Rules of Civility by Amor Towles
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I wanted to love this book, but I just couldn't. Mostly that was because Katey Kontent (emphasis on TENT) just didn't click with me as a heroine - she seemed too passive, too remote, too... something. This look at at New York in the 1930s, filled with jazz bars and slightly pre-war sensibilities is so well realized that not having a memorable central character was jarring.
Katey and Evey are roommates in one of those female boardinghouses, spending what little money they have in divey places hoping for someone to buy them a drink. Then they meet Tinker Grey, a member of the upper classes, and everything changes. This is supposed to be "how Katey spends 1938 moving into that milieu" but for much of the time she's not there, she's still slaving away at her job and pinching pennies. Her meeting with Val, her eventual husband, doesn't even resonate.
There was definitely something that kept me reading, but Katey wasn't it.
Copy provided by publisher.