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Rules of Civility by Amor Towles
Historical fiction

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

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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: 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 (4,155)

  • Frida D.

    Newton, TX

    The lingering feelings upon finishing this book…Katey did hit it off with Henry, they were both kindred unwavering spirits.The turn of fortune so to speak was reminiscent of ‘Tender is the Night’. ❤️

  • Stephanie W.

    Staunton, 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 ⭐️

  • Sadra L.

    San Marino, CA

    Amor Towles always keeps the reader intrigued as the characters relationships unfold & keeps you guessing. Will Kate & Tinker live happily ever after? Choices in one’s life may lead to different paths

  • Lindsey B.

    Milford, CT

    Love all of Towles’ books! Though perhaps less enthralling than Gentleman in Moscow, I loved the exploration of 1938 NYC and the intriguing paths of the characters. Wish I could be friends with Katey!

  • Victoria M.

    Grand Rapids, MI

    Beautifully written and captivating. Sits with me as a coming of age for 20-somethings with grander teachings on friends, love, status, money, family, and even passion that’ll stretch for generations.

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