Wednesday, May 30, 2012

A Surrey State of Affairs by Ceri Radford

     Constance Harding, a 53 year-old woman from Surrey, England, has reluctantly entered the world of blogging.  Convinced that she will remain anonymous and that her family is uninterested, Constance starts a very personal and diary-like blog.  From local tidbits of gossip to deeply personal family drama details, she pours her heart out to her online followers.  She is hilariously clueless in the ceaseless endeavors to find her son a suitable wife and turn her edgy, wild daughter into a proper English lady.  And she just can't figure out why their young, beautiful housekeeper has developed such a fondness for her husband, Jeffrey.  And how on Earth do this woman's panties keep turning up in Jeffrey's study?

     Poor Constance has good intentions, but she's just a little insensitive and a bit foggy when it comes to respecting others' boundaries.  She is actually very reminiscent of Hyacinth Bucket of Keeping Up Appearances.  Ok. maybe not quite as bad as Hyacinth, but she definitely has a few quirks and peculiarities.  For a woman whose daily activities include reprimanding the servants, meddling in her friends'/neighbors'/children's private affairs, and Facebook stalking, Constance is quite convinced that Surrey would fall apart without her presence.

     Inevitably, life as she knows it completely falls apart, and due to a few shocking revelations, Constance leaves England behind for a long vacation.  But there's much more to Constance Harding than meets the eye, and very soon she transforms from a ditzy anti-hero into a full fledged literary heroine!  Despite differences in political or social opinions, A Surrey State of Affairs reminds readers that people will never stop surprising you - and probably when you least expect it.  Constance might be a naive, proud busybody, but you may find yourself reluctantly sympathizing with her and then enthusiastically cheering her on!  A Surrey State of Affairs is hilarious, charming, and quirky, and Ceri Radford's writing is sharp-witted and fresh.  This new novel is a sparkling testament to the state of debut literature.  2012 has been a good year for books, and I'll be recommending this heartwarming and delightful story for years to come!

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