Because they seem so personal and individual, I’m attracted to novels written in blogs, diaries, and letters. You really feel as though the writing comes directly from the blogger’s heart. Ceci Radford’s wonderful first novel A Surrey State of Affairsprovides hundreds of delightful escapades while involving you with a cast of peculiar though mostly likeable characters.
Here’s the plot in a nutshell: on the advice of Rupert, her IT consultant son, a middle-aged married suburbanite named Constance begins a blog where she tells of exciting and not-so-exciting events in her life. She doesn’t work outside the home and has a surly eastern European housemaid named Natalie. Constance’s main hobbies are throwing dinner parties (including faux detective ones), visiting her Mom in a nursing home, and improving her skills as a competitive church bell ringer. (Who knew Brits even competed at this?)
Pretty soon, you discover that she is also heavily involved in matchmaking: the aforementioned son with the minister’s daughter and also with a bell-ringer’s child. Did anyone accidentally give out her son’s address to a gentle stalker?
While Constance learns the nitty gritty of posting blogs, she entertains her husband’s burly Russian guest who has nasty spats with Natalie, and then takes off with Sophie. Oh Sophie! I failed to mention Constance’s 18 year old surly daughter who is on her gap year counting fish in France but comes home often for non-talking visits with Mom. Read more »