Review: Rules of Civility

Why I picked it: New York City in the 30's, what's not to love?! My family calls NYC home, dating back to the early 1900's. I love reading books set in this time period, I feel a connection to my grandparents and love reading about what life was like in the thirties.

Synopsis: A sophisticated and entertaining debut novel about an irresistible young woman with an uncommon sense of purpose. Set in New York City in 1938, Rules of Civility tells the story of a watershed year in the life of an uncompromising twenty-five-year- old named Katey Kontent. Armed with little more than a formidable intellect, a bracing wit, and her own brand of cool nerve, Katey embarks on a journey from a Wall Street secretarial pool through the upper echelons of New York society in search of a brighter future.

The story opens on New Year's Eve in a Greenwich Village jazz bar, where Katey and her boardinghouse roommate Eve happen to meet Tinker Grey, a handsome banker with royal blue eyes and a ready smile. This chance encounter and its startling consequences cast Katey off her current course, but end up providing her unexpected access to the rarified offices of Conde Nast and a glittering new social circle. Befriended in turn by a shy, principled multimillionaire, an Upper East Side ne'er-do-well, and a single-minded widow who is ahead of her times, Katey has the chance to experience first hand the poise secured by wealth and station, but also the aspirations, envy, disloyalty, and desires that reside just below the surface. Even as she waits for circumstances to bring Tinker back into her orbit, she will learn how individual choices become the means by which life crystallizes loss. Elegant and captivating, Rules of Civility turns a Jamesian eye...

Type: Historical Fiction

Quick Take: This is a wonderful story. The writing is amazing and the pace of the story is quick. When I wasn't reading this book I was thinking about it, wanting to read on to see how the story would end for Tinker, Kate and Eve.

Kate and Eve's story starts like many I've read, two young women who move to NYC to be part of the NY lifestyle, find work and build a better life for themselves. The rest of the story was a new/interesting twist on life, decisions and circumstance (the rise/fall of many) in the late 1930's.

I don't want to write about Kate and Eve's relationship with Tinker, or share how the story unfolds, discussing it here would mean telling much of the plot, which should be left for the reader to discover. Just know I adored this one.

This novel would make for a wonderful movie.

Rating: 4.5/5 stars
Source: NetGalley

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