I have come away from reading this novel with so much more than I anticipated. This is more than a portrait of a marriage rocked by an affair. More than a story about a scandal that rocks the Houses of Parliament and ends up in the the Daily Mail. And it's more than a droll courthouse drama with a Junior Minister at the center of the story.
Told from several perspectives, and from both the past and present, 'Anatomy of A Scandal' is primarily told in the first person by Kate Woodcroft, who is the prosecuting lawyer in the case against James Whitehouse, accused of raping Olivia Lytton, his researcher and with whom he had an affair with. His wife Sophie wants to believe he didn't actually rape her but continues on as if she is willing to forgive his transgressions. All these characters are well-fleshed out and developed; Sophie and Kate's emotions are raked through with a fine-toothed comb and it's difficult to read much of it without feeling incredibly involved with their contrasting worlds. It's also so rich with descriptive prose, as it's written so meticulously and with such care and thought.
The novel is hard to completely discuss without giving too much away (massive twists) but I will say that Sarah Vaughan has written such a timely and compelling novel: it's so much more than an ordinary thriller or courtroom drama, and it needs to be on everyone's list of books to read, especially if they intend to read any book this year that will make them ask difficult questions about morality, power, privilege, and the most difficult topic on everyone's lips right now - sexual assault. The book gets so uncomfortable at times, it's hard not to see conversation coming out of it. While there may be parts of the book that might be hard to read, Vaughan has crafted both an excellent drama with a fantastic twist, but also a timely novel that can't help but be a conversation piece.