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  • Writer's pictureJudith D Collins

Prima Facie

Narrator: Jodie Comer

ISBN: 9781250332516

Publisher: Macmillan Audio

Henry Holt & Co

Publication Date: 01/30/2024

Format: Audio

My Rating: 5 Stars (ALC)

This program is read by Jodie Comer, an Emmy-, Tony-, and Olivier Award–winning actor. Comer recently won a Tony for her performance in the smash hit one-woman play Prima Facie on Broadway.

This is not life, this is law…

Tessa Ensler loves her job. She’s worked her way up to being a top criminal defense barrister against all the odds, and fights to defend those pleading not guilty. Tessa believes in the law, believes in the system. Her quick-witted cross-examinations and intelligence in the courtroom see her clocking up win after win - including securing freedom for men accused of rape and sexual assault. Innocence until proven guilty is, after all, the bedrock of a civilized society.

But when Tessa is raped by a coworker, she struggles to find the strength to bring him to justice in the face of the barriers and opposition within that same system. Determined to have her day in court, Tessa is forced to confront the stark reality that the law was not written for victims, and that she is the one on trial. She fights on, even as her evidence is manipulated to make her look like a liar, even while she is retraumatized in the stand.

Based on the Olivier and Tony Award-winning play, Suzie Miller’s Prima Facie is an unforgettable story of what happens when a victim is asked to navigate a system that is not set up to accommodate the lived experience of sexual assault survivors.

A Macmillan Audio production from Henry Holt & Company.

My Review

On stage, Suzie Miller's PRIMA FACIE has won Tony and Olivier awards starring Jodie Comer. It has sold out several seasons and is produced in different countries and languages. A film version, penned by Miller and starring Cynthia Erivo, is coming.

PRIMA FACIE is now adapted into a compelling and moving debut novel about a sexual assault defense-barrister-turned-complainant who tries to get justice for her own rape, out Jan 30, 2024.

Set in London, Tessa Ensler loves her life as a successful criminal defense barrister (attorney). She had a rough childhood, growing up in a trailer park with a single mom after her mom's horrible boyfriends. Tess is a survivor and resilient with a full scholarship to Cambridge. She loves her life and her career.

She usually wins, and there are many men (her defendants who have often walked free). Her job is to offer a fair representation, regardless of whether they are guilty.

Then, the unthinkable occurs. A friend and colleague rape her—now she is on the other side of the courtroom, powerless, having to relive the pain and horror for the world to see and judge—from the physical and emotional traumas of sexual assault.

Determined to have her day in court (two years later), Tessa is forced to confront the stark reality that the law was not written for victims and that she is the one on trial with emotional turmoil. She perseveres, even as her evidence is manipulated to make her look like she is not telling the truth, while retraumatized on the stand.

In the novel, the author explores Tessa’s upbringing and family and flashbacks to Tessa’s law school years, where we learn more about her as an outsider and insider.

Can a system built by and for wealthy white men do right by anyone who doesn’t fit that mold?

A stellar and critical novel, exposing a broken system with a call to action for change to help women. Miller does a fabulous job of exploring what it takes to report an assault, the legal system, the fallout, and what victims experience by coming forward and, even then, may not receive justice in our broken legal system.

Prima Facie is bold, powerful, timely, sharp-witted, raw, visceral, and essential! From insights and imperfections to the shortcomings of the legal system.

One in three women will be raped or sexually assaulted; one in ten will report it to the police; of that, just over 1% or 1 in every hundred will secure a conviction for the perpetrator. When will laws change to protect the innocent?

AUDIOBOOK: I listened to the audiobook read by the fabulously talented Jodie Comer, an Emmy, Tony, and Olivier Award-winning actor, and her performance in the smash hit one-woman play Prima Facie on Broadway. It was an outstanding, stellar audio performance; I highly recommend the audiobook!

Thanks to Macmillan Audio and NetGalley for the pleasure of listening to an early audio review copy for an honest opinion.

@JudithDCollins | #JDCMustReadBooks

My Rating: 5 Stars

Pub Date: Jan 30, 2024


"Hits like a ton of bricks, evoking in full the physical and emotional horror of sexual assault and its lasting effects on the victim... A rawly moving debut filled with insights into the legal system and its shortcomings."

―Kirkus (starred review)

“Enthralling and sharp-witted―Prima Facie takes an unflinching look inside a legal system that is more punishing to the victims of sexual assault than it is to the assailants. A scathing and true look at how the legal system can retraumatize victims. Highly recommended.”

―Karin Slaughter, New York Times and #1 international bestselling author

“Heartbreakingly timeless. Written with skill, humor, despair and hope.”

―Chris Whitaker, New York Times bestselling author of We Begin at the End

"Miller delivers this powerful legal drama based on her 2023 Olivier and Tony award–winning play... [an] engrossing, emotionally honest story addressing contemporary issues around sexual assault, privilege, and social justice."


"Miller’s narrative more than succeeds as an impassioned piece of advocacy that illuminates the tilted playing field facing sexual assault survivors."

―Publishers Weekly

"A fast-paced thriller full of fury and pain... absolutely intent, and absolutely clear on educating readers."

―The Australian

About the Author

Suzie Miller is a contemporary international playwright, screenwriter, and novelist. Based in both London and Sydney, Australia, Miller has had her work produced around the world, winning multiple prestigious awards, including for her smash-hit one-woman play Prima Facie, which ran a sold-out, critically successful season on London’s West End, winning the Laurence Olivier Awards for Best New Play 2023 and Best Actress 2023; followed by a critically successful season on Broadway, receiving four Tony Award nominations and a win for Best Actress 2023. Miller is educated in science and law, with a doctorate in drama and mathematics. She practiced human rights law before turning to writing full-time and is currently developing major theater, film, and television projects across the UK, USA, and Australia, including feature film adaptations of her plays. Prima Facie is her first novel. READ MORE







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