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The Semi-Attached Couple, and The…

The Semi-Attached Couple, and The Semi-Detached House (1860)

by Emily Eden

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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Showing 1-5 of 8 (next | show all)
Two 19th century novels:
My favourite was definitely the former- published 1859 but written thirty years before, and with a definite Jane Austen flavour to the story of an aristocratic newly-wed couple, struggling to get used to their new life. Watched (and constantly criticized) by their poorer, jealous neighbour Mrs Douglas; and given additional stresses in their married life by the trouble-making comments of the truly ghastly, self-aggrandizing Lady Portmore, there are moments of laugh-out-loud humour.
The Semi-Detached House is more of a typical Victorian story, as Lady Blanche Chester (reluctantly taking such a residence while her husband is away) finds her neighbours much nicer than she had anticipated, and all ends well. ( )
  starbox | Mar 24, 2019 |
Reminded me of Trollope.
Ooh, the character of Lady Portmore - would not want someone like her in my real life, but she is a delight to read about - indefatigable in her catty comments. ( )
  ReadMeAnother | May 18, 2018 |
The Semi-Detached House

Pregnant Blanche and her sister move into a semi-detached villa while Blanche's husband is away on a government mission to Berlin. Initially prejudiced against her neighbours, the Hopkinson family, Blanche gradually comes love and rely on them. In addition we meet Baron Sampson, an apparently rich businessman who has dealings with the Hopkinsons' son-in-law, the perpetually miserable Willis.

This was a warm, amusing book in which common sense and kindness were prized. It is a pity that the Jewish characters were so dastardly - even the more likeable Rachel was unable to love the man she married - but this was presumably an acceptable prejudice at the time of writing. There was quite a lot of coupling off of all the unmarried men and women, which was a little hard to keep track of, but I enjoyed Willis' transformation.

The Semi-Attached Couple

Helen marries Lord Teviot on a brief acquaintance; he loves her jealously, but she is concerned that she does not feel for him as her sisters do for their husbands. This misunderstanding/estrangement was a little tiresome, although I suppose Helen does at least have the excuse of being very young; Teviot seemed rather petulant at times. The real joy of this story for me was the awful Lady Portmore and the sublime put downs served her by Mrs Douglas. This reminded me of Anthony Trollope (one of my favourite authors - and much more than it reminded me of Jane Austen) especially with the description of the election. Again, there was a bit of pairing off of unattached young people - I think Eliza could have done better for herself.

Highly recommended. ( )
  pgchuis | Nov 3, 2017 |
The Semi-Detached House is a rather fluffy Victorian piece about a young Viscountess who moves into a semi-detached house for her confinement, while her husband is away in Prussia on a diplomatic mission. She's a rather flighty figure, but settles down after getting to know her neighbors, the Hopkinsons. On the other hand, the nouveau-riche Baron Sampson and family go off showing their money in a way completely unflattering, while neglecting their orphaned niece. One of those stories where all's well that ends well, unless you're the bad guy. The introduction compared Eden's works to Austen, but this one reminded me more of Elizabeth Gaskell with its focus on speculations and other less noble pursuits.

Highly recommended for those who like Victorian literature. I'm not quite sure what a semi-detached house is (one with a shared garden?), but it sure sounds like fun if you've got good neighbors. ( )
  inge87 | Jun 4, 2013 |
Though not quite to the standard of Austen, Emily Eden, writing thirty years later, captures that same wry humour and scathing social eye in her two novels. I enjoyed The Semi-Attached Couple far more, but both stories are filled with familiar characters and romantic devices.

The honest portrayal of marriage between the Teviots in the first half book descends into a Victorian melodrama, putting me in mind of Baroness Orczy, but the bluff Mrs Douglas and Eltonesque Lady Portmore livened up the scenes of domestic misery. (I love Mrs Douglas' honest appraisal of one woman's 'mistaken bonnet' and her droll comment that 'the Beauforts all laugh as if they thought they had good teeth'!)

The slightly patronising air of the characters in The Semi-Detached House, particularly the 'angelic' Blanche, and the farcical plot that reads like a Trollope novel written by Wodehouse, didn't hold my attention or amuse me at all, unfortunately. I actually struggled to finish, but I have yet to tackle Persuasion by the incomparable Austen, too! ( )
  AdonisGuilfoyle | Oct 28, 2012 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Eden, EmilyAuthorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Myer, Valerie GrosvenorIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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"Well, I have paid that visit to the Eskdales, Mr. Douglas," said Mrs. Douglas in a tone of triumphant sourness. (The Semi-Attached Couple)
The Hon. Emily Eden (1797-1869) was an aristocratic spinster, shrewd, well-read and observant, and above all witty. (Introduction)
This story was partly written nearly thirty years ago, before railroads were established, and travelling carriages-and-four superseded; before postage-stamps had extinguished the privilege of franking, and before the Reform Bill had limited the duration of the polling at borough elections to single day. In re-writing it I might easily have introduced these and other modern innovations; but as I believe the manners of England to be as much changed as her customs, there would have been discrepancies between my scenes and characters:  the background would not have harmonized with the figures.  When I wrote it, I thought it a tolerably faithful representation of modern society; but some young friends who are still living in the world, from which I have long retired, and who have read it with the indulgence of happy youth, condescendingly assure me that it is amusing, inasmuch as it is a curious picture of old-fashioned society.  Therefore, in giving it to the world, I trust that to my own contemporaries it may have the charm of reminding them of their youth, and that to the young it may have the recommendation of being a strange Chronicle of the Olden Time.  E.E.  (The book was first published, it must be remembered, in 1860.)   ~Preface to The Semi-Attached Couple
"The only fault of the house is that it is semi-detached." (The Semi-Detached House)
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Born the daughter of Lord Auckland in 1797, Emily Eden was a witty nineteenth-century aristocrat whose two delightful novels were first presented to an admiring world one hundred and fifty years ago. These matching masterpieces satirize the social world Eden knew, loved, and laughed at. Like Jane Austen she is concerned with love and marriage, money and manners. but her voice is distinct. Eden's charm and humor - both above- and belowstairs -- and her sharp social commentary make her work enduringly captivating.
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