Publication Date: April 5, 2022
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
Genre: Romance; Historical
Trigger Warnings: sexual assault; drug use
Reputation is billed as being “Bridgerton meets Gossip Girl” and I couldn’t agree with that more. I could run down the friend group in this book and name the character from Gossip Girl that they are minus an actual “Gossip Girl”. Our heroine, Georgiana (to be referred to as George from now on) is the Jenny of the group. She has been recently abandoned by her parents and left to the care of her Aunt and Uncle. She strikes up an unlikely friendship with Frances (the books version of Blair) who comes from a wealthy family and is thrust into her world of parties and impropriety. However, George’s station in life does not afford her the shield of wealth and status that it does her friends and she is desperate to hold on to them at all costs.
It took me about half the book to care about George because I found her desperation to be friends with Frances and her group to be off putting. Because of her desire to fit in with them she behaves in ways that make her unlikeable, especially when she is cruel someone that her new friends find beneath them. While I didn’t particularly care for her, I did enjoy the different view of society that we get from the typical historical fiction. The turning point for me was when George’s crush on Thomas started to turn into a friendship with him. Until that point it had just been a story of George and her friends getting drunk and/or high and it was refreshing to get a different aspect of the story. Along with the addition of more Thomas in the story Croucher also starts to infuse more heart and reflection into things which is when I started to see George in a different light.
I was surprised by what this story ended up being and I admired the stand the author took when it came to the subject of sexual assault. I also respect how Croucher had space in her story to show how different women handle different things that happen to them and doesn’t condemn anyone for how they choose to cope. George truly came full circle in this book and I loved her character arc. I do wish Croucher had spent some time earlier in the story humanizing George because I was way more invested in what was happening when I felt a connection to her.
This is a book that I think a fan of modern romances might enjoy if they want to dabble their toes into the historical side of things. However, if you are already a lover of historical romance I don’t think this is one you will enjoy. Reputation feels like someone took an historical romance and modernized it rather than writing a historical romance. The synopsis of this book refers to it as a romantic comedy and while I didn’t find it that humorous, I do think it has the lighthearted feel of a rom com. Which would make this the perfect book for the beautiful spring days we are (hopefully) having.