestellt: zum einen die ausufernden Partys, die die Sprösslinge der Oberschicht in den Elitelehranstalten feiern und die Arroganz, mit der sie schon in jungen Jahren den Menschen gegenübertreten, wo sie selbst noch nichts im Leben geleistet oder erreicht haben. Ihnen gehört die Welt, sie kaufen sie sich und drehen die Wahrheit wie es ihnen passt. Als Studenten und später im Berufsleben. Die dort geknüpften Bande sind hart wie Stahl und durch nichts zu erschüttern. So sichern sie sich gegenseitig ab und garantieren auch, dass niemand den Schutzwall, der sie scheinbar umgibt, durchdringt.

Der zweite Punkt liegt in der Figur von Ehefrau Sophie, die zwar nicht die cleverste Studentin zu sein scheint, aber durchaus über ausreichend Weitblick verfügt, zu durchschauen, was James mit ihr macht. Sie spielt mit, weil das die Rolle ist, zu der sie erzogen wurde und kann lange Zeit nicht über ihren Schatten springen, obwohl die Zweifel an ihr nagen. Ein wenig mehr Mut hätte es gebraucht, etwas mehr Rückgrat und die Dinge hätten anders verlaufen können. Ihre passive Schicksalsergebenheit macht sie schuldig.

Kein Gerichtsthriller, kein Drama, sondern eine Menschenstudie, die sehr gut gelungen ist und trotz des Hoffnungsschimmers am Ende ein wenig Frust zurücklässt, weil nämlich die Wahrheit nicht immer den Weg ans Licht findet und nicht jede Tat angemessen bestraft wird. ( )
  miss.mesmerized | Jan 31, 2019 |
Anatomy of a Scandal by Sarah Vaughn is a 2018 Atria/Emily Bestler Books Publication.

Timely, with a few very intriguing twists!

When the Junior Member of England, James Whitehouse, is caught out in an affair, it looks as though he will weather the storm, both professionally and personally- until his mistress, Olivia, comes forward with an accusation of rape.

Kate, a prosecutor/barrister believes James is guilty as sin. But, his wife, Sophie, despite enduring the humiliation of his affair, doesn’t think her husband is capable of sexual assault. She plays the part of the supportive politician's wife- a cliche if there ever was one, going along with James' management team, saying and doing what was expected of her, while she denies the lie her life has become.

During the investigation and subsequent trial, Sophie, Kate, and James all reveal their inner thoughts, revealing their innermost secrets, some of which are explosive, dangerous, and raise many questions about ethics, about the rape culture, the way the courts handle rape cases. It examines the mindset of the elite and entitled, the nature of politics, and the rationalizations people make, the lies they tell to maintain a way of life they are accustomed to, or to have a taste of power. It also examines gray areas of human nature, which can make the reader think- "What would I do in that situation?"

The story grabbed my attention right away, although the story moved in a predictable fashion, at least in the beginning. But, then a very, very, unique twist develops along the way, which puts a fresh spin on a familiar plot. This revelation creates a suspenseful situation that had me holding my breath, sitting on the edge of my seat. I love courtroom dramas and am always especially interested in the court systems outside the US, so I found the trial segments of great interest, as well.

Usually I’m not a big fanof multiple POV novels, but in this case, it was quite effective and really gave readers deep insight into the characters moral code, the lines they draw in the sand and the ones they are willing to cross- for revenge or for justice.

I thought this book was thought provoking, and of course, it’s very timely and emotional topic. The pacing drags in some places, but other than that, the book is polished, well- constructed, with a unique style and presentation. Legal thrillers have been too few and far between for a long time, so it’s good to find one that well and truly fits into that category!

4 stars ( )
  gpangel | Dec 18, 2018 |
Sarah Vaughan has written a riveting and intriguing novel about a case of alleged rape and the legal process of its trial. She has highlighted the effects that the allegations have on the victim as she gives her testimony and on the accused of the crime. In addition, the publicity and accusation have extremely upsetting consequences for his wife and family.
Vaughan’s sensitive writing draws out the drama and twists of the trial and leaves you in doubt as to the verdict that the jury will deliver. She then examines the psychological fallout from this for those involved and this makes for an unmissable read.
  camharlow2 | Nov 29, 2018 |
Visit all my reviews here. I love to chat books! Pop by, leave your review links!

Anatomy of a Scandal is based around three central characters. First there's James, the suave, charismatic family man and politician who is also good friends with the Prime Minister. He's wealthy and over-privileged. Then we meet Kate, the young, ruthlessly ambitious prosecutor, who's determined to see James get the guilty verdict he deserves. She's also good at her job and made her name prosecuting the very worst sexual assault cases. Finally we meet Sophie, James’ wife who has been dating James since college and knows him better than anyone else. All have a vital part to play in this psychological, legal d
rama, which starts with a shocking scandal being revealed, which is then dissected in court.

James is accused of rape one of his assistants, but did he do it? While his wife Sophie is seemingly supportive on the outside, on the inside her mind is going crazy thinking about his alleged crimes and what he could in fact be capable of. Just how long can she remain loyal as the story unfolds?

We travel from the court case, back in time to Oxford in the 90s and into the current murky goings on within the privileged political world, where money, corruption and power rule the day.

This is an extremely well written and cleverly plotted, insightful story, which I can easily see adapted into a BBC drama, very much like Louise Doughty’s Apple Tree Yard.

Sarah Vaughan has mastered a treat for us with Anatomy of a Scandal, a sharp, engrossing and poignant political drama, which highlights some shocking hard-hitting facts with sensitivity and r
ealism. Terrific!

Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for my copy. This is my honest opinion of this book. ( )
  SassyBrit | Nov 27, 2018 |
At first, I rated this book 4 stars, but after reviewing it some with my book club, I realized I jumped the gun. It needs work.

I read this book and it seemed interesting at first with its main story of a rape scandal in the British government. This issue I had with this book was the writing style. The over explanations and confusing situations made it very difficult to really invest in. I did really enjoy the storyline, but I feel it could have done with more dialogue and more depth, with fewer explanations and details.

I would still recommend this to someone who is interested in British lawyer fiction or a good starter book for getting back into reading. I honestly don't know if I can see myself reading another book from the author. ( )
  BingeReader87 | Nov 17, 2018 |
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"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?"--… (more)

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