Please Join Us by Catherine McKenzie, 4 Stars

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 favors 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?

My Review:

It can be hard getting ahead as a woman in a male-dominated industry. It’s something that Nicole Mueller has fought her entire career as a lawyer trying to make partner. And she’s fighting hard, but she’s starting to lose as male lawyers in firm just seem to cut in line ahead of her on the corporate ladder at every turn. So when she’s invited to join Panthera Leo, a networking group for powerful women, she’s intrigued, but also skeptical.

Nicole is quickly taken up in the Panthera Leo culture and while she’s a bit intimidated by the leaders, she does quickly make some fast friends that make it worth it. Best of all? They promise to help her level-up her career and it’s clear they have connections to pull those strings to advance her career to where it would have been already if she were a man. Everything’s going well until her debts come due and she realizes there is a lot more going on being the scenes at Panthera Leo than she could have ever known.

Please Join Us is a fantastic page-turner that will keep you up all night. Special thanks to Netgalley and Atria Books for an advanced readers copy in exchange for my honest review. This one is out now!

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