Anatomy of a Scandal by Sarah Vaughan


1/5 – DNF at 30%

Thank you to BookishFirst for the raffle I won this in and to Simon & Schuster for the copy!

Yes. I DNFed this. Hardcore. Now, I really do want to start this off with a positive before I delve into my problems with the book. I thought this was a solid debut. While I didn’t care for the plot or characters, I thought the writing was beautiful, the characters were obviously hashed out and felt accurate, and there was an obvious craft given to this book. I’d read another thing that Vaughan came out with, so long as it wasn’t this style.

I hate the books that are coming out for mystery these days. I think that they’re all the same, styled after Gone Girl or Girl on the Train. Funny enough, I liked both of those books. I love Flynn’s work and I think Hawking did a good job of making me like her characters. Yet, everyone now is wanting to copy them. This book branched off but was fundamentally the same.

The plot focuses on three women: Kate, a prosecutor for sexual assault victims; Sophie, the adoring wife; and Holly, some student from the 1990s. It’s told in first person for Kate and third person for Sophie and Holly. Then James, the husband, got a couple of random chapters.

James had an affair with none of the women in the perspective. It gets out. The news dies down. Then the woman he had the affair with accuses him of rape. Kate is against him. Sophie is horrified. Holly is nowhere to be seen because she was in the 1990s, not 2016.

You’d think that with all of these perspectives and a plot that deals with a prescient topic, something interesting would happen.

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Kate keeps going on about her work and that she obviously has some past that hadn’t come out yet. Sophie dwells on her husband and the case and how much she *~needs~* him… without any mention to the two kids they have and taking care of them and the problems I’m sure they’re having from their father. Holly talked a lot about going to school in Oxford and watching Sophie and James start their relationship.

It just didn’t feel real. At all. I found everyone annoying. I couldn’t care about Sophie since she seemed to be a bad mom for not focusing on her kids. Kate bored me, even if I found her the most compelling perspective. Holly made no sense to me although I have an idea of what her purpose would have developed into if I cared to find out.

It fell into the trap that most books do that are based on other writers. There were too many “unique” perspectives that didn’t add up and didn’t matter. I think the only two perspectives that worked were Kate and Sophie. Yet, why have one in first person and one in third? Make them both in third. (I have a bias against first-person narration, though.) Narrow the focus.

With all the perspectives, it felt like nothing important was happening. I kept waiting for some reveal that never happened. While the writing was good and I will keep an eye out for her future books, this one was just a huge miss for me. I love mystery, but not the type that keep coming out.

One thought on “Anatomy of a Scandal by Sarah Vaughan

  1. Pingback: January Wrap-Up | BW Book Reviews

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