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Review 🔍 Reputation by Sarah Vaughan

July 7, 2022


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.

Release Date:
Jul 5, 2022
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Imprint: Atria/Emily Bestler Books 
Price: $12.99

Emma Webster has worked hard for years and made many sacrifices to get to where she is. A former history teacher, Emma is now a member of parliament who is in the position to make changes to improve the lives of her constituents. She is on her way to getting an important law passed which will be a huge win for women. Emma isn’t afraid to take a stand on tough issues and she has plenty of detractors, but also has a reputation for integrity. Things start going wrong when a series of events involving both her and her teenage daughter threaten to ruin Emma’s career and both Emma and her daughter’s reputations.

This is a well-written book told from multiple points-of-view in which the theme of “reputation” plays a huge role in the lives of several different characters. The downside and dangers of being in the public eye as well as bullying also play a large part in the book. There is a slow build-up in the story with Emma starting out on top but then facing both online and in person threats. Soon afterwards, she must also deal with a terrible incident involving her daughter, Flora. Some of the anonymous threats Emma receives are vulgar, scary, and hard to read. All that Emma and Flora are going through continues to build to a disastrous situation in which a man is found dead in Emma’s home. The details leading up to that event and the aftermath are slowly revealed and it’s evident that more than one character has been keeping secrets.

Emma is usually a sympathetic character, but many of her decisions make it hard to warm up to her. Some of the other characters are even harder to like or connect with, which took away from my enjoyment of the book. The chapters covering the criminal trial are very engrossing and are the highlight of the book. The trial is interesting and suspenseful and when I got to this part of the book, it was hard to put down. Before everything is wrapped up, there are a couple different unexpected reveals that will have you looking at prior events and a couple of the characters in a different light. This is the first book I’ve read by Sarah Vaughan, but I’m impressed by the way she creates a memorable story.

~ Christine

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