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VINE VOICEon 29 January 2017
Having read, reviewed and been highly impressed by Amor Towles second book, ‘A Gentleman in Moscow’ I soon found myself downloading and reading his first book, 'Rules of Civility'. I wasn’t disappointed, ‘Rules of Civility’ is the story is of a single girl in her twenties making her way in New York in the late 1930s. There’s a sense of frivolity and decadence as she meets a host of people from the very wealthy to the very – dare I say it – ordinary. It starts to change at the end of the decade, as the Depression and Spanish Civil War takes hold.

But the book starts much later and we initially, briefly, meet Katey in the 1960's exploring an art gallery with her husband. The plot then jumps seamlessly back in time thirty years and we gain a better understanding of Katey's life and how it interacts with the novel’s (very important) secondary characters.

This is, most definitely, an atmospheric and decadent read; you need to have a cocktail handy and, ideally, some jazz music playing in the background!

Read and enjoy.
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on 17 September 2017
I imagine I would have enjoyed this more had I been a New Yorker. Nevertheless, it was an enjoyable read and a pleasure to find an author who has a knowledge of good grammar. BUT and it is a big BUT I found the storyteller to be totally unconvincing told by a woman. Huge clangers throughout the book - a 1930's young woman, mixing in that society, despite her background, would not refer to her 'underpants' or 'climb into bed'. The way she slugged from a bottle and numerous references to the way she drank also did not ring true. I'm not saying she would not have done this but the expressions used are very 'mannish'. I also felt the numerous references made to women's blouse buttons and cleavage more a giveaway of the author's preferences than the way one woman would notice another. So, to sum up - an enjoyable read for the storyline and language but it should have been proofed much more carefully for the great risk he took in writing as a woman.
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on 19 June 2017
A friend recommended this so I approached it expecting a fun read, a story about the glamorous and rollicking adventures of two young girls on the make in NYC. In reality I don't know what it is. It feels like all the ingredients are there but strung together in a series of vaguely related scenes which, I suppose, are meant to tantalize and propel us further into the book but which, in fact, just began to bore me because nothing of any consequence was happening. Scenes seemed almost to stand independently and, as far as I could tell, did nothing to move things on - just a series of not-very-exciting vignettes. So - glad it worked for some, but not for me. Too many books to read, too little time!.
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on 16 November 2012
I must say, I picked this up to read for my book club with the heaviest of hearts. Katey Kontent? A frothy romp through New York in the 30s? A blurb from David "One Day" Nicholls comparing it to a dry martini? Please, spare me.

Which made the fact that I really enjoyed this incredibly dry, unexpected book all the more pleasurable. I'd never heard of the author before, but my God he knows how to master a sentence. I highlighted so many good passages, my Kindle edition is practically one great big underline.

Some reviewers have murmured that perhaps this male author hasn't quite mastered a female protagonist, to which I say thank heavens. Katey Kontent, despite the odd swerve, is incredibly refreshing: master of her own destiny, completely unbothered about husband hunting, swooning, dating, basically anything that a female lead usually is. It's a romantic book, sure, but it also takes in her career and defining who she wants to be in New York. And, brilliantly, the clever ways she goes about obtaining what she wants, without ever resorting to wiles or being a complete cow.

The pace and tone of the book takes some getting used to, particularly if you're expecting something lighter and more fluffsome. But the characters are terrific. And if they've got a few more male literary attributes in them than usual, then so much the better. It makes them more credible and truer to real life.
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VINE VOICEon 25 August 2017
It's everything the blurb says- stylish, period, pacey etc.

I read it after A Gentleman in Moscow, and enjoyed this book more.
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on 8 June 2017
Wonderful descriptions of 1930s New York with adorable, believable characters and a story so exquisitely written that you just don't want to put it down.
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on 4 April 2017
Loved the writing, the era, the characters and the plot.
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on 27 July 2017
Captivated from the start, New York in the early part of the 20th century. All the characters are well drawn and interesting. Well worth reading.
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on 26 August 2017
Absolutely fascinating. Loved it.
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on 29 June 2017
Excellent novel. Brilliant prose. Beautifully painted characters and settings. The best book I've read so far from the book club to which I belong. That's the beauty of belonging to one - I can't imagine I would have picked it myself. Enjoy!
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