What does it mean to live one’s own life at the risk of upsetting the family apple cart?  Are self discovery and fulfillment worth destroying reputation and expectations?  These questions are central in this wonderful novel by Charlotte Mendelson.  I thoroughly enjoyed her examination of the “perfect” family and what is revealed when the veneer cracks, weaknesses and secrets are exposed, and family loyalty is challenged.  The author uses blisteringly British humor to explore her characters, some of whom grow, others of whom choose the protective cocoon of their traditional roles.  For anyone interested in family politics (and who isn’t?), When We Were Bad is a truly satisfying, funny, and ultimately tender read. –Emily

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