Monday, June 13, 2016

Radio Girls

Berkley Publishing Group, ISBN 9780451475565, June 2016

Canadian-born Maisie Musgrave left her actress mother in New York and moved to England, the home of the father whom she never knew. She'd like to find him or his family, or just more information about him, but so far she's had no luck. In the meantime, she's worked as a nurse during the Great War, as well as other jobs after the war. But now, in 1926, she's been struggling for a while, and is thrilled to land even an interview at the new, exciting British Broadcasting Corporation. When she actually lands the job as a secretary there, she is well beyond thrilled.

Yet working at the BBC proves more challenging than she expected. For starters, she's working for two bosses--John Reith, the intimidating and very traditional Director General of the BBC, and Hilda Matheson, the extraordinary, sometimes confusing, and very untraditional director of Talks programming.

Maisie's own leanings are at first fairly traditional; she likes her work but dreams of the day she finds a husband and will move on to her "real work" of caring for her own household. Despite that, Miss Matheson challenges her intellect and her skills, and is by far the more supportive boss, and Maisie starts to respond to her influence. Of the next few years, she makes friend, becomes engrossed in the world of radio broadcasting--and slowly starts to first stumble upon, then carefully, cleverly, and at real risk, to ferret out information about a dangerous political conspiracy.

Changing technology, changing times, and the ongoing effects of the loss of so many young British men in the Great War, make for a complex and interesting background for a story that builds toward an exciting conclusion.

I enjoyed Radio Girls immensely. Recommended.

I received a free electronic galley of this book from the publisher via NetGalley.