The Semi-Detached House
Lady Chester has been married but six months, and she and her husband are as foolishly in love as all young couples are or ought to be. Her father-in-law, a Cabinet Minister, insists on his son's accepting an offer to join a special mission to Berlin, and the family physician will not hear of Lady Chester's going abroad in her very interesting state of health. He wishes her to leave London, but still to be within his reach, and so Pleasance is taken, a villa which is everything one could wish, but for one fault. Lady Chester is sure she shall hate her semi-detachment, or whatever the occupants of the other half of the house may call themselves…
The Athenaeum, 1859 — The Semi-detached House is to a novel what a farce is to a genteel, five-act comedy of the legitimate branch. It is very amusing, light, bright, and written with a good temper that must disarm the most critical reader.
The Spectator, 1859 — The story runs its course in the most natural way in the world, other characters falling into the movement as it proceeds, and displaying their several humours to the great delight of the reader. It is a piece of real life, sketched by a spectator full of shrewd sense and a genial spirit of fun, tempered by good breeding and true womanly feeling.
The Saturday Review, 1859 — The dialogue is very good, very witty and buoyant—jolly, though yet ladylike. The events are the ordinary ones of social life. Two families live in the two halves of one house, and are naturally thrown together; and as one is of rank, and the other by no means of rank, the scenes can be made amusing. The lady of no rank fancies, moreover, that the lady of rank is not all which she should be, and this is made amusing too. The authoress has one peculiarity which is invaluable to a painter of common social life—she has a genius for middle-aged women.
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.’ As a novelist she brought out two works, which had a considerable sale, The Semi-detached House, 1859, and The Semi-attached Couple, 1860.