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.
Reputation is a gripping looking at the life of a female MP, and the way that being in the public eye can bring many challenges and, ultimately, ruin lives.
I think this book does a brilliant job at highlighting the pressure on people like this to be perfect, all of the time – and not just for them but also their whole family. Obviously, we hold MPs to a very high standard – and so we should! – but often we forget that they are, at the end of the day, also just real people with faults and weaknesses.
I really liked the main character Emma. She’s strong, determined and at the same time cares deeply. As the book goes on you truly feel for her, and though she makes some stupid decisions at times – mostly just because they’re automatic, knee-jerk reactions – you’re rooting for everything to be OK. I’d say all the characters in this novel are flawed in some way or the other, but they’re believable and well rounded, and I thought they added an extra layer of authenticity to the story.
There’s plenty going on in this twisty plot, from scandal to courtroom surprises, and the writing is brilliant. Sarah Vaughan has created a taut, suspenseful novel that kept me wanting to read on, without ever feeling overworked. There’s plenty of drama but it doesn’t feel too unbelievable or ridiculous – rather, it got me thinking about how I’d react in her situation.
Many thanks to the publisher, for providing a copy of this book on which I chose to write an honest review.