Anatomy Of A Scandal by Sarah Vaughan

Synopsis

Sophie’s husband James is a loving father, a handsome man, a charismatic and successful public figure. And yet he stands accused of a terrible crime. Sophie is convinced he is innocent and desperate to protect her precious family from the lies that threaten to rip them apart.
 
Kate is the lawyer hired to prosecute the case: an experienced professional who knows that the law is all about winning the argument. And yet Kate seeks the truth at all times. She is certain James is guilty and is determined he will pay for his crimes.
 
Who is right about James? Sophie or Kate? And is either of them informed by anything more than instinct and personal experience? Despite her privileged upbringing, Sophie is well aware that her beautiful life is not inviolable. She has known it since she and James were first lovers, at Oxford, and she witnessed how easily pleasure could tip into tragedy.
 
Most people would prefer not to try to understand what passes between a man and a woman when they are alone: alone in bed, alone in an embrace, alone in an elevator… Or alone in the moonlit courtyard of an Oxford college, where a girl once stood before a boy, heart pounding with excitement, then fear. Sophie never understood why her tutorial partner Holly left Oxford so abruptly. What would she think, if she knew the truth?

Review

ARGH! THIS BOOK! Okay, that sounds pretty negative, but I’m all about the drama, and this book got under my skin, in such a good way though, I assure you.
 
I’ve read Sarah’s debut novel ‘The Art of Baking Blind’ a few years ago and I really enjoyed it, but this is a whole level of greatness. Sarah’s writing is completely absorbing and there wasn’t one moment that I thought “I’ll just leave it here for a bit”.
 
You hear mainly from the three women, his wife and the prosecutor from the courtroom, and the girl who fancied him in college. There was also a couple of chapters from James himself, and these were definitely among the most interesting, even though he wasn’t a pleasant character.
 
The book makes you ask lots of questions to yourself, not least of all if you think James is guilty or not. James is a politician, so instantly there was a part of me that already distrusted him (and I think that was a clever move of Sarah), add to that as he comes across as arrogant and unlikeable in his chapters, it’s easy to condemn him as guilty straight away, but in a court of law, it should be innocent until proven guilty. On the other hand, it feels terrible even thinking the woman who has accused James of rape would lie and your gut instinct is to trust her. It’s a heinous and very topical crime, and one which is often not reported due to being one person’s word against the other among others, especially when the assault occurs in a relationship or with a person you know. Why would anyone make this up? It’s horrific to think of. This book makes you think and that can only be a good thing.
 
Sophie, James’ wife was a complex character, who I went through phases of how much I liked her. Whilst at college, she was clearly one of those people who were just happy to ride the waves of popularity, taking advantage of her new friend, Holly. Therefore it was hard to like her. As an adult though, while still seemingly snobby, her complex feelings due to James case was great to get into her head and mindset and made me a little more sympathetic towards her.
 
I liked Kate too, a few times I wavered, thinking she was too sure James was guilty, which whilst it was her job, it seemed she was judging him without even looking at any facts at times, but actually, the fact she cared about the victim and the case was actually nice, and maybe I was being too judgemental of Kate.
 
Holly was relatable to anyone who has felt slightly like an oddball whilst at school or university. So I enjoyed her chapters, to me, at least at the start it felt the most comforting to me, whilst the rest of the book was quite dark and full of unease.
 
This book has the drama, the moments where I found myself holding my breath with the apprehension of what was about to happen. It has everything I wanted from this book and more. If you want to read something that is powerfully written and will stay in your mind for a while, this is definitely the one to choose!
 
 
Published by: Simon and Schuster
Gratefully received from the Publisher for review
 
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The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena

Synopsis

Your neighbour told you that she didn’t want your six-month-old daughter at the dinner party. Nothing personal, she just couldn’t stand her crying.
 
Your husband said it would be fine. After all, you only live next door. You’ll have the baby monitor and you’ll take it in turns to go back every half hour.
 
Your daughter was sleeping when you checked on her last. But now, as you race up the stairs in your deathly quiet house, your worst fears are realized. She’s gone.
 
You’ve never had to call the police before. But now they’re in your home, and who knows what they’ll find there.

Review

I’ve been in quite the thriller mood recently and thought I would check this one out, as someone I met recently was in the middle of reading this and was enjoying it, so I though why not? I don’t regret it for a second.
 
The book wasn’t slow paced, intact I was surprised to learn it was only 352 pages once I had finished and looked. The writing style was different. Not in a bad way, how could it be bad if I had finished it in less than 24 hours, but there was something distinctive about it that I couldn’t put my finger on. It was a bit cooler, while the emotion was there and felt (particularly Anne’s) the writing seemed more matter of fact. As I said this wasn’t a bad thing, and it certainly left an impression on me.
 
In thrillers like this you often find yourself doubting the characters, often the lead character. With this book though, I pretty much trusted everyone, apart from maybe the neighbours. The detective obviously had their suspicions but I wasn’t such a sceptic. I especially trusted Anne, even though there was potential of her being responsible, there was something about her that made me trust that she didn’t do it.
 
