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A Surrey State of Affairs

3.32  ·  Rating Details ·  426 Ratings  ·  105 Reviews
Constance is a devoted Home Counties wife and mother. A biscuit-baker, shepherd's pie-maker and founding member of the village bell-ringing club, her time is spent party-planning, matchmaking, and dreaming of the hat aisles at John Lewis. But unbeknown to her, Constance's home conceals scandal that would make the vicar blush.
Paperback, 320 pages
Published March 1st 2011 by Little, Brown Book Group (first published January 1st 2011)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Cheryl
Mar 28, 2012 Cheryl rated it it was ok
Constance Harding is wife and mother to two grown children. This does not mean that Constance isn’t still trying to meddle in their lives. Her daughter, Sophie, is a wild child and her son, Rupert has his own ideas of settling down and starting a relationship. Constance’s husband is too busy trying to avoid their Lithuanian housekeeper, Natalia and her under garments. What is a woman to do?

I found this book not as entertaining and as funny as I had hoped but still, it did provide me with some la
...more
Carol
Sep 14, 2013 Carol rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
I'd give it a 3.5 if I could. I picked this book off of the "staff picks" shelf at the library. It looked like something cute and light to read until something better came along.

Constance was sheltered and clueless through most of the first half of the book, but her naivete was part of what made her unintentionally funny. And although her life and blog entries seemed tiringly mundane in the beginning, when things got interesting later, I realized that the mundaneness served to set us up for the
...more
Stephanie  from Books Paradise
Constance ist 53 Jahre alt, englische Hausfrau, verheiratet mit Jeffrey, einem angesehenen Anwalt und lebt auf dem Land in einem schönen großen Haus, mit einer litauischen Haushälterin, die mehr schlecht als recht ihren Pflichten nachkommt. Consatnce's Kinder, Rupert (mitte 20) und Sophie (18) bekommt sie auch nur noch selten zur Gesicht und damit sie ihre Kinder nicht ständig anruft und sich mit ihnen unterhalten möchte, haben diese ihr einen Blog eingerichtet. Seit dem bloggt Constance fast ...more
Lee Libro
Feb 07, 2012 Lee Libro rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
The publicists at Author Exposure provided me with an advanced reader copy of A Surrey State of Affairs by Ceri Radford after I chose it from a selection of over fifty other books. With a clever title, a bold cover and promise for some British wit, I was drawn to it immediately.

Usually readers relate to a story through a writer’s craft with dialogue. Dialogue brings the character into the here and now, allowing the reader to be a spy on the wall. Getting into the interior life of a character tak
...more
Marie
Jul 04, 2011 Marie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Klappentext
Gurkensandwiches zum Five o`Clock Tea – der perfekte Nachmittag für Constance Harding. Aber leider spielt die Familie nicht mit. Der Sohn will nicht heiraten, die Tochter zählt Stichlinge in Frankreich, die litauische Haushälterin trocknet ihre Polyesterunterwäsche im Arbeitszimmer des Gatten. Es ist ein Skandal! Aber Constance lässt sich nicht unterkriegen: Sie nimmt das Leben der anderen selbst in die Hand. Mit völlig unerwarteten Folgen für ihr eigenes...

Über die Autorin
Ceri Radfor
...more
Nancy McKibben
Jan 06, 2014 Nancy McKibben rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anglophiles; fans of P.G. Wodehouse
Shelves: humor, reviewed
Constance Harding’s (Rather) Startling Year
By Ceri Radford

Constance Harding begins the year of 2008 with a blog, the suggestion of her son Rupert, who, the last time she phoned to tell him about her “ housekeeper’s blunders and the bellringer’s bunions” thought that his mother “might like to tell the World Wide Web all about it, rather than him. He is such a thoughtful boy.”

This observation is our introduction to the well-meaning but generally clueless Constance, the middle-aged mother of two gr
...more
Themistokeles
Bei diesem Buch muss ich zugeben, hatte ich eine vollkommen andere Erwartung, als das, was am Ende auf mich zukam.

In meinen Augen handelt es sich nach der Beschreibung nämlich um ein lustiges und leichtes Buch voller turbulenter und verrückter Geschehnisse. Nach den ersten paar Seiten hat mich das Buch aber schnell eines besseren belehrt, denn die Protagonistin Constance ist einfach nur eine unerträgliche und vollkommen versnobte Person, die es zum einen unter ihrer Würde hält zu putzen oder and
...more
Yvann S
“I am still alive. That is about the most positive thing I can say about my current situation. Even this state of affairs may not endure: an obstreperous airport security official confiscated my water-purification tablets. Once, in happier times, I visited the Rodin museum in Paris. There I observed the famous sculture The Gates of Hell, which featured writhing, contorted, debased and demented human forms. That is what Ibiza reminds me of.”

