Rules of Civility – Book Review

Rules of Civility by Amor Towles 

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Is this not the most beautiful book cover you’ve ever seen?! Maybe it was the main reason why I bought it – but in fairness, it was a total bargain at £1.99 in Oxfam. I went into this book with no idea of the plot, and came out pleasantly surprised. This review is spoiler free (yay!).

Genre:

Historical, Fiction

Plot:

It’s 1937, and Katey Kontent is living with her friend Eve in a New York boardinghouse. They are quickly running out of money while celebrating New Year’s Eve, until they bump into the generous Tinker Grey, a wealthy and handsome banker. The story follows the developing relationship between the trio, including the happiness and tragedy that follows…

What I Loved:

I’ve already said it, but I really love the cover. The design is so delicate and sophisticated, and the gold, white, and navy work so well together *insert heart eyes emoji*.

Throughout the book there are photos, which are explained at the start to be portraits taken secretly on the New York subway by Walker Evans (who is a real person). I found it so interesting to see what people looked like in the 30s/40s, especially when caught unaware.

When I first saw this book I was reminded of The Great Gatsby, which is a favourite of mine. Even though Rules of Civility is set over ten years later, it still has that same vibe of glamour and mischief among the rich, which I really enjoyed.

The writing by Amor Towles is beautiful, and again it reminded me of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s style. However, I found Towles’ writing a lot easier to understand, which was a bonus.

Rules of Civility was full of interesting and colourful characters, and even those not part of the main trio had backstories and personalities rich in detail, which I always appreciate in a book.

What I Didn’t Love:

With a cover as beautiful as this, you would imagine the back would follow suit. But no, instead of a blurb, we were given reviews from various newspapers and magazines. I don’t care if The Observer found it ‘Fabulous’, I just want to know what it’s about!

One thing in this book that I had never seen before was the use of hyphens instead of speech marks (see below). Although it’s not a massive thing, I sometimes forgot I was reading speech because of the lack of punctuation.

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Sometimes I felt the story got a bit lost in the effort of the writer to have meaningful and beautiful writing, which was a shame.

Overall Thoughts:

Overall I enjoyed Rules of Civility, and it was fun, quick read. I liked the characters and the storyline, but I will say that I felt it was lacking something in places (I’m still not sure what).

Rating: 4* /5

 

Originally,

Lexy

Follow me on Instagram – @originallylexy

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