Author : Sarah Vaughan
Title : Reputation
Pages : 420
Publisher : Simon & Schuster UK
Publication date : March 3, 2022
| ABOUT THE BOOK |
As a politician, Emma has sacrificed a great deal for her career—including her marriage and her relationship with her daughter, Flora.
A former teacher, the glare of the spotlight is unnerving for Emma, particularly when it leads to countless insults, threats, and trolling as she tries to work in the public eye. As a woman, she knows her reputation is worth its weight in gold but as a politician, she discovers it only takes one slip-up to destroy it completely.
Fourteen-year-old Flora is learning the same hard lessons at school as she encounters heartless bullying. When another teenager takes her own life, Emma lobbies for a new law to protect women and girls from the effects of online abuse. Now, Emma and Flora find their personal lives uncomfortably intersected…but then the unthinkable happens.
A man is found dead in Emma’s home. A man she had every reason to be afraid of and to want gone. Fighting to protect her reputation, and determined to protect her family at all costs, Emma is pushed to the limits as the worst happens and her life is torn apart.
| MY THOUGHTS |
Goodness gracious me, talk about a compelling story!
Let’s set the scene. Someone’s lying unmoving at the bottom of the stairs. Someone else is staring down from the top of the stairs. Who are these two characters and how did they get here? Once the story starts, it doesn’t really take a genius to figure that out. But the why is more important than the who and to truly understand how things came to pass, we first have to go back to watch past events unfold.
If you hadn’t yet guessed from the title, ‘Reputation‘ is all about … reputation. In Emma’s world as an MP, reputation is everything but it takes very little to destroy that reputation completely. When a young girl takes her own life, Emma sets about lobbying for a new law that will protect women and girls from online abuse or revenge porn. Meanwhile Emma’s daughter makes a mistake when pushed to the brink by bullies at her school. And before Emma realises it, that reputation she’s been trying so hard to uphold, comes under threat.
This clever multi-layered story is, unfortunately, very much of our time. The online abuse Emma has to deal with on a daily basis made my skin crawl. If you’ve spent ten seconds on social media, you realise how realistic and completely believable all of these comments are and they are positively terrifying. But it’s not just about Emma. There are various characters and thus various points of view, each dealing with reputation challenges in their own way.
‘Reputation‘ combines the dirty game of politics with the sleazy world of journalism and ends up as a tense court case. It’s remarkably easy to imagine yourself ending up in this exact same position after everything Emma has to deal with. Never mind worrying about your reputation when it so often feels like your life is in danger. I do enjoy a good court case, although they are mostly utterly tedious and incredibly repetitive. And yet, I found myself completely hooked, putting myself on the jury bench and trying to determine guilt or innocence.
Needless to say the entire tale is immensely thought-provoking and ‘Reputation‘ is truly excellent. I dare say it’s Sarah Vaughan’s best to date and I for one absolutely can’t wait to see what’s next from this exciting author.
‘Reputation’ will be published on March 3rd. My thanks to the publisher for the advanced review copy, which I received via Netgalley. All opinions are my own.