cover image A Special Place for Women

A Special Place for Women

Laura Hankin. Berkley, $26 (368p) ISBN 978-1-984806-26-0

A journalist infiltrates a secret society in the diverting if far-fetched latest from Hankin (Happy & You Know It). Jillian Beckley tries to impress her crush, Miles, a married editor, by promising him an exposé on the secretive, influential New York City women’s social club Nevertheless, rumored to be the force behind the rise-and-fall of a recent progressive mayoral candidate. Jill ropes her friend, rising-star chef Rafael Morales, into pretending he’s her boyfriend in order to get enough cachet for an invitation to one of the club’s events, where she unexpectedly bonds with member Margot Wilding over the loss of their mothers. Meanwhile, Jill deals with her feelings for Miles, who’s having marriage woes, and Raf, who confesses his love for her. After Jill’s initiation, Margot takes Jill under her wing and reveals the truth about the club, at which point Jill questions whether the sisterhood and power of the group is worth sacrificing in order to give Miles a great article. It would break the rules of Nevertheless—and spoil the book—to dish on what’s really going on, but it’s safe to say it involves rituals that go beyond the standard fare for socialites. The narrative has a couple of nice twists, but the ending’s a bit of a stretch. Still, this should amuse anyone who keeps tabs on the tastemakers. Agent: Stefanie Lieberman, Janklow & Nesbit Assoc. (May)