Dad of Divas' Reviews: Book Review - Constance Harding's (Rather) Startling Year

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Book Review - Constance Harding's (Rather) Startling Year

About the Book
As a journalist, Ceri Radford has written about everything from Swiss corporate bonds to male strippers and Downton Abbey. In 2008, Ceri started a blog for Britain’s Daily Telegraph in which she wrote as a fictitious character named Constance Harding, a middle-aged, staunchly upper middle class, and unfailingly literal English woman. Although in her twenties at the time, Ceri became worryingly adept at pretending to be a 53-year-old meddling mother whose loves include her parrot Darcy, baking, and the smell of envelopes. Like many brilliant epistolary writers before her—from Samuel Richardson to Helen Fielding—Ceri Radford has transformed her daily epiphanies into her debut novel, now out in paperback by Penguin Books, CONSTANCE HARDING’S (RATHER) STARTLING YEAR (On Sale: March 26, 2013; Penguin Books; 978-0-14-312286-9; $15.00). It tells the story of how Constance triumphs over adversity, rescues her marriage, and embraces modern life in a wider world she thought it was too late to find.

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).

About the Author
Ceri Radford grew up in Swansea, England, studied English literature and French at Cambridge, and started her career as a journalist with Reuters. She’s since written about books, TV, culture, society, and many other things for publications including The Daily Telegraph, the Times Literary Supplement and Red Magazine. She currently lives near Geneva. For more information, visit

My Take on the Book
This was a hilarious book that, though written for women, still kept me engaged form beginning to end. The main character is bumbling and clueless, but still lovable in so many ways. The book was entertaining and engaging and I kept feeling that I wanted to continue reading as the time went by to see what other misadventures this main character would get into.  All-in-all this was a book that had me laughing out loud, and it will have you doing the same!

All opinions expressed in this review are my own and not influenced in any way by the company.  Any product claim, statistic, quote or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer or provider. Please refer to this site's Disclaimer  for more information. I have been compensated or given a product free of charge, but that does not impact my views or opinions.

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