Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Rules of Gentility” as Want to Read:
The Rules of Gentility
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Rules of Gentility

3.52  ·  Rating details ·  529 ratings  ·  123 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
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Rules of Gentility, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Rules of Gentility

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Rating details
Sort: Default
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
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.
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 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.
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
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?
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
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
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!
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 Hebes nipple) and I was charmed. But I got a weakness for anything I consider satire... (bu ...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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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!!
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.
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.
Before I know it, he has danced me through the open doors onto the balcony outside, where I am beyond the sight of my chaperones. There are a few other couples out here, standing close together, who pay us no attention whatsoever.

I am alone with a man of bad reputation. I cannot wait to tell my sister.
I'm not sure how well it works as a romance, but it was not too bad as a satire of regency stories. The word that comes to mind when describing this book is fluff.

An example of humor that can be fo
Jul 31, 2012 rated it liked it
This is a more humourous Pride and Prejudice-type story set in the Jane Austen era—quite a popular era for writers lately (along with paranormal teen, but that is irrelevant...). I know the author was going for humourous, and it was an amusing story, but there were some character inconsistencies and happenings that were just not believable, even with the stretch of the imagination needed to accept the various going-ons (like, say, the proper young ladies going into a brothel and watching their p ...more
Theryn Fleming
Jan 04, 2013 rated it liked it
The Rules of Gentility was what I'd call a gentle parody of Regency (Jane Austen era) romances. Janet Mullany pokes fun at the conventions of the genre, but in a way that shows her genuine fondness for it. A Bridget Jones influence was apparent here as well, especially in protagonist Philomena’s penchant for making lists of potential husbands, making this a kind of a regency/chick-lit mash-up. Janet's writing always showed her sense of humor and that was readily apparent here. The story, with it ...more
Mina Lobo
Jul 13, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: luuurved
I tend to sneer when I hear a thing described as a wild romp, but this book is absolutely that: a giddy, rip-roaring slalom through a Regency era that gleefully stands the genre on its ear, and I just adore it. I dearly love a farce, and this was one, in spades. The author advises that "The Rules of Gentility" is loosely based on "Bridget Jones' Diary," but what it puts me in mind of is the film "Stiff Upper Lips," a spoof of Merchant-Ivory period pieces. If you need some laughs and don't mind s ...more
Moon Love
Aug 03, 2012 rated it liked it
This book is funny and will keep you laughing. While it was interesting to read the romantic comedy of errors it was hard for me to swallow because this book falls in between a complete historical romance, where the truths are glossed over, and a realistic historical novel which has all of the realities of the time and none of the romance and glitter. But Janet Mullany writes really well and having read her other historically set books am looking forward to her latest release with Harlequin whic ...more
Apr 13, 2010 rated it really liked it
I loved this book and so glad a friend gave it to me! I love Jane Austen, but I also love Sophie Kinsella and this was a perfect blend of the styles! This book takes an Austen-era situation but makes it hilariously funny by telling it Bridget Jones style. Instead of obsessing over ciggies and her weight, the heroine Philly can't stop buying bonnets and making lists of eligible men. The book also tells the story from the point of view of Inigo, who is a hero/cad and is also quite hilarious. I had ...more
Sep 17, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
When I bought this book, years ago (I have a problem with buying/downloading books faster than I read them,) I did not realize that it was a comedy, so when I started reading it I was annoyed at first. Once I realized my own error I was able to enjoy it more. It probably isn't something I would've bought had I known it. Not that I don't enjoy comedy, because I definitely do, I just like period pieces to be more serious, I guess. It was still a lot of fun, though.
May 12, 2012 rated it liked it
I got this author's name from a short story she wrote for a Jane Austen complilation. I liked her style of writing and wanted to see how she did with a novel. I did enjoy this and it was a clean book which is always a plus in my view. My only reservation is the format of her thoughts and then his views... it got a bit distracting. I do like knowing the feelings of each one just wondered if there wasn't another way to protray it.
I got a chapter or two in and not only was there covered up language, (ex: d---t for the d word) the main character found herself in a room fixing her hair only to have two couples burst in, the first she hid from and they were about to do the "deed" but heard a noise and stopped. The next one was a couple where the girl was engaged and was trying to get with another guy.

So no thanks.

Moral Note: Above, and heck, and "b" word in reference to breeding.
Sep 20, 2010 rated it really liked it
This book was so funny! I laughed and laughed some more as I was reading it. It's a total spoof on the historical romance genre. I loved the author's list of things the hero and heroine would never say in a romance novel at the end of the book. However, I have to caution that the language and some of the situations are not very 'clean' and may offend some of you (my friends). If you aren't worried about that, then this is a book you will enjoy.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • The Slightest Provocation
  • Indiscretion
  • A Timeless Romance Anthology: Mail Order Bride Collection
  • Willoughby's Return: A Tale of Almost Irresistible Temptation
  • Legally Wedded (Legally in Love, #1)
  • For You Alone (Frederick Wentworth, Captain, #2)
  • Loving Helen (Hearthfire Romance, #2)
  • A Lily Among Thorns
  • Darcy's Temptation: A Sequel to Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice
  • Memory: Volume 2, Trials To Bear: A Tale Of Pride And Prejudice
  • Mail
  • And This Our Life (Chronicles of the Darcy Family #1)
  • Lost for Words
  • My Lord and Spymaster (Spymasters, #2)
  • The Wicked Wyckerly (Rebellious Sons, #1)
  • Under the Mistletoe Collection (A Timeless Romance Anthology Book 14)
  • Outrageously Yours (Her Majesty's Secret Servants #2)
  • Viscount Vagabond / Devil's Delilah (Regency Noblemen, #1 & #2) (Signet Regency Romance)
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.