Rules of Civility


The cover drew me in, but the wandering plot spit me out.  I started “Rules of Civility” on New Year’s, which I thought was a lucky coincidence because the first line of the book tells the reader it is the night of New Year’s in 1937.  I was convinced I would love this book, just as I love all things that involve that ers.  The book started off fine, introducing two young girls, Eve and Katy, who are roommates in a boardinghouse in New York searching for Mr. Right .  They meet Tinker Grey on New Years Eve, and after a few more meetings, the threesome are involved in a horrible auto accident.  Eve is invited by Tinker to recover in his lavish apartment, no doubt out of guilt.  

Eve is a one dimensional character who extorts Tinker’s kindness because she is intent on living an extravagant life, regardless of how.  Katy goes on with her life and meets new people and appears at exciting and big parties that were reminiscent of “The Great Gatsby.”  I enjoyed the author’s descriptions of the clubs the characters frequented, and I could see the interior decorations of the era.  But the lack of description afforded to the characters’ clothing, hair, and personality was frustrating.  Katy’s interactions with others seemed to have no purpose, and I found myself wondering what the point of the book was.  The dialogues between the characters never seemed to advance any plot and were too short to be meaningful.  The book also bounced around without any real build up before changing scenes, location, or season.

There was something about the tone of the book that never drew me in.  The writing seemed cold and detached from the characters, and I felt somewhat repelled from the story instead of feeling a part of it.  At page 200, I had to be honest with myself and admit that I didn’t care what happened to Katy, Eve, or Tinker.  I gave up, and wouldn’t recommend it – despite the alluring cover.

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