Emily Eden was the daughter of the 1st Baron Auckland, a close confidant of Pitt. She was thus well placed to observe the manners and mores of nineteenth century aristocracy. A huge admirer of Jane Austen, her works reflect this in their perception, tongue in cheek humour and benevolence toward the victims of her pen. 'The Semi Attached Couple' is a revealing insight of attitudes and customs within marriage. Miss Eden asks, among other questions, what happens to a man, immediately after marriage, who believes his wife dislikes him? This set in a context in which people 'may all hate, all envy, all rival each other; they may say everything that is ill-natured and do everything that is mischievous but the general effect, as painters would call it, must be harmony'.
©1979 Emily Eden (P)2006 Assembled Stories
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Emily Eden is a neglected 19th century writer. Although not of the standard of Jane Austen, this book is nevertheless worth listening to. It is a gentle story with some humour included. At times I found the reader irritating - but not so much as to spoil my enjoyment of the book. In proof of this, I have just purchased Peter Joyce's version of the 'sister' book - The Semi-Detached House.
"For Jane Austen readers: witty & great characters"
An enjoyable witty read. The book is about a young wealthy couple; who like many of their time marry without knowing much about each other. We follow them and their friends, relations, and servants through their first year of a rocky marriage. Much of the story is viewed through the eyes of their neighbors, Mrs. Douglas and Miss Eliza Douglas. Imagine Jane Austen's books with politics thrown in and you get the idea of the book.
Emily Eden wrote two books in the mid 1800's, this one and a Semi-Detached House. Eden's favorite author was Jane Austen and it shows. A sense of humor and great secondary characters make this book stand out. Eden's plots are more contrived than Austen's but her wit makes her a worthy successor. Eden provides more awareness of the outside world and politics than Austen which I found intriguing. There is a detailed description of a election in a small town which is funny and fascinating and well worth reading the book for.
Mrs Douglas is a wonderful character! In Emily Eden's words: "People may go on talking for ever of the jealousies of pretty women; but for real genuine, hard-working envy there is nothing like an ugly woman with a taste for admiration." In general, Eden does a great job with the unlikable characters.
Peter Joyce was an odd choice for this book. He did the older characters, both male and female, very well. But he did not do young people well and the book is populated with primarily young characters. He is particularly bad at young women and so I would have preferred a woman narrator since we so often look through the eyes of Eliza Douglas, a naive girl. His young men are too gruff or whiny. I am glad I read the book before listening to it and could picture the characters in my mind rather than in his voice.
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