The Semi-Attached Couple deals with the family life of the proud and aristocratic Eskdale family, and of their humbler neighbours, the Douglas family. The plot turns on the marital misunderstandings that arise in the first few months of the married life of Helen Beaufort, the youngest of the three daughters of Lord and Lady Eskdale. Helen marries Lord Teviot, entirely as a matter of pre-ordained destiny. Spoilt from the cradle, Teviot is violently and passionately in love. The very strength of his passion frightens and puzzles the child wife, whose only experience of love hitherto has been the devotion of an adoring family, and her continued interest in the home from which her early marriage has torn her is more than sufficient to send him into paroxysms of jealousy and to build up a barrier of misunderstandings…
The Saturday Review, September 1860 — It is, perhaps, the only tale that has been written in Jane Austen's style of which Jane Austen need not have been ashamed. It is, indeed, free from the affectation of mimicry; and it is only because the writer really has in a minor degree the mental gifts of Jane Austen, and views life in a very similar light, that she constantly reminds us of the authoress of Emma. She can conceive characters like those of Jane Austen, at once probable, interesting, and absurd.
The Athenaeum, September 1860 — It has really done our heart good to read this light, slight, pleasant novel. It is clever, very clever,—though we have read dozens of novels with more talent in them; but we have read very few which are so pleasant as this ‘Semi-Attached Couple’.
The New York Times, 1982 — Emily Eden wrote in frank admiration of Jane Austen, so similarities between her work and Austen's should not be surprising. Eden picks up just after an Austen novel would end, with the splendid match - in this case between the lovely Helen Beaufort and that most eligible bachelor, Lord Teviot. It is a story of misunderstandings and cross-purposes intensified rather than dispelled by marriage, a tale of pride and reticence.
Emily Eden (1797–1869), novelist and traveller, seventh daughter of William Eden, first baron Auckland, was born in Old Palace Yard, Westminster, on 3 March 1797. In company with her sister, Frances Eden, she accompanied her brother to India, and remained with him in that country during his term of office as governor-general from 1835 to 1842. After her return to England she published in 1844 Portraits of the People and Princes of India, and in 1866 Up the Country. Letters written to her Sister from the Upper Provinces of India by the Hon. Emily Eden. As a novelist she brought out two works, which had a considerable sale, The Semi-detached House, 1859, and The Semi-attached Couple, 1860.