Cover Image: Ladies of the House

Ladies of the House

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4.5 / 5

When I saw that this was a modern retelling of Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility set in a political family of Washington D.C caught in a scandal, I thought how is this possibly going to capture the charm and romance of the original? But it did!

Senator Gregory Richardson dies suddenly, leaving his wife Cricket and two adult daughters, Daisy and Wallis, to pick up the mess. It’s no shock he died in bed with his twenty-seven-year-old mistress. What comes as a hard blow is the rumors that the Senator was misappropriating funds, shall we say. The Richarson’s reputation is now mud in the D.C. inner circles and they find themselves with little money to spare. 


When Wallis falls for the son of a ruthless politician, she learns the hard way that in this town certain people are truly career politicians, no matter whose heart they crush along the way.

Daisy, who once worked for her father, is tired of hiding and not being true to herself. She agrees to give a full tell-all exposéé on her father to her best friend, Atlas, who is a journalist. The same best friend she just happens to be in love with. She’s risking what little she has left, but as she tells him, “..nothing good in this world was made so by a woman keeping her mouth shut…”

Edmondson takes the political climate and uses it to show how fickle, back-stabbing, and self-serving friends and co-workers can be. I appreciate that she didn’t make it a political agenda - there were no party lines here, you just knew this was the political arena. That allowed the story to take an astute look at sisterhood, strength, and love.

The tension of romance is throughout, but it may not be steamy enough for some of you. 😉 

Thank you to @harpercollins @graydonhousebooks and @netgalley for this #gifted ARC
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I'll admit to not being super familiar with the Sense & Sensibility storyline (having only seen the movie once and never yet reading the book), but it's my understanding from other reviewers that this only follows it loosely anyway. I liked the female relationships (mother-daughter, sister-sister) that were the primary focus and some of the social commentary on women in modern society. The politics tie-in was less than I was expecting, though in this current political climate, I'm not sure I missed it. I thought the plot moved slowly and the book was probably longer than it needed to be. That could've been partially because I had trouble connecting with any of the characters, and as a really nit-picky thing, I thought the names were rather ridiculous. I do think this would give a book club a lot to discuss. It wasn't a bad book, just not what I had hoped for in an Austen retelling.
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Ladies of The House by Lauren Edmondson is a modern retelling of Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility. Now, I don’t have Sense and Sensibility memorized the way I do Pride and Prejudice, but that’s fine because Ladies Of The House is more about revisiting the themes than a beat-for-beat modernization. The heart of the story is still two very different sisters, a sensible older one and flighty younger one,  trying to figure out what comes next after their father’s deaths.  There’s still a lot of gossip, but in the modern reinvention, it’s about political maneuvers and scandals. And the setting works well, with plenty of mandatory social obligations, competitive socializing, and social ostracism as a weapon for a political family in DC.

This novel also stands alone, if it’s a been a long time since you read Sense and Sensibility. or even if you haven’t read it, you can simply read Ladies of the House as a story about a family facing scandal in Washington DC. But, knowing the novel was inspired by Austen, I just loved realizing that Bo was a modernized Brandon. So sweet and solid, and yet so easily overlooked!

Wallis, the Marianne sister, isn’t a teenager in this one, just emotionally quite young.  Blake Darley, a political heir with the family wealth to exterminate any hint of embarrassment or consequences, is just as privileged and entitled as Willoughby, but you can still see how Wallis could be charmed.

I found the Atlas and Daisy relationship a bit flat, that is, I believed that she was in love with him, for ages, but the weird gaps in communication felt forced.  Childish avoidance games from midthirties Daisy? And she’s meant to be the sense part of Sense and Sensibility!?!?!

