Author: Sarah Vaughan
Published: December 5, 2017 by Atria Books
Genre: Contemporary Women’s Fiction
Hardcover: 256 pages
Stars: 3 1/2 out of 5
This is a story of privilege, intrigue, moral dilemma, and of course Scandal, with a capital S! James Whitehouse is a member of parliament and married with two children. He is good looking, athletic, charismatic, has a degree from Oxford, and comes from a wealthy family. When, on the eve of the story going public, he has to break the news to his wife about an office affair, she decides to stand by him, publicly at least. Then, when the mistress accuses him of rape, the veneer in their marriage starts to crack and she has some serious doubts about his innocence.
I can see book clubs devouring this because it gives you so much to think about as far as your own moral compass goes. Is it rape, if just a week ago it was a consensual relationship? Is it rape if the former relationship had a pattern of risky sex in public places? What if the woman doesn’t say an unequivocal NO, but more of a “no, not here”? Then to complicate matters, parts of all three main character’s pasts come to light. The moving back and forth from past to present keeps things moving at a good pace.
The alternating view points also kept me interested. The story is told from the view points of the three main characters, so you really get inside the head of the man accused of this crime, his wife, and the prosecuting attorney. This is great for seeing all sides of the scandal and I rather enjoyed my own internal dilemma with who to side with, but at times, I felt like the introspection dragged on a bit too long. Halfway through the book, you do get a satisfying twist though that connects the dots.
What this book gives you is a juicy scandal, good character development, an inside look at a marital relationship, and a moral dilemma to think about. It comes out in early December of this year.
Many thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for providing my copy; it was a pleasure to provide my honest thoughts here.