Constance Harding is a little perplexed by the current s
...more
Gloria
This is a quick read. After reading some heavier things, this was a delightful, humorous book about how a conservative, 50 something, well-to-do British woman realizes that all is not as it seems in her life and family and what it takes to embrace change. I thoroughly enjoyed this.
Christina Fixemer
Mar 15, 2013 Christina Fixemer rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of British comedy.
Constance Harding is a rather ordinary, proper Englishwoman of Surrey. On January 1, 2008, she started a blog. Her primary concerns: Why the Lithuanian housekeeper couldn’t keep her skimpy underwear properly stowed away rather than strewn about the house; finding a suitable girl for her son in his mid-twenties, seeing as he has not done so himself; wondering why her daughter must dress drastically and behave so improperly.

The blog runs precisely one year, and it chronicles the most eventful year
...more
Sharon Redfern
Apr 02, 2012 Sharon Redfern rated it really liked it
Shelves: arc, ebook
Being a sucker for anything BritLit, I enjoyed this book. Constance Harding decides to start writing a blog on the “new” laptop her husband gave her for the holidays. Right off the bat the reader realizes that poor Constance is pretty much clueless about her life and family. An example; the computer has an inventory sticker on it from her husband’s law firm and she attributes that to his affixing it on the laptop in a show of “corporate loyalty”.
It soon becomes obvious that Constance’s life is n
...more
Stephanie
Mar 22, 2013 Stephanie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013
This book was great fun! Radford has created a charming but highly naive, English woman who has resorted to blogging about the mysteries in her life over the course of a year. This was a suggestion by her son Rupert that "I might like to tell the World Wide Web all about it, rather than him. He is such a thoughtful boy." Through entries in her blog, we learn of her son's lack of interest in dating - "Ruth, Pru, and by extension, half the village are now laboring under the delusion that my son ...more
amaya
Feb 20, 2016 amaya rated it liked it
Probably closer to a 3.5, and not a bad book - but the saucier bits on the jacket description didn't appear until the final quarter of the story.

Constance Harding is a proper conservative upper-class Englishwoman. She's incredibly naïve and sees fit to fix everyone and everything round her whilst missing the incredibly obvious; and she's more than a little judgemental, spoilt, and oblivious.

These factors were off-putting at first, until I kept finding myself laughing at the absurdity of it all
...more
Susan in NC
May 14, 2012 Susan in NC rated it really liked it
I won't bother with a plot summary, as that is adequately covered above - although I think it makes the plot sound a bit more farcical than it is, and comparing Constance to Bridget Jones as a few reviews have done is a bit unfair. Both books are written in the first person as (respectively) a blog and a diary, but as much as I enjoyed Helen Fielding's book and heroine, I felt Bridget came across so much more desperate and pathetic than Constance! Maybe because I'm much closer in age and ...more
Nicigirl85
Titel: Wo ist das Gurkensandwich?

Dass man bei dem Titel „Das Leben ist kein Gurkensandwich“ keinen Klassiker erwarten darf, das wird jedem Leser klar sein, dennoch enttäuschte mich das Buch auf weiter Linie.

Constance Harding, 53 Jahre jung hat das Bloggen für sich entdeckt. Mittels dieser Einträge lässt sie den Leser an ihrem Leben teil haben. Constance hat es nicht leicht: Ihr Mann Jeffrey arbeitet viel, Tochter Sophie zählt Stichlinge in Frankreich, Sohn Rubert will partout nicht heiraten und
...more
Sarah
Oct 12, 2012 Sarah rated it liked it


It was cute. I liked the British girl who is just clueless and slightly dim-witted take on a year in the life of a housewife. I thought it was a Wodehouse meets Adrian Mole meets Fawlty Towers all mashed up.
Meet Constance Harding, upperclass wife to lawyer Jeffrey who is only known to the reader through her descriptions of him. He seems slightly boring and mechanical and typical. They have 2 children, Sophie and Rupert and they are either going through the general angst of early adulthood (tak
...more
Ann
May 28, 2014 Ann rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Constance Harding, age 53, decides to take on a new hobby : blogging. Entranced with this exotic new endeavor, she uses the computer as her confidant. Because despite her lovely house, hardworking husband and beloved children, Constance is beset by perplexing events. Why does her husband, usually so uninvolved in the domestic sphere, interfere when Constance wants to fire the Slavic housekeeper? Why has her adult son never brought a girl home for his parents to meet? And what is her teenage ...more
Elizabeth B
This wasn’t as cute or amusing as I’d hoped but it was a quick, light read that held considerable promise for a first novel. The main character was haplessly clueless and even not being in her age group I found that offensive. Instead of coming off as a cute, out of date woman she comes off as someone who has lived under a rock in absolute seclusion. The supporting characters were better drawn and added life to an otherwise slow moving tale. Sporadic blog entries that read like diary entries ...more
Cara
Jul 05, 2012 Cara rated it really liked it
Constance, an English housewife that lives a pretty comfortable life, has started a blog. While she is not very familiar with how blogs or Facebook works, she gamely shares her life (which centers around her church and family) with the world. She is preoccupied with the bell ringing championships coming up, finding her single son a suitable mate, and trying to decipher her university bound daughter's behavior.

