The Rules of Gentility

Written by Janet Mullany
Review by Audrey Braver

The heroine is Philomena Wellesley-Clegg. Not those Wellesleys, as Philly always adds to her introductions. Her entrance into the ton would be easier if she really were related to the Duke of Wellington instead of being the daughter of a nouveau riche industrialist, her 5,000 pound dowry notwithstanding. Despite her “trade” lineage, Philly is pursued by a few eligible, if unsuitable, men. Inigo Linsley, the hero, is an outspoken, ungentlemanly younger son who was asked to resign his commission in disgrace a few weeks before Waterloo. He proposes a sham engagement to get both of their matchmaking mamas off their backs. Philly agrees, as it will allow more time for shopping for bonnets to cover her wiry red hair, which spirals into uncontrollable curly spikes if not confined.

Miss Mullany has created a lovable, ditzy heroine, probably more typical of the Regency-era marriage mart than is usual. Written with first-person narration, this is a Regency romance with a twist that makes it a lot of fun to read.