Review: Rules of Civility

Wallace: You sure have a lot of books in here.
Kate: It’s a disease!
Wallace: Are you seeing anyone for that?
Kate: Nope, it is incurable.

That Katey Kontent is my kinda gal!!!

This fine crackerjack of a book takes place post depression in New York City. Katherine (Katya) Kontent is the daughter of a Russian immigrant, a working girl, and on her own in the Big Apple. She lives in a boarding house with Evelyn Ross, a beauty from the mid-west, who is desperate to get out from under the thumb of her well-off father.

It is New Year’s Eve, 1937, and things are starting to look up for America. Katey and Evie vow to make 1938 the best year yet. They scrape together a whopping 3 dollars to drink the night away at The Hot Spot– an underground jazz bar that they discovered first. These gals can fend for themselves– who needs boys tonight? Little do they realize their chance meeting with the handsome, dapper, Wall Street banker Theodore “Tinker” Grey will set off a chain of events that will change the trajectory of their current paths, and not necessarily for the better.

Tinker provides Kate and Eve the coveted entrance into the the lives of the elite of NYC. They cut a rug with people with names like Bitsy and Dickie, Peaches and Bucky in places like Central Park, Madison Avenue, The Ritz and the Empire State. There is no time like being in your 20s with the city at your command– friends, finery and a constant stream of alcohol. But, as Kate and Eve both vie for the attention of Tinker one will emerge as the “favourite” and, of course, this will challenge their friendship.

Another great debut by a first time author! The descriptions and dialogue were top notch! You felt like you were right in the heart of the time. Get me a Martini!! This book was delightful, delicious and just de-lovely!

4 stars

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3 thoughts on “Review: Rules of Civility

  1. I finished reading it this week – and part of me really liked it, and part of me felt like I ‘missed the point’ of it. I loved the writing, and I want to live in New York in the 1930s – no doubt. Lots of smoking and drinking and nobody cares! i don’t even smoke and this gave me cravings! But…I also felt a bit unfinished when I put it down. Eve’s story seemed to end so abruptly and I don’t get why Kate was so obsessed with the meaning of Tinker having the Rules of Civility. I get why she felt duped by him, but I don’t think it has much to do with the book or his upbringing. But she seemed to be focused on that. But – I still found it a really enjoyable reading experience!

    • i have to say that half of the beauty of this (for me) was the great narration– i listened to it on audio and was absolutely swept away at how wonderfully the narrator was! i do agree the ending could have had more info– especially about Eve– i loved her character!
      i did think the duping and Rules of Civility connection was more Katie trying to be modern in her head but in her heart still a bit old fashioned. what a time that must have been for women, eh?

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