But overall, it was a nice look at the modern-day Dashwood sisters. Fans of this one might also enjoy Curtis Sittenfeld’s Eligible, a modern P&P with a reality show,  or other Janeite reinventions.
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This was a very enjoyable read.  A "cover" of Sense and Sensibility, a jane Austen bestseller, Lauren Edmondson set the story in current times using current mores and consequences.  It was a very good stand alone story of strong women who pulled together their resources to overcome what should have been a devastating blow to their family.  Refusing to give into the fate their father's actions doomed them to, they became the person(s) they were meant to be all along.  I loved the book and so will all of the members of my reading circle.  You should try it yourself!
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3.5 Stars

Thank you, #NetGalley #Harlequin for the complimentary e ARC of #LadiesOfTheHouse upon my request. All opinions are my own.

A modern Sense and Sensibility……

In a loose, contemporary retelling of Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility, thirty-four-year-old Daisy finds herself embarrassed by a family scandal. Her Senator father died suddenly in the company of his young mistress and he has also left the family in financial ruin. Daisy, her mother, Cricket, and her sister, Wallis, work frantically to save the family reputation and put their upscale house up for sale while at the same time negotiate the land mines of their personality differences and conflicts and the unrelenting media attention.

One of the most compelling and interesting themes in Ladies of the House revolves around “complicated sister relationships”….their strengths and weakness, their different personalities, their loyalties, and their romances. True to the classic, Daisy and Wallis are very different: Daisy is more responsible, sensible, conservative, and private, and Wallis is more impetuous, emotional, sentimental, and romantic ….. However, they are loyal to each other and work hard to pick up the pieces of their lives and to salvage what they can from the media scrutiny and financial ruin.

In addition to the strong sister theme, other themes include flawed men and the effects on the family, social media attention, mother/daughter relationships, surviving scandal, romance tropes, scandal, grief, loss, humiliation, and corruption.

From the reviews I’ve read it seems that many Jane Austen fans appreciate this contemporary retelling. Honestly, I can’t remember reading Sense and Sensibility, so I can’t compare. I’m recommending The Ladies of the House for fans of Sense and Sensibility, for readers who might be looking for a story about sister relationships, and for those who are searching for engaging chick lit (or light women’s fiction). I think this might be an interesting book club selection, too.

For more reviews visit my blog www.readingladies.com (where this review was first published).
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Loved this book- and Daisy.  This story of a modern family rocked by political scandal draws you in and makes you feel like you are living it right there with three truly courageous women.  Their lives, love and rise from the ashes will keep you reading - wanting only the best for them.
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Three women tied to one scandal.

Senator Gregory Richardson has died of a heart attack. His family is saddened by his passing, but when the lies, scandals and embezzling all comes to light, they are completely devastated. Cricket his wife along with Daisy and Wallis his daughters are now left with nothing but debt and public persecution in a politically run city.

These three women band together among the rubble and slowly start to piece back their lives. Each woman is one her own journey, yet as a family they find their bond is stronger than they ever thought.

This was such a brilliantly written novel by Lauren Edmondson. I loved the modern twist on the classic novel Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen. The characters had such depth and dimension, and the reader is drawn right into the story with the first sentence. I absolutely loved this novel and highly recommend you add it to your list of books to read.  I would like to thank the author  Lauren Edmondson, Harper Collins Publishing and NetGalley for an advanced copy of the book to review. It was amazing! All opinions expressed for this review are unbiased and entirely my own.
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LADIES OF THE HOUSE is a mind blowing read that will pull you in from the very first page and never let you go. Lauren Edmondson grabs the reader by the throat and reminds us all that you never really knows what goes on behind closed doors. Once I started reading, it was very hard to stop. I was flipping the pages like a woman on a mission. I had to know what was going to happen to these women! I can’t believe this is Ms. Edmondson’s debut novel!

LADIES OF THE HOUSE starts with a heck of a hook! In the middle of Senator Richardson’s memorial service, every cell phone in the church all chime and buzz at the same time. A Times news alert with a breaking scandal about the late Senator’s sexual wrong doings and financial crimes. Details of the much loved Senator’s secret life are splashed across front pages around the country, humiliating the three women he left behind, his wife, Cricket, and his two daughters, Wallis and Daisy. The story follows Daisy and her sister and mother as they attempt to rebuild their social, professional, and romantic lives.

