I was lucky enough to pick up a copy of this at the Festival back in July. I had heard a lot about this novel and was looking forward to reading it, so Anatomy of a Scandal quickly went to the top of the reading pile. I certainly wasn’t disappointed.
James is a politician, best friends with Tom who is Prime Minister. They were both at Oxford University which is where James met his wife Sophie. She has kept his secrets from his student days throughout their married life so when he gets embroiled in another scandal and is accused of a crime, he assumes that she will stand by him again. Prosecuting James is barrister Kate. She is sure that he is guilty and is determined he will pay for everything.
This was a really intriguing story that I couldn’t put down. It is part political court room thriller, part domestic noir. The portrait of a marriage thrust into the limelight is fascinating. The story is told from the three points of view of James, Sophie, and Kate, and between them the past slowly unfolds.
Throughout the novel my opinions of the characters kept changing. Although I did feel sympathy for wife Sophie, equally I was left feeling frustrated with her. She seemed to be very naïve and let her husband essentially get away with whatever he wanted. Kate was another character that I had mixed feelings about. Clearly she still struggled with what had happened when she was a student, yet in her professional life she is so sorted you really want her to just put the past behind her.
This was an excellent novel that kept me up til late in the night reading. It’s focus is on a marriage, and around the issue of consent, yet it’s much more than that. The writing is superb and focuses on the subtleties of human nature in the aftermath of a scandal rather than just concentrating on sensationalism.
I would highly recommend Anatomy of a Scandal if you like political intrigue alongside domestic portrayals. Although prepare to be kept up late into the night!