CONSTANCE HARDING’S (RATHER) STARTLING YEAR hilariously observes what happens when a delightfully oblivious Surrey housewife—think Bridget Jones’s insanely daffy mother—pulls back the curtain on her chintz-covered domestic fairy tale and goes in search of a life of her own. Constance has filled her time leading a bell-ringing club on Tuesday evenings, and concocting ways to get her son Rupert to settle down and her daughter Sophie to wear appropriate clothing and snag a smart man. But like it or not, change is in the air. Constance is about to learn that her perfect home conceals a scandal that would make the vicar blush. Her Lithuanian housekeeper's polyester underwear keeps appearing in her husband's study, and her husband is—well, let’s just say his career is going south—all the way to South America. But as Constance’s family life seems to be falling apart, she begins to discover a whole new side of both herself and the world around her. And she’s putting it all in her blog-thingy. Side-splittingly funny, CONSTANCE HARDING’S (RATHER) STARTLING YEAR is a witty, sharply observed and relatable tale of one woman’s midlife crisis and self-discovery (well, sort of).I really enjoyed this one. I'm a huge fan of Brit-lit, and this one just pushed my giggle button. The main character reminded me immensely of Hyacinth Bucket (pronounced "Bouquet") in the BBC comedy "Keeping up Appearances." In the beginning at least, Constance Harding doesn't handle change well (or maybe not at all.) She is almost too oblivious to be believable, but in the meantime, her snooty attitude, and lack of comprehension about what is happening all around her, leave readers shaking their heads, laughing at her interpretations of events, and just snorting out loud at some of the situations described. It is written as a series of blog posts, and Constance doesn't seem to understand that the world is reading her blog!!!
If you are a fan of Brit-lit, or British comedies, this one is for you. It's a quick, fun read. It was published last year (under the title A Surrey State of Affairs),in Britain, and is now available in paperback. Viking/Penguin has offered a copy for me to give away to some lucky reader. If you'd like a chance to win this one, just leave me a comment with your email. I'll pick a winner on April 25th.
Title: Constance Harding's (Rather) Startling Year
Author: Ceri Radford
Publisher: Viking/Penguin (2013) trade paperback, 288 pages
Subject: changing mores
Source: ARC from publisher
Why did I read this book now? The publisher asked me to review it and it sounded like fun.