Free Press Journal

Anatomy of a Scandal by Sarah Vaughan: Review


Title: An Anatomy of a Scandal 
Sarah Vaughan
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Pages: 392
Price: Rs 550


The title of the story pulls the thriller-lovers towards it. It surely analyses a scandal with many sub-scandals while building up the plot based upon deceit.

The story revolves around Kate, a barrister, who has made a niche for herself fighting court cases regarding sexual crimes and James, a minister in the House of Commons, who is going places with high contacts. James is married, but is promiscuous by nature and has been involved in multiple flings. He gets into a relationship with his intern, Olivia. They break up for some reason but get to meet each other once again with some alone time. They feel attracted and engage in makeup sex. Now the plot twists. The intern somehow realises later that James has raped her. She meets Kate, who is a sexual crime lawyer and Kate tries to bring justice to Olivia. It turns out that Kate and James have met before and the story unravels in many flashbacks. In the meanwhile, Sophie, James’s wife has been his secret-keeper since day one and is determined to stand by him.

There was so much this book could be. The plot was intriguing. But as you get into the book, it is only about as exciting as a court case can be. True that the author has tried to put in twists and turns. But it wasn’t really that much of a suspense. The author tries her best to manage a story about consensual rape and what it is supposed to be considered as detail.

The villain of the story, James, as is shown, is some kind of playboy who is used to getting any woman he wants. The protagonist, Kate, as she seems to be, and as you read in the flashback, was charmed herself until one fateful night which changes her life forever. Now, she is out for justice wanting to right the wrong that was done to her years ago. The author tries, rather unsuccessfully, to make us root for the good guy. The story is bleak and plot boring. It doesn’t keep on to the edge of your seat. You somehow see the end plainly. But, can Kate get the justice she deserves? Read to find out only if you are in mood to do nothing. For me it’s a pass and you wouldn’t be losing on much in literature if you skip this one altogether.

The author has made a failed attempt of making the plot intriguing. A reader would expect a thrill and suspense or, at least, reasoning with the central idea of consensual rape, but it was not there to be found.