A Special Place for Women

Berkley. May 2021. 368p. ISBN 9781984806260. $26. F
Struggling journalist Jillian Beckley gets the go-ahead from Miles, a married magazine editor she used to work with (and whom she kissed once, but that meant absolutely nothing!), to infiltrate a secret elite New York City women’s society (are they witches?) and deliver an exposé to him. Her first task is getting an invitation. Enter her attractive, longtime platonic friend Raf, a celebrity chef. They pretend to be dating, which gives Jillian some much-needed clout with the secret society. After passing some tests, she’s invited into the group, where members meet in a cool clubhouse with a secret door, pay membership dues, attend career workshops, and get tarot card readings. Though the club purports to lift women up, it sometimes tries instead to bring them crashing down. Hankin’s second novel (after Happy & You Know It) is a fast and funny first-person read, boasting a well-crafted heroine and an eclectic, compelling supporting cast; with the exception of Raf, who is Cuban American, the central characters are white. They’re all refreshingly flawed, which adds realism compared to the sometimes WTF goings-on in the secret society.
VERDICT Fans of clever, witty women’s fiction with some family matters and a touch of romance will appreciate this unique story.
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