I received this book as a "new house" present from Heather who reads this blog (and who has kindly sent me books before). Of course it is an exceptionally appropriate book since the house that we have purchased, and just moved into is a 1940s semi.
I couldn't resist starting with the second book in the volume, The semi-detached house. Of the two books, Semi-Detached was written second, but published first, and it was only when it met with success that the earlier book was brought into print. Set in the Regency period, and thus a somewhat older house than ours, it felt a little like reading Austen or maybe EH Young (although not somehow so good), being a book plotted mainly around social manners and social convention. It starts with Lady Chester moving into the semi-detached house, and being somewhat horrified that she has such adjacent neighbours, the Hopkinsons. It is not until the Hopkinsons offer hospitality to Lady Chester and her Aunt Sarah after a chimney fire in the kitchen that the two sides begin to get on, although they are not socially very well matched. Other neighbours, The Sampsons, are introduced, intent on social climbing, but somehow not as good as the Chester household. There is a lot of matchmaking and somehow everything seems to end happily.
It's now nearly three weeks since I read the other novel in the book, and I'm afraid I can't remember much about it! It's a story about a newly married couple, who didn't exactly marry for love. I just remember feeling glad that I will be marrying for love very soon!
This was a very early VMC (number 16 on the list), and was only published once in an original green edition, although the copy that I own is the black Dial Press version.