If you are in a reading slump, LADIES OF THE HOUSE will pull you right out! It is not a cute, love filled kind of book! It’s crazy and messed up and that is exactly why I loved it! My emotions were all over the place and I had a very hard time liking any of the characters. They are very selfish and behave like idiots most of the time. Daisy is trying to deal with her crush on her best friend Atlas. She has loved him for 15 years and he’s never shown anything more than a friendly interest. Fifteen years is a long long time to crush on someone don’t you think? LADIES OF THE HOUSE is insanely good! More like a train wreck where you know that looking at it isn’t going to be good but you can’t tear your eyes away!

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Graydon House through Netgalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
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A Modern Sense and Sensibility

When things go wrong, they go wrong on all fronts. Daisy, her sister Wallis, and her mother, Cricket, are reeling from the death of Senator Richardson, their father and husband. As if death wasn’t bad enough, the Senator was having an affair, misusing public money, and they’re broke. Selling the house is a jolt, but the worst part is the adverse publicity that follows the family and makes their lives miserable. 

The perfect setting for this story is Washington, DC where scandal is a way of life and political shaming takes a toll of many careers. Like the Dashwood sisters in Sense and Sensibility the Richardson women find their lives being shaped by their men. Also, like the Dashwood sisters, they find that they can take charge of their futures and win. 

I thought the story was well done. The characters are complex and well drawn. Daisy is talented and strong basically holding the family together in a crisis, although she too suffers. The setting was well done and a perfect background for the family’s struggles. 

I’m not sure I enjoy the retelling of famous stories. So much of the charm of Jane Austen’s works are the melding of her characters with the social moires of the time. The author tries to achieve this in the present book, but for me it didn’t work that well. I think I could have enjoyed the story more without the undertone of Austen’s much better work. 

I received this book from Harlequin for this review.
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An interesting and well written retelling of Sense and Sensibility set in contemporary Washington DC.
I have to admit that I don't remember a lot about the original plot but I can surely say that I enjoyed this one.
A tightly knitted plot, interesting and fleshed out characters and good storytelling.
It's recommended.
Many thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for this ARC, all opinions are mine
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Lauren Edmundson’s debut retelling of Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility is rather well done. Readers of Austen’s tale might not readily picture how the story could possibly translate to modern Washington D.C. with scandals coming to light after a well-known senator’s death. Edmundson makes the transition seamless and manages to retain Austen’s caustic wit and ironic sarcasm. 

Austen scholars have long supported the idea that Austen’s themes are timeless, hence the ability to continually revive her themes through retellings and reimaginings à la Edith Wharton and Candace Bushnell. Edmundson takes the themes and develops them to better support a modern retelling, showing readers that even today, balancing power and reputation with success and happiness is not necessarily a simple feat for women in a still largely male dominated society.
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Some might quote that old chestnut about ‘when life tosses you lemons…’ to those who are going through life’s trials, but in the cutthroat world of DC politics in this exciting new release, one learns the only thing to do with lemons is cut them up and put them in a cocktail while saluting backstabbing one-time friends. Lauren Edmondson chose to retell a classic and portray three women going through the refining fires of grief, loss, and political scandal. While The Ladies of the House stays true to the heart of Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility it also accurately portrayed life in America’s capital and politics that will resonate with many.

