By: Sarah-Jane Stratford
Published By: New American Library
Publication Date: June 2016
Reviewed by: Jennifer Tilley-Voegtle
Review date: May 24, 2016
Maisie Musgrave, former WWI nurse and graduate of Miss Jenkins Secretarial College is on her very last pound when she lands a fantastic interview. It’s not just any interview, it’s with the brand new BBC, and she’s about to enter a world of modernity!
Mousie Maisie, with newspaper lining her shoes, gets a letter for an interview at the BBC after applying for a position as a Junior Secretary. While the world is still reeling after the horror of WWI, the BBC is working on making radio history in England. After the war, things have changed drastically in England and women are now working in many varied positions, no longer just as nurses and school teachers. Not all companies are hiring women but the BBC is known for not only hiring women but having female employees in positions of importance.
Radio Girls is about the changing times and one woman’s exciting entrance into a revolutionary era for women. Just before women are allowed the vote in England, Maisie is hired as a Junior Secretary in the Office of the BBC’s Director General. She also spends part of her day typing up notes for the head of the Talks department. She immediately falls in love with the fast-paced, exciting, energy of the BBC and very soon becomes the secretary for the director of the Talks department. The director, also a woman, sees herself in Maisie and gives the young woman opportunities she never could have dreamed of in the past. Maisie excels in this job and begins to find her own voice through writing.
This story is about a time between the two wars in Europe that had rapid and dramatic changes. Leaving the Victorians in the dust, Radio Girls is an excellent story of how women’s roles were becoming radically different. At this time there is less of a distinction between the aristocracy and the middle class. There’s a chance for advancement in life through work and not birthright. It’s a fantastic read, full of interesting and sometimes true history of the BBC. The story covers the struggles of a girl who becomes a woman in almost untested waters and does well at that! While not being so much a coming of age story, it is a book where the heroine finds herself and her purpose. Along with her purpose she finds that there is quite a bit of intrigue and mystery going on behind the scenes as well. She begins to see the world through the eyes of an adult and experiences just how much control men have and what they can do with that power if they go unchecked.
Radio Girls is a fast-paced page-turner. The reader is on an exciting journey from the start to the very finish of this book. Well researched, and written, this is a must read for historical fiction fans! Sarah-Jane Stratford has written a novel that leaves one longing to read more even after the story is done. As you read this book you will grow along with Maisie while the plot moves forward. You will find yourself rooting for her, feeling her excitement, and experiencing the revolutionary changes right alongside her!
Quill says: You don’t want to miss this one! Interesting history, humor, and intrigue, this book has it all!