In the space of a year, Constance learns many things about herself and those around her
...more
Kim McGee
Apr 09, 2012 Kim McGee rated it liked it
I received this as an advance copy and it is now available. Very funny novel that reminds me of a Sophie Kinsella crossed with Major Pettigrew Takes a Stand. Constance is a middle aged British woman who lives a good life but needs to meddle in everyone's life. This means she misses much of what is really going on - her housekeeper dries her underwear on Constance's husband's heater and Constance thinks it is a cultural difference. Her son will do anything to get out of being fixed up with women ...more
Deon Stonehouse
Constance has it pretty good; a lovely estate, a successful husband, and two grown children. Yet she is lonely, so her son Rupert sets her up a blog. It is much better than trying to talk to her elusive children or husband. Into her blog she pours all her little frustrations. It is soon clear to the reader that dear Constance is pretty clueless about most of the happenings around her. We see trouble looming right from the get go, while Constance blithely trips on totally unaware. She has a ...more
Nancy
Jun 14, 2012 Nancy rated it really liked it
Loved this book -- hilarious! It is written like a blog set up by Constance's children for her because they want to give her an outlet to talk about things. She's a very prim and proper Englishwoman -- sort of like Hyacinth Bucket. But her asides are very humorous. She has two children -- the son has a job and the daughter is about to go to school. Her husband is not very communicative. Also a housekeeper who leaves her underwear in her husband's study....(OK now what are you thinking? Me too, ...more
Ellen
Aug 03, 2012 Ellen rated it liked it
Although it was pretty easy from the first five pages to predict how this book would turn out, it was pretty entertaining to read thanks to the "oh-so-British" voice of the narrator Constance Harding. While I only actually laughed out loud a couple of times (I am more of a smiling quietly type of reader), it was still a pretty funny book. Constance tries to matchmake for her son, daughter and assorted friends with predictably disasterous results. The woman is a thick as can be and lives in a ...more
Derek Emerson
This novel comes from a column created by the author in England. In it she takes on the guise of a 52-year-old, wealthy, stay-at-home British woman who is clueless to the life about her. The humor comes in her descriptions of what is occurring and her inability to see the obvious, such as her husband's affair with the housekeeper. The entire story is told through blog updates her computer savvy 20-something son has helped her discover.

The book is entertaining, but her "cluelessness" runs thin si
...more
Trish
Oct 03, 2012 Trish rated it it was amazing
This was a charming and delightful story of fifty-something year old English homemaker who is learning the ins and outs of the computer age by starting her own blog. Her perfect life chronicle begins with her longing to be a grandmother and we follow her story over the course of the year as she journeys into facebook, dealing with an older teen-age daughter, a husband who retreats more to his study than he talks to her, a ditzy foreign housekeeper with scandalous underwear, shenigans from her ...more
Nelle Sumsar
Mar 18, 2012 Nelle Sumsar rated it did not like it
The fact that I found this book rather unamusing may be due to the fact that I am nearer to Sophie in age than to Constance, but still... A woman of about 50 years can't be so ignorant of the world, can she? Most of the time I was utterly bored with this book but I made myself finish it. The opinions and views which Constance holds are so... antiquated, I would not even attribute them to my grandma and she is 86.
I do not think though that Constance Harding is a representative for Ceri Radford be
...more
Michelle
Constance, a middle-aged housewife in Surrey, with prompting, decides to keep a blog of her life. She appears to be a happy but naive woman, enjoying her parrot and her bell ringing club, but is clueless as to why her son is not interested in dating women, why her Eastern European maid’s underwear are ending up in her husband’s study, and what her teenaged daughter is doing while she is supposed to be on a research project during her gap year. While this starts out as a tale of a hapless ...more
John
Apr 19, 2013 John rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: library_books
(Released in the U. S. as The Tumultuous Year of Constance Harding)

What a hoot! Constance is clueless about many things, but (for the most part) admits her puzzlement; she's not, however, a TSTL character (Too Stupid to Live). This one's been compared to Bridget Jones, and there's merit to that, although Bridget has a group of "buddies" in her circle, where here Constance is more on her own in getting through the curves life's thrown her - picture June Cleaver waking up in 2010, and having to fi
...more
David Price
Sep 11, 2012 David Price rated it really liked it
This really isn't my usual read at all (I tend to go for Pratchett, Tolkein, Agatha Christie) so wasn't really expecting much, but I got it with a cheap selection of books...

And I really liked it. It was nicely written and the blog style of the book was well done.

The randomness/silliness of the main character's life is ramped up as the book goes along and this plays well with her middle england sensibilites.

Don't quite know if it's done enough to make me switch generes permanently, but was a nic
...more
Jennifer S. Brown
Jan 25, 2013 Jennifer S. Brown rated it it was ok
This BritLit book was surprisingly more chick lit in feel than I expected, although can a book about a middle aged woman be chick lit? Maybe middle age-lit. I did appreciate that the main character Constance was older, but she was so dense. I found myself annoyed that the as the reader I was able to figure out the entire machinations of her life so far in advance of Constance as to render her idiotic. It left no suspense and no questions. True there are some funny moments, and Constance is ...more
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