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The Rules of Gentility by Janet Mullany

The Rules of Gentility

by Janet Mullany

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A friend dared me to read this after her, knowing how much I hate Georgette Heyer and other Regency novels of that ilk, so I did. And I actually quite enjoyed the experience - well done, Janet Mullany! While following the traditional formula of fluffy romances - young miss, unsuitable suitor, eccentric family - the narrative is naughtier and the characters livelier and more entertaining than in Heyer's books. Not to be taken seriously, The Rules of Gentility is dirty parody with an indulgent sense of humour, gently poking fun at the sub-genre that will not die. ( )
1 vote AdonisGuilfoyle | Jul 9, 2013 |
This was fun with a capital "F". The author categorizes this book as a "Raucous Regency" and that is a good term to describe this one. This book pokes fun at every aspect of social propriety of that deliciously madcap Regency era. Inigo is a dastardly rake from a good family of the ton. He does have some morals - go figure! - and Philomena is a first rate naive ninny of a wealthy family whose fortune is derived from Trade (they own coal mines) - not to be confused with those Wellesleys (you know, Battle of Waterloo and all that). What starts out as an engagement of convenience becomes... well, you will just have to read the book to find out for yourself.

This is a fun, romping laugh at the Regency period as much as it is a tribute to it. The characters are hilarious, as are the situations that arise. The story is based on the rather standard insipid romance formula but it is considerably brightened by the banter and thoughts that seem more perfect for our time period than the Regency period of the story, even if Philomena's hormones seem to be a bit on overdrive mode most of the time. With the family she has - her mother, the queen of 'run on' sentences, those ubiquitous and unnerving twins Charlotte and Lydia and that baffling long time family maid Hen - some form of release is to be expected! I really liked how Mullany chose to tell the story through the alternating viewpoint of both of our romantic leads... all the better to present the folly that miscommunication and innocent flirting can bring about in the other party!

It is obvious that the author had fun writing this one and it should be treated as the darling bit of escapism fluff reading it is meant to be. ( )
2 vote lkernagh | Jun 19, 2013 |
An entertaining read. The characters were fun (I'm convinced that Philomena is an ancestor of Lovelace's Betsy Ray, given her penchant for lists), and the plot incidents were amusingly over-the-top. A plot turn towards the end of the book didn't mesh well with the tone for me, but overall it was a good romp.

(I kept thinking of Herendeen's Phyllida and the Brotherhood of Philander while reading this; no, the setup is not remotely similar, but the humor is akin.) ( )
  castiron | May 10, 2013 |
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 Mullany is too given to 'a bit with a dog' scenes—you know, things which are obviously shoehorned in because they are Hilarious Comedic Set Pieces. ( )
  siriaeve | Jun 21, 2011 |
Lady Wombat says:

A fun froth of a book, one that made me laugh out loud repeatedly (and I'm not one who overly free with the chuckles...). The plot twists after Philomena's second engagement weren't very interesting, but the characters and narrative voice made it worth the while. Will definitely search out other books by this author.
  Wombat | Mar 26, 2011 |
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To Alison Hill - Chickiebaby, this one's for you. With love, yo mama.
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It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single woman of fortune and passable good looks amuses herself in London with fashion, philanthropic works, and flirtation, until a suitable gentleman makes an offer.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0061229830, Paperback)

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 about how he looks in his breeches?

A delightful marriage of Pride and Prejudice with Bridget Jones's Diary, Janet Mullany's The Rules of Gentility transports us to the days before designer shoes, apple martinis, and speed dating—when great bonnets, punch at Almack's, and the marriage mart were in fashion—and captivates us with a winsome heroine who learns that some rules in society are made to be broken.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:29:40 -0400)

Miss Philomena Wellesley-Clegg distracts herself from her dwindling list of suitors (those still in the running include a wimpy poet and a dandy with a wandering eye) by shopping for bonnets and gossiping with her married best friend. But when her path crosses with Inigo Linsley, her best friend's rascally brother-in-law, Philly warms to him, even if his kisses make her feel very peculiar indeed. When Inigo proposes a sham engagement to ward off her doofy suitors, she agrees but only until the end of the social season. In turn, Inigo trusts Philly with the secret of his out-of-wedlock son and the friendship of his former lover, an actress. But some ungentlemanly conduct in a carriage sends Philly on the hunt for a more proper man.… (more)

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