Top positive review
on 24 January 2018
I should have gone to bed but alas, this was just so gripping I couldn’t. Had to read on to the end. I agree - it is as good, or better, as Appletree Yard. And very timely too, in these “Me too” days, as it deals with male-female power dynamics particularly re sex. Sarah Vaughan skewers it neatly in one particular passage where she talks about men assuming dominance and why women let them. It’s complicated, and as she says, women need to know they can say no and mean it unequivocally. What’s at issue here is whether charismatic politician James Whitehouse raped a young woman at work with whom he has had an affair. Kate Woodcroft is the QC for the prosecution. She has a big agenda of her own. Her sections are written in the first person. The sections from the POV of James and his aristocratic wife Sophie are written in third person. James, Sophie and Kate were at Oxford. As a scion of the establishment, James was part of a group of privileged, wealthy students called The Libertines. The section describing their drunken trashing of a restaurant is unforgettable. The doings of this group come into play in a hinted-at way throughout the book. James’s friend Tom is now PM. References are made to Tom owing James big-time for something bad that happened. After the trial, Sophie re-thinks her position on a lot of things. What really matters? This is truly gripping, and the writing is superb. Six stars.