When cabinet minister James Whitehouse, with a seemingly perfect life, goes on trial for rape, there is a lot at stake: not only his marriage to Sophie and his successful career (in tandem with his old friend Tom the PM), but also his exposure to Kate Woodcroft, the experienced prosecuting barrister hell-bent on revealing the truth.
Moving between the hallowed halls of contemporary Westminster and Oxford University decades earlier, this suspenseful psychological thriller and intelligent dissection of male privilege and behaviour, offers a fascinating and timely reflection on consent, intent and the misuse of power. [Larger font]
Several of the group had seen the television series, but despite knowing the ending still found the book very readable. The clever slow reveal of the characters kept us turning the pages. There was a lot of conversation about how conflicting the legal process is as an arbiter of guilt and innocence in such cases; especially so as we experience the shifts of cultural norms in our society. It was an easy read despite the unsettling nature of the content.
Well-written. Fairly topical theme for NZers right now. Attitudes of class and entitlement don't sit comfortably with Kiwis, so it promoted a very interesting discussion.
Excellent book. We are all looking forward to the Netflix version.
Most reluctantly persevered and found it captivating as it wore on. Not a popular choice but it stimulated great discussion.
We thoroughly enjoyed this story, and its parallels to aspects of British political and academic behaviour!
Everyone loved this thought provoking book. A great combination of weighty issues delivered in an easy to read page turner style. A credible version of a sexual assault's impact from the multiple perspectives of all the main characters. The characters were subtly portrayed as whole people with both good and bad characteristics. It stimulated a great discussion on the abuse of power by the entitled upperclass, what is true consent, what is the truth, and how damaging and long lasting the impact of sexual assault can be.
Enjoyed by all the group in varying degrees. Hard hitting topic with a particularly disgusting main male character. Interesting twist to the story.
Most of us didn't really expect to like this book but ended up loving it. It sparked discussion on all sorts of things: staying at home with kids vs pursuing career goals, educating our kids about consent, the decency of politicians, infidelity among posh people, and irresponsible things we did when we were young.
10/11 readers found it very gripping. All enjoyed. Very well written. Discussion was very animated and uninhibited. Thoroughly recommend.
Very well-written, if somewhat disturbing!
Good discussion and comments that this was very topical.
We had a zoom meeting to discuss this book at the end of May. We ALL liked it, an easy read during lockdown. Good discussion afterwards regarding rape, and Sophie's attitude to her husband. Would recommend book to other groups.
Well-written book. Enjoyed by everyone.
An excellent read. Although, at times, quite confronting and sexually explicit - it was at no time gratuitous. We had a great discussion about privilege and entitlement which really were the main themes of the story - and of course the "Me Too" movement. Our group is aged 70+ and we are mixed gender.
A jolly good read.
Different viewpoints on the book. Some found it difficult to get into, but rewarding when finished.
We found it difficult to relate to the characters initially but warmed to them as the story went on - not the rapist:-). Fabulous in depth discussion at our meeting - topics included old boys' culture, nurture issues etc.
Everyone enjoyed this book. Had a great discussion.
Despite the low score, we had one of the best discussions for a book. Everyone finished it; we felt it was not well-written but interesting subject matter.
This book divided the club. Some enjoyed it, most didn't. Some enjoyed the writing and descriptions, others felt the writing didn't make as much of the legal issues as other authors might have done. No-one could relate to the upper class characters or the old boys' network, but in talking about that it opened up one of the best discussions we've had.