TW: rape/sexual assault
Anatomy of a Scandal follows several characters embroiled in a political scandal. Sophie’s husband James works closely with the prime minister, but he’s been accused of a crime. Kate, the lawyer assigned to prosecute him, is certain he is guilty. All of this also somehow links back to Holly, a young student at Oxford who was Sophie’s classmate. Through their interlocking viewpoints, the reader has to decide who is telling the truth and who is guilty.
This book had a slow start to it, but in the end I really appreciated it. The interlocking viewpoints really worked well together to give the whole picture of the story being told. From Sophie’s viewpoint as the wife of a supposed criminal, to Kate’s intensity about prosecuting particular kinds of crimes, it creates a picture of how crime can affect everyone involved. Like I said, though, you have to be willing to get through the slow-ish start of the book. It’s fine getting acquainted with the characters slowly, but I will admit I wasn’t as invested in the book’s outcome until a twist about halfway through. I had my suspicions before the twist popped, but once they were confirmed, I was much more invested in the outcome of the story and in seeing the decisions the characters would make based on what happened.
Some people on Goodreads have classified this as a thriller or suspense, but it’s a bit of a slow burn in that arena. I would definitely classify it as a literary mystery. There’s a sense of not knowing who to trust and not knowing which narrators are reliable, but there’s not a lot of intense action. There are some intense scenes, however, so be aware of that if rape is a trigger for you. In the end, I really appreciated this novel and feel like it’s an interesting take on a story we hear in real life all too often. I felt like the characters’ journeys were realistic and would spark great conversation for a book club.
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
What books about scandals have you read and enjoyed? Let me know in the comments!