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The Rules of Gentility

3.54  ·  Rating details ·  568 ratings  ·  131 reviews
Regency heiress Philomena Wellesley-Clegg has rather strong opinions about men and clothing. As to the former, so far two lords, a viscount, and a mad poet have fallen far short of her expectations. But she is about to meet Inigo Linsley, an unshaven, wickedly handsome man with a scandalous secret. He's nothing she ever dreamed she'd want—why then can she not stop thinking ...more
Paperback, 288 pages
Published July 31st 2007 by William Morrow Paperbacks
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Average rating 3.54  · 
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 ·  568 ratings  ·  131 reviews

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Katie Montgomery
Aug 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: hell-to-the-yeah
I'm concerned that many of the top reviews for this title seem to have completely missed the whole point of the novel.

It seems to me that a lot of the readers wrongly discounted this book as no more or less clever than much of the other regency fiction on the market. To my mind this is a regency that pokes fun at the whole genre (lovingly!) and subtly chides both the authors that overuse its tropes and the readers who allow them license to do so.

For instance, some point out that the male love i
Patricia O'Sullivan
Jan 26, 2012 rated it really liked it
This book was a good romp. I wasn't sure I liked it at first - it seemed a bit contrived and shallow. But then something happened in the second chapter. The story became really funny. I found myself laughing out loud. The novel does not take itself too seriously, and even seems to mock the genre at times. However, there is a tender story underneath the fun. I won't give anything away, but Inigo Linsey is one of the most interesting characters I've encountered in a regency novel. He reminded me a ...more
Nov 12, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: dnf
Just noticed I haven't added this on GR. I read this a million years ago and it was one of the very few books I had DNFed.
I'm not really sure if this was supposed to be just a funny Regency romance or a spoof of the genre—too many things didn't quite gel together, like how the main character was at once so naive she didn't know what was inside a gentleman's underwear, and utterly blasé about the fact that her love interest already had a mistress and an illegitimate child. The inconsistency was jarring. Still, enjoyable and readable in a frothy, unbelievable sort of way. The worst that can be said of it is that Mull ...more
Nov 09, 2007 rated it it was amazing
A fun, gentle send up of Regency romances. How can you not love a hero whose estate is named Weaselcopse? A light romp, intelligent and well written.
Chris, the Dalek King
A little ridiculous at times, but since I'm sure that is what it was going for I can't really fault it for that. Enjoyable way to spend a few hours, at the very least.
Jamie Michele
This laugh-out-loud Regency wasn't what I expected it would be. I knew it would be funny. I assumed it would be sexy. But I didn't expect it to broach themes usually avoided in romance, let alone Regency romance.

It pushed boundaries, but did it with such a light hand that I never felt bogged down by the darkness of it all. It's not an easy thing to do, but the author seemed quite comfortable cracking jokes in the back alleys of Regency romance. It's hard to be uncomfortable as a reader when the
This book is definitely what it promises in being a historical take on Bridget Jones's Diary, and not much more, so don't expect a great literary work.
That said, this was a quick read, and a lot of fun. The characters don't have great amounts of depth, and it's fairly predictable, but I found myself laughing out loud a couple of times. The ending was a bit odd and unresolved in some ways, and I was a little disappointed with it - it felt like Mullany got tired of her characters and wrote it off
Mar 23, 2010 rated it did not like it
Silly, and only in the "historical fiction" category because that's what it's supposed to be. The back blurb describes it as " delightful marriage of Pride and Prejudice with Bridget Jones's Diary," but ... well, Philomena seems too brazen *and* naive for her time, and the specifically verbal nature of P&P which makes it such a fun read is absent here.

Making herself put money aside every time she thinks of Inigo's trousers, even though she doesn't understand what's so interesting about them? Com
Jan 14, 2017 rated it did not like it
DNF. I recognize that this book is intended as a spoof (at least I hope this was the intent) of the regency romance genre. I like a good spoof every now and then, but this book just didn't work for me.
Pamela Mingle
Mar 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
A very enjoyable send-up of Regency novels. The characters are likable, and the story is witty and so much fun. A little like Georgette Heyer, Jane Austen, and a modern Regency romance rolled into one.

