The Semi-Attached Couple and the Semi-Detached House by Emily Eden: Virago Project Book 1

Collage image used with permission from fleurfisher.wordpress.com Thanks, Jane!

Collage image used with permission from fleurfisher.wordpress.com

Together in one volume, Emily Eden’s The Semi-Attached Couple and The Semi-Detached House can best be described as the non-thinking woman’s Jane Austen. That sounds like a criticism, but it really isn’t. Please take that description at face value. Emily Eden is a contemporary of Austen and that really shines through in the plot of the novels. books are both very predictable, so I’ll give the briefest of plot overviews.
The Semi-Attached Couple concerns a young woman (Helen) who marries a self-absorbed ass (Lord Teviot) at a young age. He loves her and she loves her family and he is insanely jealous. Somehow it all ends very nicely and predictably.
The Semi-Detached House is a marriage plot novel. Young wealthy wife befriends lower-class family. Matchmaking and marriages occur and everyone is happy and paired off at the end.
There is one reason and only one reason to read both of the Eden novels: Emily Eden can write snobby, villainess like no-one’s business. Lady Portmore of the first book and – to a lesser extent – Baroness Sampson of the second novel are ridiculous. Gossipy, flirtatious, conniving, and wicked these women are a delight to read. They aren’t truly villainesses as they have no power over the plot, but it is amusing to read ridiculous quips.
On the whole I give the books three stars. I truly enjoyed the secondary characters and the books have some charm, but they lack the depth and artistry of Jane Austen.

vp1

~~~ Stats ~~~

Started: 02 January 2015

Finished: 15 January 2015

Pages: 543 (total, I combined both books)

Challenges: Virago Project #1, TBR #1, Back to the Classics – Humorous Classic

Owned/Borrow/Library: From my stacks

Stars: Three out of Five

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9 comments

  1. Wow. I’ve seen these titles several times on blogs, but I never realized that they were older classics contemporary with Austen. I guess my own misunderstanding of the term “modern classics” threw me off? I was thinking more like early 1900s, which don’t tend to do as much for me. Good to know, and has made them more interesting to me now. (I’m a little embarrassed to admit my ignorance “out loud,” but just a little. 🙂 )

  2. I have the omnibus Virago copy on the TBR shelf! I didn’t know it was Jane Austen-ish, however. I might use this for my Classic by a Woman Author, or for the Forgotten Classic category. Thanks for linking your review to the Back to the Classics challenge!

  3. I’ve been re-reading Claire Harman’s book on Jane Austen (Jane’s Fame) and she writes that a look of Jane Austen-ish books were being written at this time because Jane’s fame was in total eclipse and other writers felt free to borrow ideas, plots, and characters from a writer everyone had forgotten. This one has been on my shelf for years and years but now I’d find it even more fascinating to read.

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