I absolutely adore books that include moments I never saw coming.
So is the case of “Rules of Civility.” The story of friends Katya “Katey” Kontent and Evelyn “Evey” Ross, it almost reads like a “Sex and the City” meets “The Great Gatsby.” Kate and Eve are fast friends in late 30s NYC, rooming together at a boardinghouse and living life the best as they can on a little money and a lot of ingenuity. It’s New Year’s Eve when their “Big” comes calling—big time banker Tinker Grey.
Just a week into their friendship, their lives all take a dramatic turn, and the rest of the novel covers the next 12 months and its ups and downs in the lives of all three. Protagonist Katey is such a well-developed character that it came as a shock to me that this was Amor Towles’ first novel. Her heartache and determination leap off the page, and make it impossible to put the book down. Eve is that best friend you wish you did/didn’t have, and Tinker? Well, Tinker is the love of your life that you wait for patiently in the night to come that … I just can’t tell you. You have to read it.
What was I reminded of while reading this book? 1. People are not always what they seem to be. 2. Don’t trust older women. 3. Your heart will never listen to your head when it comes to love.
I tend to go back and forth on period pieces. Some I adore, others I abhor. This was one that, in light of the tragedy that is NYC during the Depression, I found myself mesmerized by. Lush, romantic and fraught with desperation, it was beautiful. The locales play just as important characters as the humans, drawing you into the scene. I want to live at the Beresford.
If you’re looking to escape and know you’re safe to ignore the family for at least a day, then run, don’t walk, to pick this up. A dear friend suggested to me the book would make me want to walk around all day with a martini glass. Yes! Pour yourself one and sit in a bubble bath with this book. You won’t be sorry.
Rules of Civility