Very diverting!
Mar 02, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: romance, satire
I can not believe this got published but I am happy it did, it had me giggling quite a few times. The author was shamelessly writing a chick lit novel ( though not really Bridget Jones, I think) and setting it in Regency times - and the result is fun, though thinking is probably not to be indulged. I got the feeling the author was making fun both of chick lit and regency conventions ( come on, sanding out Hebe´s nipple) and I was charmed. But I got a weakness for anything I consider satire... (b ...more
May 14, 2009 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Joy by: Micole
The obvious formula here is Jane Austen meets Bridget Jones, but it feels more like Georgette Heyer meets contemporary chick lit. This was an enormously fun read, though about as substantial as a soap bubble; the characters will entertain you, but you probably won't come to care for them. I giggled through the whole thing, and would recommend this for anyone looking for a fluffy read.
Jul 10, 2008 rated it it was ok
Eh. It was a way to pass a couple of Sunday afternoon hours, but that's pretty much it for me. Witty in parts, but very shallow and I found the characters not terribly likeable. As with many books that throw around the Jane Austen comparisons, it only made me want to re-read hers.
Erica Anderson
May 05, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Clever, charming and very, very funny.
May 16, 2015 rated it really liked it
3.5 Stars. A fun, albeit rather silly, tongue-in-cheek Regency romp. In fact, the fact that it was a silly book was the reason I picked it up. Perfect for a fun read out in the sunshine.
Dramatica Darmody
Jul 31, 2016 rated it it was amazing
what starts as ridiculous hilarity turns into a seriously intriguing story!
I couldn't put it down!
Dec 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: regency
I admit, when I first started this book, I was a little shocked by the main characters' behavior. Philomena Wellesley-Clegg and Inigo Linsley are just a little too over-the-top for anyone prancing around as a Regency purist. But, a few chapters in, when I finally let myself relax and enjoy this romantic romp, I enjoyed it like nobody's business. Mullany writes as one imagines people actually thought, beneath the prim-and-proper shell, and it was a hilarious ride. I didn't want to put it down, no ...more
Jean Chu
Jun 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing

This is my second time reading this book again and I absolutely adore every single page in here! All the witty, silly, and over-the-top expression is such a joy to me. I do hope to read more books like this and to appreciate them in their own sensibility.
Jul 21, 2019 rated it liked it
Very entertaining book of manners, or the lack thereof and all those rules of gentility which they had back in the Georgian Era. Rather Austen-esque, but behind the scenes and not in front of company! Lots of laughter for me!
Danielle Lloyd
This was somewhat entertaining in the beginning, but them just devolved into utter silliness and never-gonna-happen and most characters behaving stupidly. This ended up as unfunny absurdity, when if more carefully done, could have been quite the slapstick romp.
What fun! I quailed at the alternating first-person present tense narration, but by the end that quirk only occasionally pulled me out of the story--because this is a silly, sweet, smart story whose characters end up having quite a bit of heart. Georgette Heyer with some slightly naughty bits.
Alice Moisen
Feb 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
It was a fun read, poking fun at the usual Regency Novels. It alternated between the thoughts of the heroine and those of her supposed beau.
Jan 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
Took me a second to grasp that it was poking fun at Regency novels, it was adorably cute!!
Sep 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Laugh out loud funny.

Laugh out loud funny. I think that + 5 stars should be sufficient to recommend the book but there’s a 20 word minimum for the review, so...
Sep 14, 2020 added it
Shelves: historical, romance
Hahaha! Hilarious. Such a funny historical. I had a hard time rooting for the hero with a baby and a mistress, but this was soooooo funny.
Mar 18, 2014 rated it it was ok
* Sigh. No. And again, no. The Rules of Gentility is supposedly a regency romance spoof. Supposedly lots of people like it and found it entertaining. I didn’t.

The story line is familiar, as it is meant to be: a young woman of slightly inferior birth, but with a very handsome dowry has come to London to catch a husband. She’s silly, vapid, and agonizingly stupid. She has a decent heart to her, I suppose, but that hardly makes up for the rest of the reasons not to like her or at the very least, no
Casey Leigh
Mar 01, 2017 rated it liked it
A cheeky and enjoyable look at dating in the romantic ages (or not so, depending on ones views).
Shopping for Bonnets still solves many a problem then and now.
May 03, 2020 rated it liked it
Upon first reading of this title and Improper Relations it was difficult to adjust to Mullany's POV's. Upon second readings however the muffled hilarity and satire surfaced like cream to the top. Although my first reviews were damping, rereading gave space enough to appreciate what Mullany was attempting, and succeeded. The subtly of the sarcasm and criticism of the classes prove more illuminating than just going after it. In fact I have deleted my first review entirely because the plot went ove ...more
Mar 21, 2013 rated it really liked it
Philomena Wellesley-Clegg is a Regency heiress in London for the season. She’s on the lookout for pretty bonnets and suitable husbands. And in that order. While visiting her newly married best friend, Philomena is introduced to the scruffy, devilishly handsome Mr. Inigo Linsley, man whom she had mistaken for a servant, but is actually the youngest brother of Earl Terrent. Their relationship which begins on bad footing quickly descends to utter impropriety … and thrilling passion.

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Janet Mullany was raised in England by half of an amateur string quartet and now lives near Washington, DC. Persecuted from an early age for reading too long in the bathroom, she still loves books and is an avid and eclectic reader. She has worked as an archaeologist, classical music radio announcer, arts publicist, and for a small press.

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