I also liked Marco, he clearly adored Anne and seemed really supportive while she was suffering from post natal depression. I can also imagine how he felt with his in-laws. The rich-poor divide can be tough, especially when the rich male likes to shove their wealth and success in someone’s face as much as Anne’s stepfather did.
 
Obviously both parents are distraught and I wondered how I would sympathise with them if I were the general public, as in hindsight leaving a baby alone, however close they are was not a great idea (understatement of the century). However my heart did break for them.
 
Detective Rasbach was also a great character, while his questions were quite direct, it was clear he genuinely wanted to get to the bottom of what happened, and sometimes hard questions are needed.
 
Overall this book was as good as I’d heard, it lived up to the tenseness you expect from a thriller and constantly kept me guessing.
 
 
Published by: Transworld
Gratefully received from the Publisher for review
 
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The Escape by C. L. Taylor

theescapeSynopsis

“Look after your daughter’s things. And your daughter…”
 
When a stranger asks Jo Blackmore for a lift she says yes, then swiftly wishes she hadn’t.
 
The stranger knows Jo’s name, she knows her husband Max and she’s got a glove belonging to Jo’s two year old daughter Elise.
 
What begins with a subtle threat swiftly turns into a nightmare as the police, social services and even Jo’s own husband turn against her.
 
No one believes that Elise is in danger. But Jo knows there’s only one way to keep her child safe – RUN.

Review

I’ve read all of C. L. Taylor’s books and have adored them all so naturally I was excited to read this one. I was met with an exciting and puzzling read, that surprisingly even had sort of a sense of cosiness at times. This moved at a fast pace at the start, but at the middle it settled to a nice steady rhythm, which is not a bad thing, it relaxed me and was the calm before the storm, before the naturally emotional and highly charged conclusion to the story.
 
As I have come to expect, the writing is easy to read and once started you have the conflicting feelings of never wanting the book to end, but also the desperation to know what exactly is going on. The first half of the book is set in Bristol where Jo meets Paula for the first time and the chain of events starts. While I understand why Jo was scared, there was something in the back of my mind if she was just being paranoid and mis-understood or mis-construed what Paula was saying. I wanted to trust her, and the other strange goings on certainly pointed towards her being truthful, but at the same time, there were other signs that even before the Paula meeting that she was a bit over protective of her daughter. As soon as I did doubt her though, there was a chapter from Paula’s point of view that put a damper on my doubts, only for them to be re-ignited again on the next Jo chapter.
 
Overall though I did like Jo, She clearly adored Elise and it was her motherly love that did keep me on her side. After she escapes with Elise, we are treated to the calmer portion of the book. The setting in a small village in Ireland seems peaceful and idillic. It lulled you into a sense of security, that you know isn’t going to last. Mary, the Irish B&B owner is such a lovely character, hurting from a past tragedy, but along with Ben** is the source of warmth and cosiness you get from the book. This is stark contrast to Bristol where Jo lied with her husband, who was nice, but a bit too nice at times, almost patronising.
 
This book is another great read from the author. There was a great contrast in settings and atmosphere which of course added to the sense of foreboding that you knew was bound to come in the end.
 
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Published by: Avon
Gratefully received from the Publisher for review
 
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Sometimes I Lie by Alice Feeney

Last Sunday I found out that the author of this book had an event at my local Waterstone’s branch on Tuesday evening, I had it on Kindle, so set myself the challenge of reading and reviewing it before the event. Sadly, I was much busier with work than planned, so I managed to read the book prior to attending the event but had no time to write my review. Anyway, I now have a shiny signed copy in my bookcase, and have finished the review 🙂

sometimesilieSynopsis 

My name is Amber Reynolds. There are three things you should know about me:
 
1. I’m in a coma.
2. My husband doesn’t love me anymore.
3. Sometimes I lie.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Review

The synopsis for this book is short, to the point and incredibly mysterious. It begs you to read it and when I did, I could barely put the book down, and when I had to for work or sleep, I did so grudgingly.
 
It has 3 different time periods so to speak. “Before” from Amber’s childhood, “Then” which is the days leading up to Amber’s accident and “Now” where you are with Amber’s mind as she lays in a coma, able to hear and see things, but unable to speak or move.
 
What is clear throughout the book, regardless of time, was that Amber is as unreliable as she promises when she tells us that Sometimes she lies. Within 2 pages you can find yourself not trusting, and being wary of her, but on the next page you can like and empathise with her.
Slowly though my barrier broke down and I found myself trusting her more and more, it was other people I was doubting. Claire, her sister and Paul, her husband are acting strange throughout the whole book, so there is definite doubt in pretty much every character. It seemed that Amber wasn’t the only one that lied, or at least acting very suspiciously.
 
The childhood diaries were a part I wasn’t expecting, it was great to see Amber’s childhood, and it explained a lot. Her parents were very distant at the best of times, and while she wasn’t the best behaved child in the world, even before a paticularly bad incident, she seemed very lonely and her parents could have done so much more.
 
This is ending up much shorter than most of my reviews, but I don’t want to say too much. Anything more that I want to say could be classed as a spoiler. The only thing you really need to take away from the review is that you should read this book. It’s deliciously dark, I didn’t see the end coming at all. 
 
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Published by: HQ
 
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