Monday, June 6, 2016

Review: Radio Girls by Sarah-Jane Stratford

Radio Girls
by Sarah-Jane Stratford

Publisher: NAL
Pages: 384
Format: ARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  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.

Kritters Thoughts:  A different look at a time and place that is written about often.  London is on the cusp of World War II and radio is on the cusp of popularity.  Maisie gets in on the ground floor of the BBC at the beginning and works her way up in the Talks department.  At the same time London is seeing women's fight for the right to vote and seeing some opposition to the way business and politics have been going for years and years.

There were two main things that really attracted me about this book - the time in history and the location, meaning the BBC and the radio world.  I love books that take place when is before a big point in history, in this case right before the second World War and the reader knows what is coming in the background history wise and the characters may have no clue.  I also loved the "world" this set in, the beginnings of radio and BBC and seeing women have an opportunity at this time to hold powerful positions and make impacts on their communities.  This book reminded me that women were making an impact in the career and home, but still not eligible to vote - boggles the mind!

I am a historical fiction fan and read many of them, but this one felt unique.  I am excited to see what comes next from Sarah-Jane Stratford and am adding her to my historical fiction authors to watch list.

Rating: definitely a good read, but can't read two in a row

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one copy of this book free of charge from Berkley NAL.  I was not required to write a positive review in exchange for receipt of the book; rather, the opinions expressed in this review are my own.

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