I am delighted to share my review today for Reputation by Sarah Vaughan. This is a fabulous psychological thriller and is the first book on my #20booksofsummer reading challenge.
I requested this book via NetGalley and I was delighted when my request was accepted.
The bestselling author of Anatomy of a Scandal returns with a new psychological thriller about a politician whose less-than-perfect personal life is thrust into the spotlight when a body is discovered in her home.
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, she finds the glare of the spotlight unnerving, 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.
This is a story that had me hooked, a story that gives the reader a dilemma as they read it, well it did me! I felt conflicted as I read this story, as part of me wanted one outcome while the other thought another should be right. A sort of head or heart dilemma, and one that made for compelling reading.
The focus of the story is on Emma Webster, a one time teacher and now an MP. She does have an agenda, it is one that the rights and safety of women online. Emma is no stranger to the bad side of social media, threats, trolls and being constantly watched add pressure to an already full work/ home life.
The author uses Emma to highlight problems with society and social media. It is something that is quite timely at the moment with a certain celebrity trial. All you have to do is look on any platform and you will see horrendous comments. There are several points the author makes within the story – public figures should be expected to be trolled with comments and criticism, the tabloids have a right to go after a story that is about a politician, and anyone who has a public profile should be expected to take this and not make a stand. While people are allowed opinions, this story deals with when the opinions go beyond what is acceptable.
Using Emma, the author portrays a woman who wants to make a stand, and help to make new laws but also make a difference. Throughout the story, I got to know Emma, her ethics, her beliefs and also her daughter, Flora. The story is told from both of their perspectives and gives a totally different side to their lives, it helps to put things into perspective.
When Emma is brought to trial, the author does a brilliant job of giving the for and against arguments, it is riveting reading and really ramps the tension level up several notches. This is where the real reader dilemma comes into its own – which way do you think it should go? Well, I am keeping my opinion to myself!
The ending of this story was something else as well, it gave a conclusive ending and one that finally answered some lingering questions and thoughts.
This was a fabulous read and if you have read anything by this author before, then I do think you are going to really enjoy this one. It is one for readers who like thought-provoking, psycholologi8cal thrillers. Brilliant book and one I would definitely recommend.
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