“The Ladies of the House,” by Lauren Edmonson, is being toted as a modern-day version of Jane Austen’s “Sense and Sensibility.” I haven’t read that classic, so I’m unsure if the comparison is true or not. Regardless, Edmonson’s novel is a quick, entertaining read that focuses on current politics of the day. The book features a queen, a widow and her daughters, ages 35 and 25, and is narrated by the oldest daughter Daisy.
The story takes place in Washington, D.C. and Charleston. The husband /father of the main characters was a well-known Senator. He dies in bed at the home of his mistress. This isn’t his only fall from grace—he’s also accused of regularly dipping into his campaign funds. Even in a city used to gossip, this offense makes headlines.
The three women in his family cope with the dual scandals in different ways; all have other things going in their personal lives—one of the daughters has a serious relationship with a Senator who opposed her father’s views, and the girls’ mother now needs to find a job.
Daisy works for a Senator as his Chief of Staff; she makes a very bad decision that places her job in jeopardy. This looks bad for her boss, a man she respects. Daisy tries to hide the affront from her mother and sister. But eventually, she has to share the fact that she was involved with embezzling funds.
While these dramas are unfolding, Daisy wrestles with her conscience and her mixed feelings for her father. She begins to understand that making excuses for anyone’s bad behavior is not a good wise direction to take.
“The Ladies of the House” is a delightful book, and easy to read. The author has a knack for writing good dialogue and allowing readers a gateway into the characters’ minds, a venue that allows us to know what they really are thinking. To further engage readers, the author has included a love story to keep the pages turning.