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The Rules of Civility by Amor Towles
Historical fiction

The Rules of Civility

3peat author

Amor Towles is officially a 3-time author at BOTM, which is a pretty big deal!


We love supporting debut authors. Congrats, Amor Towles, on your first book!

by Amor Towles

Quick take

As refreshing and sophisticated as a well-made martini. This book revives the New York high society of yesteryear.

Good to know

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_Movieish


  • Illustrated icon, Icon_LoveTriangle

    Love triangle

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_Acclaim

    Critically acclaimed

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_Nyc



On the last night of 1937, twenty-five-year-old Katey Kontent is in a second-rate Greenwich Village jazz bar when Tinker Grey, a handsome banker, happens to sit down at the neighboring table. This chance encounter and its startling consequences propel Katey on a year-long journey into the upper echelons of New York society'”where she will have little to rely upon other than a bracing wit and her own brand of cool nerve.

With its sparkling depiction of New York’s social strata, its intricate imagery and themes, and its immensely appealing characters, Rules of Civility won the hearts of readers and critics alike.

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Why I love it

As fans of The Gentleman of Moscow know, Amor Towles has a gift for capturing a certain time and place in history and putting his readers immediately there. His debut novel is Towles at his most playful: The Rules of Civility is set in the jazz clubs and swanky bars of late 1930s New York City, when a plucky young woman who’s barely scraping by gets swept up into the world of Manhattan’s elite. The book is a gem, with dialogue so cinematic you could imagine Katharine Hepburn firing off Towles’s lines.

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Member ratings (3,836)

  • Stephanie W.

    Pontoon Beach, IL

    IMO, a great story should do 3 things: educate, invoke an emotional response (or many), and leave the reader with a sense of longing upon conclusion. I will be rereading this for years to come. 5/5 ⭐️

  • Erin J.


    I'm sad it took me this long to read Amor Towles. Rules of Civility is a glittering gem—a slow burn with engrossing characters you'll become emotionally attached to. One of my all-time favorite books.

  • Jessica W.

    Chicago, IL

    Clever period piece that discusses the choices we make based on obligations, friendship, love, and who we think we are. I loved A Gentleman in Moscow so much—this book was disappointing in comparison

  • Amanda S.

    Erlanger, KY

    I loved Katey! And I want to know what happened to Tinker! Admittedly, I have a bias towards settings in the 20s and 30s, but this book was wonderful, as was Towles' other book, A Gentleman In Moscow.

  • Jessica H.

    Steilacoom, WA

    It is decided that Amor Towles is a favorite writer of mine. I absolutely loved A Gentleman in Moscow, so I am very excited that this felt just as authentic. Any fan of historical fiction should read.