Largely thought to be at least partly autobiographical, it follows on from Lavengro (1851). The title can be translated from Romany as 'Gipsy Gentleman'. On October 18, 1853, Mrs. George Borrow wrote to John Murray (his publisher), and spoke of her husband's completing his work - "which he proposes to call The Romany Rye - A Sequel to Lavengro."
The story itself follows the journey of a learned young man thrown in with Gypsies. It is a philosophical adventure story of sorts., Google Books.. There also used to be a pub near George Borrow Road called The Romany Rye, then The Romany Beer House and before it closed, The Romany. Wetherspoons are reintroducing the name Romany Rye to their soon to be opened (2011) pub in Dereham, Norfolk where George Borrow was born.