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Semi-Attached Couple and the Semi-Detached House based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
The Semi-Attached Couple is a story about a newly-married couple, Lord and Lady Teviot. Lady Teviot, Helen, is the much-pampered youngest daughter of Lord and Lady Eskdale, who are the center of their English country society. The Eskdales are neighbors to the Douglases, who are clearly the second family in the local hierarchy. Mrs. Douglas enjoys nothing more than finding fault with the Eskdales (and with all her other neighbors), and she is certain that Helen's marriage to Lord Teviot is not a happy one. It turns out that she's right, but everything works out in the end for the Teviots. However, the plot is not really the point here; the characters are. One of the blurbs on the back of my copy says Emily Eden is the author to read when you've run out of Jane Austen, and this is absolutely true. Although this book is set post-Regency, the characters are straight out of Austen's novels: Mrs. Douglas is much like Mrs. Bennet, anxious to see her daughters married and unwilling to admit that someone else might have prettier daughters or better taste. Lord Teviot did not remind me of any particular Austen hero, but he shares their propensity for misunderstanding women. Lady Portmore, a married acquaintance of Lord Teviot, is a sort of Augusta Elton crossed with Caroline Bingley.The characters are not, though, flat copies of Austen characters. Eden is an excellent writer, and this book is witty and enjoyable.The Semi-Detached House is very similar. Lady Chester, a newlywed, moves into a "semi-detached house," which I took to be like a duplex, when her husband is called away on a diplomatic mission. She soon befriends her neighbors, the kindly Hopkinson family. The Sampsons, business acquaintances of the Hopkinson's uncle, are social climbers who at first dismiss the Hopkinsons. They try to improve the acquaintance when they realize that Lady Chester, who is of higher social standing, has taken a liking to the Hopkinsons, but it is too late--the Hopkinsons see right through them. There is much matchmaking, and everyone but the Sampsons finds a happy ending.
The Semi-Attached Couple is a humorous and witty look at a Victorian couple who didn't exactly marry for love. Surrounding their romance, or lack-thereof, is busybody family members, a cultural protocol for decorum, and good, old-fashioned Victorian society standards. Of course, Sarah married too young and Lord Teviot married too quick. Neither understands the other and isn't sure of themselves. There is plenty of gossip, secrets, and satire in The Semi-Attached Couple.