Emma Webster is a backbencher but she gains publicity after a Guardian interview with striking photos and especially when she makes the case of a girl who committed suicide after being cyberbullied with a private video of her ex-partner her prime topic. But then, things go quickly down the hill, she is harassed and threatened increasingly by frustrated men, her daughter Flora becomes the victim of bullying at school and online and makes a huge mistake. Emma, too, loses her temper and thus becomes the prime suspect in a murder case. How could this all go so wrong when she just wanted to protect her own and her daughter’s reputation?
I totally adored Sarah Vaughan’s novels “Notes on a Scandal” and “Little Disasters”. Her latest, “Reputation”, too, did definitely not disappoint. The author greatly used an important topic to fire up the plot and brilliantly outlines how, still in 2022, there is much more men can do than women and how fragile their public picture is. With Emma, she created an authentic protagonist whose point of view shows the contradictory feelings and constraints a woman in a public position is under.
On the one hand, the novel is a murder mystery in which you are repeatedly surprised as little bits and pieces surface unexpectedly making things appear in a different light. On the other hand, the novel lives on the personal perspective of Emma and her daughter being subject to bullying and harassment. Sarah Vaughn greatly develops the characters who come under ever more pressure until it gets too much and they do things they themselves would have considered unimaginable. The female characters are brilliantly developed since they have mixed feelings which make it all but easy to decide what to do and thus underline that life is far from being just black and white.
A great read with an important topic that outlines how cruel people can be and how important it is to have good friends you can rely on.