Sarah Vaughan read English at Oxford and became a journalist, spending 11 years at The Guardian as a news reporter and political correspondent. Since becoming a novelist, she has put all of that experience to good use.
Vaughan's third novel. Anatomy of a Scandal (2018), which explores power privilege and entitlement in British politics, became an instant bestseller, was translated into 22 languages and has been adapted into a six-part series for Netflix starring Rupert Friend, Sienna Miller and Michelle Dockery, which will screen from April 15.
Anatomy of a Scandal is part psychological thriller, part courtroom drama and explores a developing scandal as a junior cabinet minister is arrested and stands trial for rape.
Reputation is a timely, thought-provoking novel about women, perception and power, and anachronistic attitudes to women in politics.
Vaughan has turned to the same formula in Reputation and added a charge of murder.
She has said the inspiration for the novel came from an article she read about British Labour MP Jess Phillips, who had extra locks put on her front door and a panic room in her constituency office.
Like Phillips, 44-year-old Emma Webster is a Labour backbench MP, a history teacher-turned politician.
She entered politics initially at the local level as a Labour councillor because "she felt so angry about the poverty of some of [her] students. Children who were having to attend foodbanks: were living in substandard B&Bs instead of being provided with adequate housing."
Her husband David resisted her career change and they have since divorced, sharing custody of their only child Flora, who is 14 as the novel begins.
Emma has made a name for herself as a passionate campaigner for issues affecting women, in particular revenge porn, a devastating form of online bullying, which has led one of her young constituents, Amy, to take her own life. The resulting reaction from trolls on social media has been significant and troubling, including death threats and promises of acid attacks.
However, Emma has had considerable support from Mike Stokes, political editor of a tabloid newspaper, The Chronicle.
She has "enjoyed working with him: had liked the validation he and his newspaper offered . . [the] mutual trust and goodwill was heartening: an antidote not just to the grim nature of Amy's case but the daily misogyny, the casual spilling of hatred [she] increasingly faced".
When Flora makes a foolish mistake after being bullied online, Emma's efforts to protect her daughter's reputation from the press result in Mike Stokes' death and Emma on trial for his murder.
Reputation is a timely, thought-provoking novel about women, perception and power, and anachronistic attitudes to women in politics. The ending is both clever and challenging.
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