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Radio Girls Paperback – June 14, 2016
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"If the early days of the BBC sound like a recipe for hitting thesnooze button, think again. Sarah-Jane Stratford's crackerjackhistorical novel Radio Girls smartly tunes in to the beginnings of Britain's broadcasting behemoth....Radio Girls is a hit."--USA Today
“Sarah-Jane Stratford’s Radio Girls is an achievement of historical fiction so believable that you’ll wonder if the author has access to a time machine. Maisie’s trajectory—from mousey, fearful underling into assertive, independent powerhouse—mirrors that of the nascent BBC for which she works. The promise of post-war prosperity and the looming threat of fascism make for an engrossing background against which Maisie finds herself involved in international intrigue and national rights movements which will make the reader turn the pages frantically, utterly enthralled until the very end. By turns funny and fascinating, Radio Girls is a triumph.”—Allison Amend, Author of Enchanted Islands
“Radio Girls carries readers on a memorable, eye-opening journey to London in the 1920s and ’30s, a pivotal time in the history of women’s rights, politics, and the arts. Sarah-Jane Stratford’s storytelling skills are on vivid display throughout, and the strong, believable, and immensely human Maisie Musgrave is the best imaginable guide to that vanished time and place.”—Joseph Wallace, Author of Slavemakers
“A bright, appealing novel about the early days of the BBC and the women behind its brilliant programming.... [The] depiction of female friendship and support is one of the great strengths of Stratford’s novel, which so capably describes its characters’ thirst for knowledge, for information of all kinds. An intoxicating look inside a world of innovative new media.”—Kirkus Reviews
“Sparkling historical fiction.”—LitHub
“A delightfully literary historical fiction book about the early days of the BBC.”—Broadly
“A highly detailed narrative and well-fleshed characters set the stage for this unique, early 20th-century story...This is an eye-opening view of the world when women’s rights were newly budding.”—Historical Novels Review
About the Author
Sarah-Jane Stratford is an author and essayist who has written for the Guardian, Boston Globe, Los Angeles Review of Books, Slate, Salon, and Guernica, among others. She is also a member of WAM! (Women, Action, and the Media).
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We're certainly hopeful many readers will take the time to purchase and enjoy 'Radio Girls.' They surely won't be disappointed.
Radio Girls is a remarkable, captivating, and powerful story about determined, courageous,resilient women at the BBC during the turbulent years between WWI and WWII. Sarah-Jane Stratford magnificently intertwined history and fiction flawlessly in this most intriguing, captivating, biographical historical novel.
While this story follows the fictional character of Maisie, it is also a factual account of the life of one of Briton’s most influential woman, Hilda Matheson. Hilda's intelligence and perception transformed the airwaves as BBC's first Director of Talks enlightening and self-assuring the women of her time.
The story started out slow, but it was needed so one would know the backgrounds of both the real and fictional characters and how they fit together. It didn't take long before the story took off sweeping me back in time to the 1920s with intrigue and drama and it never lets go. I was drawn into the story as though I was one of the girls working right along with Maisie and Hilda in the Talks department. I wish it never had to come to an end.
Radio Girls as a whole was a fascinating look into the BBC during 1920s London which fully captivated me from beginning to end. I absolutely highly recommend this first-rate invigorating story.
There are writers who have a gift with a turn of phrase and there are writers who can pace a good story, but rarely do the twain meet. Sarah-Jane Stratford is the exceptional author who deftly combines both qualities. Her characters are all multi-faceted individuals; no-one is allowed to be merely a two-dimensional stereotype. Every period detail is well-researched but the descriptions are never intrusive and somehow manage to engage with the flow of the narrative rather than interrupting it — anyone who reads or writes historical fiction will grasp what an achievement that is.
I hope this book is made into a movie or BBC series. In the meantime, I will be reading it again.
1. It is a historical novel where you actually learn - while enjoying a fiction story - about life in England between the World Wars and the challenges they faced from within and without.
2. It is a feminist novel set in time where feminism was still being suppressed and challenged. However, the real people in the story (Hilda) find a way to make the system work for them.
3. It is a suspense novel with all the intrigues that you could imagine with Mata Hari or an early James Bond.
4. It is story that does not shy away from the real lives of the Bloomsbury Group but told it from a historical perspective in a very balanced and even-handed approach.
I loved it - my book club loved it. We even got a chance to speak with the author, Sarah-Jayne, who made herself available via Skype to answer our questions. My book club spent 2 entire meetings discussing this book because of the multi-faceted aspects of the story and still felt the book was light enough to also be a casual summer beach read.
If you are a woman, I would highly recommend "Radio Girls" as a means to learn from the stalwart Hilda Matheson and to consider your own ability to by considering Maisie's evolution. If you are an employer, I would recommend that you read Radio Girls and consider the type of policies that you are enacting - whether consciously or subconsciously - in your workplace.
I appreciate that the author wove historical and fictional characters together so well in the narrative. She also addressed all of the potential controversial topics head-on. Bravo - Hilda would be proud.