Daisy Richardson is at the top of her game as chief of staff for a progressive, up and coming senator from Maryland and the admiring daughter of a senior senator at the top. All that comes crashing down when her dad dies in the bed of his secretary! In addition, it has been leaked in the news that he was misappropriating funds. Her mother, Cricket, needs her to sort out life after scandal and death. Her best friend, Atlas, a star journalist who has been her secret love for years is back in the states and wants to do an expose’ into her father’s life and seems to only want friendship. And her sister, Wallis, who has been doing relief effort works in Southeast Asia, has come home only to fall for the son of a senator from across the political aisle, making Daisy’s already tenuous job even harder. The family must learn to live on less and live under the disapproving eyes of those who were once friends down to total strangers on the street. Daisy is a fixer and discovers that there are not enough Band-Aids in the world to fix the mess her father left behind him. However, she also discovers that in this adversity that she didn’t know herself and those around her like she thought she did, and here-in lies the beginning of something more if she has the courage to accept a new path.

Ladies of the House introduces a world that I have watched from a distance on TV or in fiction—the world of Washington DC. That said, I felt that the author captured it so well that natives of the town and the political world would nod in appreciation for the setting of the story. Daisy has grown up in this world and chooses it for her own career. Her sister is an activist, and her mother is a political wife. All three women are integral to the story even though Daisy does the sole narration of the story.

In the early pages, I was not as taken with Cricket or Wallis. They seemed content to let Daisy shoulder the load, and this is true to a certain extent. However, later, they grew on me when insightful scenes and dialogue between the Richardson women showed other sides to them. It becomes obvious that what is Daisy’s strength is also her weakness. She lives for work and responsibility and must lose all this before she sees her own worth as not just in how she can serve others—or, sadly, make up for her dad’s failings by serving penance to others—and the worth of her mother and sister. Cricket teaches Daisy that a woman can bend and not break while Wallis shows her that her daring to take chances in love and be herself completely takes more courage than playing it safe and hiding her true self. Wallis tells Daisy, “Be the Brick!” in reply to Daisy’s fear of what others think and that another brick might get thrown through their window.

As to how Ladies of the House was as a retelling, I thought it captured the spirit of Austen’s story with the endearing familiar main characters and hitting the landmark moments of Sense and Sensibility—like that heartbreaking moment when Wallis discovers the man she gave her heart to is unworthy. At the same time, this is a powerfully, profound women’s fiction with romantic overtones. Romance has its moment to shine but isn’t the focus.

In the end, Ladies of the House took the reader through a family of women’s lows and ongoing challenges to ending on a triumphant note honoring integrity, courage, and survival. Whether one is looking for a modern retelling of a classic or a women’s fiction set in the world of politics, one can’t go wrong giving this one a try.
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Available tomorrow: Ladies of the House

**** 3.5 stars: Loved it: Sometimes fun, sometimes serious modern retelling of Sense and Sensibility. 

Recommended readers:

If you like Christina Lauren
If you like modern, witty writing
If like a good romantic drama

When Daisy Richardson's father dies - it's a big deal, not only because he was a seasoned politician in Washington DC, but because he leaves behind a financial, emotional mess for his wife and two daughters to live through. And especially, Daisy, who is trying to build her career in politics as the brilliant chief of staff for a popular junior senator.

It's surprising to see how well Sense and Sensibility translates to the modern world - trying to be happy in a judgmental, sometimes shallow world. Daisy is so likeable and works so painfully hard make life better for her sometimes-lost mother and loosie-goosey sister. Ladies of the House is good sometimes-light-headed, sometimes-serious read. And bonus: the cover is sophisticated enough to not be embarrassing for your spring break, beach reading.
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Ladies of the House is a modern retelling of Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility, following a family as they fall from grace after the death of their patriarch. Mother and daughters have to grapple with their new lives, and learn to survive independently, despite a deck stacked against them.

The Richardson women are blindsided by the sudden death of Gregory, senator, father, husband, and adulterer. Cricket, his widow, and their daughters, Daisy and Wallis, are thrust even further into the public eye after his death, when Gregory’s misconduct becomes public, and all of their lives are upended. Financial stress forces them to sell the family home, and the public scrutiny endangers Daisy’s job. Both daughters must deal with being disappointed in love, and try to find their way forward.

