Published: March 3rd 2022
Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK
Genre: Thriller, Suspense, Psychological Thriller, Domestic Fiction, Legal Thriller, Political Thriller
Format: Hardcover, Kindle, Audiobook
Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for this riveting novel. Thank you to Anne at Random Things Tours for the invitation to take part and Simon & Schuster UK for the gifted ARC.
From the bestselling author of Anatomy of a Scandal, soon to be a major Netflix series…
Reputation: it takes a lifetime to build and just one moment to destroy.
‘Sarah Vaughan has done it again. Superb’ Shari Lapena
Emma Webster is a respectable MP.
Emma Webster is a devoted mother.
Emma Webster is innocent of the murder of a tabloid journalist.
Emma Webster is a liar.
#Reputation: The story you tell about yourself. And the lies others choose to believe…
MP Emma Webster is riding high; her career is flourishing, she’s making changes to laws she’s passionate about, and she’s being interviewed and featured on the front cover of the Guardian Weekend magazine. But then things start to fall apart and Emma soon finds her life is in tatters as she’s put on trial for a murder she says she didn’t commit. But what is the truth? Is Emma Webster a terrified woman who acted in self-defence, or is she a calculating killer erasing the threat to her reputation?
Tense, twisty and powerful, Reputation is a riveting blend of captivating whodunnit, gripping legal thriller and exploration of important social issues we face today. This was my first time reading one of Sarah Vaughan’s books and my expectations were high after hearing high praise of her previous novels. I was not disappointed. From the opening pages there is a foreshadowing of something terrible occurring that turns Emma’s world upside down, adding an ominous atmosphere that looms over every word. It had me on the edge of my seat as I waited for the full story to unfold, my heart pounding as it reached its dramatic crescendo. While I did guess some of the twists, many of them surprised me, taking the plot and characters in directions I never saw coming. Sharply written and intelligent, this is a thriller that keeps you guessing, makes you think and entertains you all in one fell swoop.
The characters are compelling, flawed and relatable, with problems that are both recognisable and believable. Emma was a great protagonist and I found her easy to root for at every step. She is a nuanced character who is strong, fierce and capable but also scared and unsure. I was never sure if she was guilty or not but could see how everything could have come together to create the perfect storm that led to murder. But the character I was most drawn to was Flora, Emma’s fourteen-year-old daughter. The author expertly puts the reader back into the psyche of a teenage girl as her isolation, fear and teenage angst leap from the page. I found her chapters heart-rending as a parent of teenagers; worrying what my children might be going through without me having any clue it’s happening. It also transported me back to my own teenage years and that feeling of having nowhere to turn and being scared to talk to your parents when something is really wrong. Emma and Flora’s experiences mirrored each other in many ways and I did enjoy seeing how it drew them closer together when they could have let it tear them further apart.
Emma’s political career sees her being a voice for the voiceless as she fights against violence and threats towards women, particularly concentrating on the battle for new legislation around revenge porn. It is a fight that makes her many enemies and she is subjected to the most vile threats and abuse every day. Before reading this book I had no idea of the extent of the abuse that is part of the daily lives of women in the public eye, the fear they live with or the many safety measures they are forced to take each day. I was shocked and appalled at what they are subjected to and can’t imagine needing water at public events in case acid is thrown in your face or being told to accept that threats of death and rape are part of the job you’ve chosen. All of this leads into the other many timely and important themes explored in the book such as female empowerment and solidarity, how women are judged more harshly than their male counterparts, online bullying and the misogyny, threats and violence that women endure and have grown to expect in their day to day lives. Even the young aren’t immune, with pre-teens and teenagers using technology as a bullying tool. While technology and social media can be a positive thing, when it’s used in this way it means that those who are targeted have no respite from the onslaught of abuse.
Unsurprisingly, the topic of reputation is another theme that recurs throughout the book and the author explores the subject of our reputation versus our character. Our reputations are built from the outside in but can be destroyed by those who don’t even know us in an instant. Emma is someone who is very aware of her reputation and carefully cultivates it, particularly in relation to her job. She has spent years building her reputation as a loving mother, no-nonsense MP and fierce warrior for female rights. It’s who she is from the inside out. So when it all comes crumbling down and her reputation is left in tatters, it shakes her to her core and Emma struggles with being portrayed as a person she doesn’t recognise. It is her reputation, as well as her freedom, that she is fighting for in court.
Bold, brilliant and intriguing, Reputation packs a punch. This is a book you need to read.
MEET THE AUTHOR:
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 and political correspondent before leaving to freelance and write fiction. Anatomy of a Scandal, her 3rd novel and her first courtroom drama/psychological thriller, combined these experiences and became an instant international bestseller, and Sunday Times top five bestseller. Translated into 22 languages, it was also a kindle number 1 bestseller, shortlisted for awards in the UK, France and Sweden, and filmed as a six-part Netflix mini-series, starring Sienna Miller, Michelle Dockery, and Rupert Friend. It will be transmitted in spring 2022.
Little Disasters has also been optioned for the screen, was a Waterstone’s thriller of the month, WH Smith paperback of the month, Kindle bestseller, and has been published in the US and various other countries. She is currently working on her fifth novel
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Please check out the reviews from the other bloggers taking part in the tour.
Thanks for reading Bibliophiles ☺️ Emma xxx