Atria Books | 23 August 2022 | 320 pgs
Source: Publisher via Edelweiss
I've read and enjoyed a few of Catherine McKenzie's books and I've to say each of her book was mesmerizing in some ways. Her writing style is engaging as always; and I'm often intrigued by her characterisations and the different topics/elements she put in her books and leave readers pondering about the issues and the ending aftermath. This book is about women empowerment, conspiracies and revenge and you know you're in for a wild ride when a group of five women meet up for a networking event which they believe will help in their career and change their outlook in life in general.
Nicole Mueller is the lead character of this story and her once brilliant law career is falling apart. She and her husband, Dan, live in an apartment which is once owned by his late aunt but it's never made clear that the property would belong to them. After all, Dan's estranged mother and sister are still around and who knows when they'll come after him one day with this property issue? Just when Nicole feels so helpless with her situation, she receives an invitation from an exclusive women’s networking group called Panthera Leo. It stated that membership is anonymous and that every member is a successful professional. Thinking that it wouldn't hurt to try, she signs up for their retreat in Colorado despite Dan’s concern that it might be a cult group.
The retreat takes place in an isolated location and Nicole is blindfolded throughout the journey before reaching the destination. There, she meets the two founders of Panthera Leo, Michelle and Karma; as well as four other women who'll make up her Pride. Nicole soon learns that these four successful women are members before; and she's quickly bonded with them through some challenging activities during the retreat and most of all, the group’s core philosophy that they're an elite girl's club in a boy’s club world and that they'd take their corporate world by storm. But the more Nicole stays with the group, the more she realises that Panthera Leo might not be what she thinks it is and that there's always a price to pay for everything.
Please Join Us has a refreshing premise and combined with McKenzie's writing style it made an addicting read. Most of the characters aren't likeable, but they're intriguing in their own ways. The first half introduced us to these group of women, their bonding and what has gone through their lives so it was a slow buildup but was quickly replaced by suspense once an important event took place and affected Nicole's thoughts and plans with Panthera Leo. Overall I enjoyed it but there are some parts that I felt disbelief and perplexed, too. Still, it was a engaging read and it tackles the reality and the challenges the women often face especially working in a male-dominated corporate world.
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