Daisy has been in love with the same man for fifteen years, her close friend and confidant Atlas, whom she met as a college student while on the campaign trail with her father. They have remained platonic friends all this time, occasionally separated by an ocean, and Daisy knows he only loves her as a sister. Her resilience is tested when Atlas, an independent journalist, is asked to write a piece about her father. Daisy is the chief of staff for a prominent young senator, and while Atlas can try to protect her, the rest of the press has no such scruples, jeopardizing not only Daisy’s good name, but her livelihood.

Wallis is so young- twenty-five, freshly home from teaching abroad and starting her first job. She also falls in love for the first time, with someone entirely unsuitable and far too charming. Blake, her beau, is on the other side of the political aisle, but Wallis knows he isn’t like the rest of his family. To further complicate matters, Blake’s mother, a senator, openly disdains the Richardsons and disapproves of his relationship with Wallis. Despite the roadblocks in their way, the Richardson women must find peace with the past in order to move forward, together.

The characters in this book really are remarkable, and the author shows a deep understanding both of the original text and of how the story translates to the present. Even characters who barely appear really have a chance to shine, which says a lot about the storytelling. Cricket, in particular, is a real stand-out. In the original novel, the mother really doesn’t get a meaty part, but in this story Cricket and her daughters have a fascinating dynamic, one that makes her nearly as interesting as they are. The book shows us how, while the Richardson women aren’t complicit in Gregory’s crimes, they protected him at the expense of their relationships with each other. Each of them had a unique view into him, and having to reckon with the incompleteness of that picture is daunting. The echo of that trauma really permeates the narrative.

The book also does a good job of conveying the pressure of life in the public eye, and the pressure on people associated with public figures. Even in a comparably free world for women, their futures and their reputations still lean heavily on the actions of the men in their lives, because of public perception. I also really enjoyed the portrayal of powerful people in the book, some were corrupt, others were kind but cynical, as one must be sometimes.

Overall, this is a lovely read, and only a few things jumped out at me as obvious missteps. Firstly, Cricket and Daisy are always going off to meetings with lawyers which never seem to resolve anything. By the end of the story, the women have come to terms with their loss, and also with the loss of their illusions, but the legal matters of Gregory’s death remain. Secondly, there is a certain instability to Daisy’s job situation that messes up the pacing of the book. While needing to earn a living is a compelling problem, especially when one comes from wealth and privilege, due to the scandal and other developments, Daisy is constantly in danger of losing her job, which makes it difficult to maintain tension and is just exhausting. Lastly, though Cricket is a great character, she really doesn’t have a lot to do. I was disappointed that, despite her expanded role in the story, she had very little in the way of her own narrative.

Ladies of the House is a lovely book, and a worthy retooling of the classic Austen story.

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really enjoyed this book! I've never actually read Sense and Sensibility, so when I picked this up, I had no idea what I was getting into. Thankfully, I ended up loving what I got into!

One of my favorite things about this was how everyday it was. That might not make a lot of sense, but there wasn't necessarily a plot to this. (I'm explaining this so terribly) Instead of feeling like this book was working towards a destination like a marriage, or a success, it was about a group of women learning to trust in themselves. It was so simple, and I loved it. I never found myself getting bored, because I found the characters so relatable, and the story was so compelling.

This centers around three characters, and I really loved the way each of them was written. I loved that Daisy was determined to use her privilege for good, especially when we learned a bit more of her history. Cricket's journey was just as touching, and the same goes for Wallis. Every one of them had their own struggles, and was a complex character. I loved watching them come to terms with themselves, and I was so happy with how it ended.

The last thing I loved about this was the way the relationship between Blake and Wallis was handled. I can't say too much without spoilers, but it was such a welcome change. (view spoiler)

This definitely isn't a genre I normally read, but I really enjoyed it! It was an inspiring read full of strong and successful women, which is something we need more of. If you're in the mood for a peaceful read, this is for you!

