Constance Harding’s (Rather) Startling Year

Published in the USA in spring 2013 as a Penguin paperback
Previously published as A Surrey State of Affairs by Pamela Dorman Books and Abacus


Constance Harding’s comfortable corner of Surrey is her own little piece of heaven. She lives in a chocolate box house complete with an Aga and a parrot, her bell-ringing club is set to dominate the intercounty tournament, and she is sure she can get her son, Rupert, to settle down if she just writes the perfect personal ad for him. Naturally, things turn disastrous rather quickly. And she’s about to learn that her perfect home conceals a scandal that would make the vicar blush.
Her Lithuanian housekeeper’s undergarments keep appearing in her husband’s study and her daughter is turning into a Lycra-clad gap-year strumpet. As her family falls apart, Constance embarks on an extraordinary journey. From partying in Ibiza to riding bareback with a handsome Argentinean gaucho whose only English words are “Britney” and “Spears,” Constance is about to discover a wider world she thought it was too late to find.
Hilarious, inventive, and ultimately heartwarming, A Surrey State of Affairs will appeal to fans of Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand and the novels of Alexander McCall Smith.


“Wonderfully amusing. A comic gem.” –Alexander McCall Smith

“Ceri Radford has perfectly rendered the inner monologue of a clueless but loveable Everywoman. Comforting, witty, poignant, and delicious.”
–Beth Harbison, New York Times bestselling author of Thin Rich Pretty and Always Something There to Remind Me

“With a heroine as sweet and naive as Constance, there is bound to be trouble. And there is. Hugely enjoyable, this is an unusual and sparkling debut…. The Diary of an English Provincial Lady de nos jours.”
–Elizabeth Buchan, author of Revenge of the Middle-Aged Woman and Separate Beds

“The endearingly clueless Constance Harding brings all of her generous good intentions to bear on solving the problems of those around her. What results are the hilarious misadventures of a hopelessly well-bred Englishwoman, an insightful commentary on our times, and a wonderfully messy tale of friendship, parenthood and love.”
–Juliette Fay, author of Deep Down True and Shelter Me

“The New Helen Fielding.” –Company (UK)