It was not that long ago that a woman’s reputation was her most important asset. Any black mark on that reputation, whether real or imagined, had the potential to destroy her future and her family’s future.
Reputation: A Novel, by Sarah Vaughan, was released earlier this month. Emma Webster is a woman in a man’s world. She is a former teacher who has made a career switch to politics. In doing so, she lost her marriage and her emotional connection with her teenage daughter, Flora.
Emma knows that her success depends on her image and what the voting public thinks of her. She also knows the downsides that come with being a female politician. It takes one moment, one miscalculation of judgment to destroy everything she has built.
While her mother is getting figurative shit thrown at her, Flora is dealing with bullying and the loss of a long-time friendship. After a young woman takes her life due to online mistreatment, Emma works with the girl’s family to legislate against future crimes of this nature.
Emma and Flora’s problems collide when Emma is accused of murder. Determined to protect her family and prove that she is innocent, Emma is pushed to her limits.
Vaughan does it again. She mixes politics, family, sex, and growing up into a heady and powerful narrative that instantly pulled me in. Emma is a flawed heroine who I genuinely liked. She has chosen to go into a profession that by nature, is male-oriented and still not 100% accepting of women. Like many working mothers, she does the best she can to balance both motherhood and her job.
I was gripped by the proverbial throat until the very last page. It is so good and so far, one of my favorite books of the year.
Do I recommend it? Absolutely.
Reputation: A Novel is available wherever books are sold.