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Anatomy of a Scandal Book Club Questions

Anatomy of a Scandal is a complex book that brings up a lot of moral and ethical questions. 

Do the privileged get held to a different standard than your average joe’s? How does a person’s position, especially in the government, get them out of scrapes? 

This book is incredibly topical in the era of the #Metoo movement. It also gives you lots of opportunities to play out scenarios from multiple viewpoints. 

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Beyond all that, it’s just a really good read.

For a full review and a breakdown of the book, check out my notes on Anatomy of a Scandal: the Book Behind the Series.

If you are looking to dive into this debut novel by Sarah Vaughan with your book club, here is a list of discussion ideas to get you started. 

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Anatomy of a Scandal Book Club Questions

1. What were your impressions of Kate when we meet her as a Barrister? What were your first impressions of Sophie as a politician’s wife?

2. From the beginning of the book Sarah Vaughan foreshadows there are some dark, scandalous secrets surrounding the Libertines. What were your early theories about what it could be?

3. A lot of the characters question Olivia Lytton’s reasons for coming forward and accusing James. Considering she had an earlier relationship with James, do you think it was a brave thing to do? Naive?

Would you have done things differently?

4. The book covers a lot of ground and years from historic Oxford University to present-day London. What did you think of the book’s pacing? Did you speed through it or was it a slow burn?

5. It seems “Standing by your husband” is a big expectation of political wives, if their husbands are expecting to weather the storm and maintain their career.

Why do you think the public looks to the wife to see if they should forgive them or not?

6. Holly’s time at Oxford is tragically cut short. How do you think Holly’s life might have been different if she had never met James?

7. Were you surprised with the twist about Holly/Kate, or did you see it coming?

8. Do you think if Holly had confided in Sophie back when James first assaulted her, things would have been different? Do you think Sophie would have believed her?

9. Were you surprised by the jury’s verdict? Why do you think they came to that conclusion?

10. Why do you think the public seems to care about what happened 20 years ago at Oxford more than what James did in the present? Do you think this will actually end his career?

11. There is a strong theme of how privileged white men get away with a lot of things others don’t.

How do you think Vaughan is trying to mirror current events? Do you agree with her?

12. Is James being questioned over the Libertines the kind of justice you think Kate wanted? Or that Sophie wanted?

13. Did the book leave anything unresolved that you are still wondering about?

14. What did you think of the writing style? Would you want to read more books by Sarah Vaughan?

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Looking to make reading a more regular thing? Why not start a book club! Check out my article on How to Form a Book Club for tips on creating the ideal club for your lifestyle.


Did you read Anatomy of a Scandal for your book club? What did you think? Leave me a comment below about how the questions and book worked for you!