Cassie Forrester Quinn leaves her graduate studies at Yale to be with her family in Manhattan after her brother Nate has given her the shocking news that their younger brother Billy, a junior at Princeton, has been arrested for sexually assaulting Diana, his former girlfriend. Even though the wealthy Quinn family has total faith in Billy's innocence, they know that the media will have a feeding frenzy given that Billy is rich, white and an Ivy League athlete. Mother Eleanor wants the case to go to trial to fully vindicate her son. Diana's lies need to be exposed. Father Lawrence, seeking to protect the family and its secrets, wants to pursue a plea deal. And Cassie, who has had a sexual relationship with Marcus, an older, married man for many years, starts to reevaluate the affair, which started when she was a teen and a minor. Once the courtroom drama begins, many layers start to get peeled away to get to the truth.
When We Were Bright and Beautiful is disturbing and riveting. Cassie, the book's narrator, gives the reader a journey through the trial as well as her own revelations that threaten her place in the family. The reader gets a peek into the world of the very wealthy as well as what happens when a man is accused of this type of crime. I found the courtroom strategies and antics especially strong as the level of suspense builds as to whether Billy, a sweet pre-med student, is the true victim of a vindictive ex-girlfriend or guilty as charged. Author Jillian Medoff has created a compelling page-turner that is well suited for book clubs as you'll want to talk about it once you're done reading.
Rated 4.25 out of 5 stars.
Publication Date: August 2, 2022.
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