Excerpt from Iona Iverson's Rules for Commuting by Clare Pooley, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reading Guide |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

Iona Iverson's Rules for Commuting

A Novel

by Clare Pooley

Iona Iverson's Rules for Commuting by Clare Pooley X
Iona Iverson's Rules for Commuting by Clare Pooley
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Jun 2022, 352 pages

    Aug 8, 2023, 352 pages


  • Rate this book

Book Reviewed by:
Noshin Haque
Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt

08:05 Hampton Court to Waterloo

Until the point when a man started dying right in front of her on the 08:05, Iona's day had been just like any other.

She always left the house at half past seven. It took her an average of twenty minutes to walk to the station in heels, which meant she'd usually arrive fifteen minutes before her train left for Waterloo. Two minutes later if she was wearing the Louboutins.

Arriving in good time was crucial if she wanted to secure her usual seat in her usual carriage, which she did. While novelty was a wonderful thing when it came to fashion, or film, or even patisserie, it was not welcome on her daily commute.

Some time ago, Iona's editor had suggested that she start working from home. It was, he'd told her, all the rage, and her job could be done just as well remotely. He'd tried to cajole her out of her office space with sweet talk of an extra hour in bed and more flexibility, and, when that didn't work, had attempted to drive her out by making her do something awful called hot desking, which-she learned-was corporate speak for sharing. Even as a child, Iona had never liked sharing. That little incident with the Barbie doll was still seared in her memory and, no doubt, her classmates' as well. No, boundaries were necessary. Luckily, Iona's colleagues quickly became familiar with which was her preferred desk, and it morphed from hot to decidedly frigid.

Iona loved going into the office. She enjoyed rubbing shoulders with all the youth, who taught her the latest lingo, played her their favorite new tracks, and told her what to watch on Netflix. It was important to keep at least one finger plugged into the zeitgeist, especially in her profession. Bea, bless her, wasn't much help on that front.

She wasn't, however, looking forward to today very much. Her latest editor had scheduled a three-hundred-and-sixty-degree appraisal, which sounded altogether too intimate. At her age (fifty-seven), one didn't like to be appraised too closely, and certainly not from every angle. Some things were best left to the imagination. Or not thought about at all, to be honest.

Anyhow, what did he know? Much like policemen and doctors, her editors seemed to get younger and younger with each passing year. This one, believe it or not, was conceived after the World Wide Web. He'd never known a world where phones were tethered to the wall and you had to look up facts in the Encycloaedia Britannica.

Iona thought back, somewhat wistfully, to her annual appraisals when she'd first started at the magazine, nearly thirty years ago. They didn't call them "appraisals" then, of course. They were called "lunch," and they happened at the Savoy Grill. The only downside was having to politely remove her editor's fat, sweaty hand from her thigh on a regular basis, but she was quite adept at that, and it was almost worth it for the sole meunire, deftly detached from the bone by a subservient waiter with a French accent, and washed down with a chilled bottle of Chablis. She tried to remember the last time someone-other than Bea-had attempted to grope her under a table, and couldn't. Not since the early nineties, in any case.

Iona checked her reflection in the hall mirror. She'd gone for her favorite red suit today-the one that shouted I mean business and Don't even think about it, mister.

"Lulu!" she called, only to discover the French bulldog already sitting right by her feet, ready to go. Another creature of habit. She leaned down to attach the lead to Lulu's hot-pink collar, studded with diamantŽ spelling out her name. Bea didn't approve of Lulu's accessories. Darling, she's a dog, not a child, she'd said on numerous occasions. Iona was quite aware of that. Children these days were rather selfish, lazy, and entitled, she thought. Not like darling Lulu at all.

Excerpted from Iona Iverson's Rules for Commuting by Clare Pooley. Copyright © 2022 by Clare Pooley. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $45 for 12 months or $15 for 3 months.
  • More about membership!

Become a Member

Join BookBrowse today to start discovering exceptional books!

Find out more

Top Picks

  • Book Jacket: After the Miracle
    After the Miracle
    by Max Wallace
    Many people have heard one particular story about Helen Keller—how the saintly teacher, Annie ...
  • Book Jacket: The Lost Wife
    The Lost Wife
    by Susanna Moore
    The Lost Wife is a hard-hitting novella based in part on a white settler named Sarah Wakefield's ...
  • Book Jacket
    Firekeeper's Daughter
    by Angeline Boulley
    Voted 2021 Best Young Adult Award Winner by BookBrowse Subscribers

    Angeline Boulley's young adult ...
  • Book Jacket: Hello Beautiful
    Hello Beautiful
    by Ann Napolitano
    Ann Napolitano's much-anticipated Hello Beautiful pulls the reader into a warm, loving familial ...

Book Club Discussion

Book Jacket
The First Conspiracy
by Brad Meltzer & Josh Mensch
A remarkable and previously untold piece of American history—the secret plot to kill George Washington

Members Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    Pieces of Blue
    by Holly Goldberg Sloan

    A hilarious and heartfelt novel for fans of Maria Semple and Emma Straub.

Win This Book
Win Girlfriend on Mars

30 Copies to Give Away!

A funny and poignant debut novel that skewers billionaire-funded space travel in a love story of interplanetary proportions.



Solve this clue:

S I F A R Day

and be entered to win..

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.