Radio Girls

Radio Girls

Book - 2016
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"The Great War is over, and change is in the air, in this novel that brings to life the exciting days of early British radio...and one woman who finds her voice while working alongside the brilliant women and men of the BBC. London, 1926. American-raised Maisie Musgrave is thrilled to land a job as a secretary at the upstart British Broadcasting Corporation, whose use of radio--still new, strange, and electrifying--is captivating the nation. But the hectic pace, smart young staff, and intimidating bosses only add to Maisie's insecurity. Soon, she is seduced by the work--gaining confidence as she arranges broadcasts by the most famous writers, scientists, and politicians in Britain. She is also caught up in a growing conflict between her two bosses, John Reith, the formidable Director-General of the BBC, and Hilda Matheson, the extraordinary director of the hugely popular Talks programming, who each have very different visions of what radio should be. Under Hilda's tutelage, Maisie discovers her talent, passion, and ambition. But when she unearths a shocking conspiracy, she and Hilda join forces to make their voices heard both on and off the air...and then face the dangerous consequences of telling the truth for a living. READERS GUIDE INCLUDED"--
Publisher: New York City :, New American Library,, [2016]
Copyright Date: ©2016
ISBN: 9780451475565
Branch Call Number: FICTION Stratfor Sarah 06/2016
Characteristics: 367 pages ;,21 cm


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Dec 07, 2016

They say never to judge a book by its cover of which I might have been a touch guilty of. I thought this was going to be yet another romantic novel. I was wrong and ever so grateful to be so. This is a historical fiction piece set between World War One and World War Two, about real people told from a fictional characters point of view.

Radio Girls follows the career of Maisie Musgrave from 1926-1932. When we first meet her she is down to her last week of money for food and shelter. By sheer luck she is awarded a job as the secretary of the Director General at the fledgling BBC Radio; this was to be her saving grace. We follow the journey of Maisie as she matures from Mousy Maisie to a real risk taker, investigative journalist and finally a producer working in the Talks Department. We see the clash of ideals where women were caught between traditional values and a world opening up to them of freedom and equality. Ostensibly about Maisie, this book is truly about Hilda Matheson, the first Director of Talks, a fascinating and remarkable character, who was a MI5 agent during World War One and responsible for the BBC becoming such a stalwart of information for the masses.

Stratford has written a compelling novel that takes us to a time in history when things were in turmoil and life was changing. She manages to bring alive a period when attitudes were changing as were expectations of life. It touches on a myriad of topics from contraception, women being granted the right to vote and sexuality, including attitudes towards homosexuality. It looks at the growing feminist movement and touches on the suffrage movement to win women the right to vote. The story never drags and the characters are finely drawn. In the story we see the development of the Talks Department and the growth of the British Nazi Party in the UK. There is a touch of romance in the story, but it is part of moving the mystery forward rather than a distraction.

Entertaining; a really great read.

Nov 08, 2016

A well written novel based on real people and situations. All is exceptionally enjoyable, even if the climatic ending spy chase is weak. It made me search out more information on Hilda.

Oct 31, 2016

Maisie is a shy, newly minted secretary who is hired by the new BBC and who has the great fortune to become the protege of Hilda Matheson - a pioneering radio talk show producer. Matheson who really existed, encourages young Maisie, to use her brains and her writing talent. A good story made a bit better with a bit of reading on Hilda Matheson and her extraordinary career

Aug 21, 2016

Maisie's lack of confidence became tiresome all too soon.


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