Thanks to Netgalley and Lauren Edmondson for providing a free copy in exchange for an honest review!
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This book was a ok read for me. 
 It is a modern day twist to Jane Austin’s Sense and Sensibility.  I’m not sure if it was me, but the story line seemed so slow.
I did not connect with the characters as they seemed quite immature.  
I do recommend you read Ladies of the House and see how you feel about it.  I plan on rereading it.
Many thanks to NetGalley, the publisher and author for the opportunity to read this book for my honest opinion.  All opinions expressed are my own.
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This book is about a family who is left to pick up the pieces after finding out some unsavory things. I enjoyed the story and how the women rebounded and came out better than they were. 
Definitely recommend! Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for the early copy
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Ladies of the House was blurbed to be a modern retelling of Sense and Sensibility. I loved the setting in Washington DC and it was interesting to read about the political scandals the family faces.

Daisy, her sister Wallis and their mother Cricket are grieving the loss of their father. Shortly after his ceremony a huge political scandal is unearthed about him and the family is left behind to pick up the pieces. They are forced to move out of their family home, they lose most of their possessions are they are somewhat exiled from their inner circle.  

The family must find the courage to speak their truth and reclaim their lives from the media.
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I confess that this debut was out of my comfort zone as I've never actually read one of the original Jane Austen stories and I wasn't sure how I would react to this modern retelling... But there was just something about the blurb of Ladies Of The House that convinced me to give it a try. I'm so glad I did now, as I ended up having an excellent time with this story! I can't compare it to Sense And Sensibility for obvious reasons, but what I can say is that this modern retelling is absolutely worth the time if you think you would be a good fit.

The main focus of the story is on both politics and family. Not only do we see politics pop up in Gregory Richardson and the scandal after his death, but his daughter Daisy works in politics herself and the consequences of her father's scandal for her career as well as her personal life are felt throughout the story. It also comes back in Wallis' love interest... And it was interesting to see this element pop up in general. The other important element in Ladies Of The House is family, and especially the bond between sisters. Daisy, Wallis and their mother Cricket have to stick together while they try to deal with the aftermath of the shocking reveals involving Gregory... And it was interesting to see them deal with it all in different ways as well as evolving over time. Especially Daisy's growth was inspiring!

Ladies Of The House isn't just a story about grief, family, politics and dealing with a ruined reputation... It also includes a love story. The whole 'I'm in love with my best friend' could get a little frustating at times, and I could have done without the love triangle, but as a whole the rest of the story mostly made up for it. Wallis could likewise get a little frustating with her obsession, but I liked how things wrapped up in the end and there is no denying that the characters themselves are all realistically developed.
The writing itself is really easy on the eye and flows naturally, making it really easy to fully invest yourself in their story. Daisy is the perfect character to narrate their lives, but it was interesting to see how the different characters reacted to the things happening in the plot. As a whole I ended up having a fantastic time with this modern Sense And Sensibility retelling, and I will definitely be looking forward to read more of her work in the future!
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I don't remember Sense and Sensibility - the novel, the movie, anything. I know I read it - but it didn't stick with me the way other classics do.

Ladies of the House is a modernized version of the classic novel and frankly - I feel like I may have missed something in the original.

This is about two sisters and a widow who find out the truth and the depth of their father/husbands lies when he dies suddenly. Not only was he carrying on an affair, but accusations and evidence of money laundering have come to light since his death. The Richardson women must pick up the pieces and find what truly makes them happy.

Setting in the Washington DC and in the world of politics created a sense of high stakes and drama. I rooted for Daisy the entire time - maybe because I see a little of myself in her. Careers, family drama, blackmail, friendship and romance are all at play and these Ladies of the House all grow up over the course of time.

Lauren Edmondson does a terrific job of brining this classic story into the modern age and creating a world and plot that I can remember.

Thanks to NetGalley and the publishers for the opportunity to read and review this book.
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