I was drawn to Anatomy of a Scandal because the synopsis reminded me a little bit of the hit TV series Scandal, featuring Kerry Washington – successful public figures caught up in a scandal.
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.
Part courtroom thriller; part portrait of a marriage; part exploration of how our memories still haunt us, Anatomy of a Scandal is a disarming and provocative psychological drama.
Sophie’s husband, James, is a loving father and a successful public figure. 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 engulf him. She’s kept his darkest secret ever since they were first lovers, at Oxford. And if she stood by him then, she can do it now.
Kate is the barrister prosecuting his case. She’s certain that James is guilty and determined he should pay. No stranger to suffering herself, she doesn’t flinch from posing the questions few want to hear. About what happens between a man a woman when they’re alone: alone in bed, alone in an embrace, alone in a lift . . .
Is James the victim of an unfortunate misunderstanding or the perpetrator of something sinister? Who is right: Sophie or Kate? This scandal – which forces Sophie to appraise her marriage and Kate her demons – will have far-reaching consequences for them all.
Anatomy of a Scandal is a slow-paced and intriguing novel – the ‘scandal’ forces both Kate and Sophie to take a closer look at themselves, and the slower pace allows for a detailed exploration of the characters in this novel. In alternating past and present timelines, we see how Kate’s experiences from her past have shaped her into the woman she is today, and it makes her character, in the present day, easily understandable.
While I was more drawn to Kate, I loved that Sophie was forced to take a closer look at her life, the things she was so easily accepting of when, perhaps, she shouldn’t be. I didn’t find her character likeable because I didn’t agree with some of the decisions she made, both in the past and the present day, but she was definitely the one I was most intrigued by – wanting to see how she would act during in, and in the fall out of, the scandal. However, if I had to pick a favourite character, it would be, Ali, Kate’s best friend – she was so supportive and loyal, though her role was a minor one, she really showed herself to be a true friend.
My favourite parts of this novel took place in the courtroom, I enjoyed seeing Kate in action – seeing the questions she asked and how she phrased them in her bid to secure a conviction. Also, how alert she was to the reactions from the jury.
This novel did have shades of the TV series, like I hoped it would, but it was much less entertaining. Anatomy of a Scandal is a very character-driven novel and I enjoyed seeing how events played out. However, I think the pacing was too slow, and at times this made the plot drag and gave it the overall feeling of being too long. One of the things I like about slower-paced novels is the time it gives you to reflect on what you’re reading, while you’re reading, as things move at a slow pace, you can analyse the events without having to pause reading (I hope that makes sense). However, here there was too much time for reflection, particularly in the last part of the novel, where I contemplated skim reading it. Once you know the outcome of the scandal, all that’s left is to see how the characters act in the aftermath and I felt like this portion was too long. Endings are tricking things because they have the power to impact all that you read before and based on the slow pace of this novel, I felt a smaller word count to show the aftermath would have been more suited.
Overall, I thought this novel was good and it is worth a read if you are a fan of psychological dramas, but only if you are a patient reader because you really have a slow-pace and a slow turnover of events to contend with here.
Anatomy of a Scandal publishes January 2018