Many thanks to Anne Cater of Random Things Tours for inviting me to take part in this blog tour, and Simon and Schuster for the advance reading copy. This review forms my honest opinion.
Emma is a high-profile MP. Impassioned and empathetic, she wants to make a positive difference but faces threats and trolling as she tries to work in the public eye.
When she launches a campaign to protect women from the effects of online bullying, the abuse steps up. And when her teenage daughter’s character is called into question, Emma learns how far she will go to protect both their reputations.
But still: how did she come to be standing trial for murder? She only lied once – didn’t she?
I’m very excited to be one of three bloggers opening the blog tour for Reputation by Sarah Vaughan.
A new author for me, I first became aware of Reputation early in the year when it appeared on a few ‘most anticipated’ lists. Drawn to the idea of women and power, with an intriguing murder and legal drama to boot.
And it didn’t disappoint. Relevant themes; sexism, misogyny, abuse of power, press intrusion and hypocrisy all feature here. And it makes for sobering yet absorbing reading. It’s not a fancy fictional device to spice up a plot, these are things that are happening to women everyday. You don’t need to look very far to find women in elevated positions being disgustingly trolled. To find violence against women used as ‘banter’ in a bar. Much of Emma’s experience; keys in the hand, fear of being followed, will be all too recognisable to female readers. For me, her distress in the early parts of the book were palpable. I could feel my heart race along with hers. I felt drawn to Emma, protective of her even.
And I raced through it. Pulled into the legal drama, angry and despondent that this is the way things actually are. That a woman’s reputation is so fragile, yet what can destroy a woman; her life and her career, can actually bolster a man’s. I was actually reading this alongside watching Pam and Tommy on Disney and it really highlights the disparity well. Both caught up in the sex tape scandal, yet he is barely bothered. For him it’s a reiteration of his manhood. For her, it’s potentially career ending. Never mind that it’s with her husband, she’s painted in a certain light and whilst previous shoots etc were her choice. This was not. I was only around 11 at the time and barely knew about it, and it’s only recently that I can even begin to understand the level of violation. This reduction of the sense of self to something of a plaything for men comes across so well, the tweets concerning Emma are all too familiar. And the worst part is, it’s expected and normalised, as if because all female MPs, and females in general have to suffer it, then it is ok.
I will without question read more from Sarah Vaughan. This is a smart, carefully crafted book with a lot to say. Intensely readable with a brilliant multi-character narrative which adds both intrigue and kept me guessing. Reputation is a book all women should read. And all women will resonate with.
Reputation will be published on 3rd March
If you’re tempted to buy this book, it would be fantastic if you’d consider supporting a local independent bookshop with your purchase via Bookshop.org. And as a bookseller in such a shop, if you don’t already have a local indie, I’d love to be cheeky enough suggest and link my own workplace!
About the Author
Brought up in Devon, Sarah Vaughan read English at Oxford and went on to become a journalist. After training at the Press Association, she spent eleven years at the Guardian as a news reporter, political correspondent and health correspondent, before leaving to freelance and write fiction. Anatomy of a Scandal, her third novel was an instant international bestseller and translated into 22 languages, long-listed for the Theakston Old Peculiar Crime Novel of the Year 2018 and short-listed for the Audible Sounds of Crime Award, GoodReads Jury’s Out award, French Elle’s Prix des Lectrices and Richard & Judy’s ‘Best of the Decade.’ Anatomy of a Scandal has been adapted for screen and will air on Netflix as a six-part series in Spring 2022. Little Disasters, her fourth novel, was selected as a Waterstones Thriller of the Month in 2021, has been sold to the US, France, Portugal, Sweden and Spain, and optioned for TV. Reputation is her fifth novel.