Rant, Review

Review: Ladies of the House by Lauren Edmondson (2021)

Heat Factor: I can neither confirm nor deny any on-page sex

Character Chemistry: So far, our heroine has spent pretty much all her time with her mother and sister, so there’s not really any chemistry to speak of.

Plot: Everyone decides to SHUN THIS FAMILY

Overall: DNF because the premise strained all credulity


Ladies of the House is a Sense and Sensibility retelling. And up to the point where I gave up, I will say that Edmondson was doing a decent job of centering the story on the sisters and their relationship and the different ways they are handling their change in circumstances. 

But those circumstances! I just couldn’t buy it. 

Here’s the setup: Senator Richardson was an elder statesman, a classic good ol’ boy who everyone liked. He has recently died, leaving behind his sad sad widow and two adult daughters. On the day of his memorial service, the news breaks that he died boinking his mistress…so everyone leaves the service for fear of being tainted by the scandal. What? 

And then it comes out that he had his mistress on payroll in kind of a shady way (read: sTeALiNg oUr TaX dOLLaRs!!?!@#Q$), everyone in DC decides that his widow and daughters must be SHUNNED. 

Come. The Fuck. On.

Who the fuck cares if a Senator is having an affair? Nobody, that’s who. Matt Gaetz still has all his committee assignments, and he was *trafficking underage girls for purposes of prostitution.* 

If the Senator was paying his mistress on the DL, who was more likely to know about it: his wife, or his chief of staff? So who is really complicit in his crimes? Yeah, that’s what I thought. Also, this would be brought up in the Senate Ethics Committee (ie, a slap on the wrist of his corpse), not result in an immediate raid of the home by the FBI. 

Even if his wife was complicit in his shady dealing, would this result in such animosity that:

  • Someone throws a brick through her window?
  • She is uninvited to the wedding of an old family friend? 
  • None of her old friends or the senator’s staffers will return her phone calls? 

No. No it would not. 

Look, the Junior Senator from Texas, who is an unmitigated douche-canoe, used the power of his office to force local law enforcement to provide him with an escort after he ran away to the beach during a local state of emergency. Heidi Cruz was *absolutely* complicit with his fuckery, but I’m pretty sure that her friends didn’t SHUN her. And strangers certainly didn’t vandalize their home. 

But when a complete stranger on the metro tells our heroine that her dad is trash (for having an affair), I just couldn’t take it anymore. Who would recognize a random Senator’s daughter—even if that Senator had been in the news? Who would then take it upon themselves to talk shit to that daughter, because it’s somehow her fault that her dad was shady—while she is in mourning? No one who is so politically plugged in that they recognize the family members of every single senator cares about some minor ass scandal. (Similarly: why would their bartender be giving them the stink-eye? Doesn’t their bartender still work for tips?) 

To return to the example of the esteemed Junior Senator from Texas, even though he actually threw his daughters under the bus to explain his bad behavior (unlike this fictional Senator, who, as far as I can tell, did not implicate his daughters in his shady behavior), I’m pretty sure no one was attacking them. Because the average political junkie does not know their names, or what they look like, beyond “girl who does not want to hug her dad at a campaign event.” 

And it’s not like kids are off-limits to shady reporters! Just look at how the press treated the Obama girls! But honestly, unless you’re the President, no one knows what your family looks like! 

I get it, the author wanted to set up that the Richardson family had fallen on hard times and was desperate because that’s what happens in Sense and Sensibility, but the fall has to be realistic for it to have any emotional impact. 

Sorry I can’t tell you anything about the romance. I cannot comment on how sexy Colonol Brandon is, because he has not yet appeared, but Willoughby is properly charming and morally questionable. Edward is boring, as Edward is. 

I was just too irritated by this author not knowing anything about DC or, for that matter, human nature, to continue. 

I voluntarily read and reviewed a complimentary copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own. We disclose this in accordance with 16 CFR §255.


Buy Now (I mean, I guess, if you really want to): Amazon | Bookshop


Looking for something similar?

Austen Retellings (that we liked)

Books set in DC (that we liked)

Other books we refused to finish

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