Saturday 5 November 2022

Book ~ "Please Join Us" (2022) Catherine McKenzie

From Goodreads ~ At thirty-nine, Nicole Mueller’s life is on the rocks. Her once brilliant law career is falling apart. She and her husband, Dan, are soon to be forced out of the apartment they love. After a warning from her firm’s senior partners, she receives an invitation from an exclusive women’s networking group, Panthera Leo. Membership is anonymous but every member is a successful professional. It sounds like the perfect solution to help Nicole revive her career. So despite Dan’s concerns that the group might be a cult, Nicole signs up for their retreat in Colorado.

Once there, she meets the other women who will make up her Pride. A CEO, an actress, a finance whiz, a congresswoman: Nicole can’t believe her luck. The founders of Panthera Leo are equally as impressive. They explain the group’s core philosophy: they’re a girl’s club in a boy’s club world.

Nicole is all in. And when she gets home, she soon sees dividends. Her new network quickly provides her with clients that help her relaunch her career and a great new apartment too. The favours she has to provide in return seem benign. But then she’s called to the congresswoman’s apartment late at night where she’s pressed into helping her cover up a crime. And suddenly, Dan’s concerns that something more sinister is at play seem all too relevant. Can Nicole extricate herself from the group before it’s too late? Or will joining Panthera Leo be the biggest mistake of her life?

Nicole is a partner at a law firm but because she's not gathering enough "points", her boss tells her that unless she bills more hours and brings in more clients, her job is on the line. She and her husband, Dan, are renting his elderly aunt Penny's apartment with the understanding that when she passes away, Nicole and Dan will be able to buy the apartment from the estate.

Around this time, Nicole receives an invitation to join a women's group, Panthera Leo. There is an initiation retreat in Colorado where she and other successful women have to earn their place in their Pride. Once she's done this, Nicole starts to see the benefits of being part of the group. She and Dan are offered a great apartment at a low rent, a huge case is dropped on her lap, etc. But then she starts to see the cost of these benefits and wonders if it's worth it.

I thought the premise of this book sounded good ... girl power! But it found the ending convoluted and then more convoluted and unbelievable. I had a hard time buying all the connections and that someone smart enough to be a lawyer would get sucked in like this. It's written in first person perspective in Nicole's voice. As a head's up, there is swearing.

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