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Radio Girls

3.75  ·  Rating details ·  6,409 ratings  ·  1,031 reviews
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 rad
Paperback, 384 pages
Published June 14th 2016 by NAL
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Kay I have to respond to this question to clarify another's answer. This book is historical fiction. Historical fiction books take place in the past and a…moreI have to respond to this question to clarify another's answer. This book is historical fiction. Historical fiction books take place in the past and are characterized chiefly by an imaginative (fictionalized) reconstruction of historical events and persons. The author may use true events and real people in their story. This genre is very popular and prevalent. So again this title would be considered part of the historical fiction genre, not as another stated "This is not fiction; it is non-fiction presented incorrectly by an opportunistic writer." (less)
Rayna It would depend what grade you teach and what other books are in the curriculum in terms of "adult content." "Damn" is as bad as the language gets. Th…moreIt would depend what grade you teach and what other books are in the curriculum in terms of "adult content." "Damn" is as bad as the language gets. The main character gets a diaphragm put in, and there is a sex scene and while it's not explicit (or out of place), it's still there. I think this should all be fine seeing as this kind of stuff is in books promoted as "young adult." I read a firsthand account of living through the Holocaust in my high school English class, so I really don't see how "damn" and a sex scene can be considered "more adult" than that.

I'd say it would be best if you read it and made this judgement yourself, as I'm sure you would have to do so before reading it with your students anyway. Hope this helps!(less)

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Average rating 3.75  · 
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 ·  6,409 ratings  ·  1,031 reviews

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Cynthia Corral
Apr 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This book is the best kind of historical fiction in that it tells a real story with real people, but from a fictional character’s point of view. I am not sure what I initially expected of this book; I think just a story set in the time of radio’s beginnings. But it is so much more!

It is part of the story of the beginning years of the BBC. I soon started googling the guest speakers they mentioned (as I’m an ignorant American born in the 60s). I found these very real people to be very interesting,
Dorie  - Cats&Books :)

Wow this was first rate historical fiction!! I knew nothing about the beginnings of the BBC or how the British Nazi party and it’s sympathizers at one point tried to infiltrate and sway public opinion through radio.

The main character is Maisie Musgrave who begins her career as a lowly secretary to the real life Hilda Matheson. We watch Maisie mature and grow into her own woman who finds her voice and suggests many story lines for what was called the Talks Departm
Mar 29, 2017 rated it it was ok
The only reason I gave this 2 stars is because it had potential.
It had a very hooking plot and included a cast of people who really lived and worked for BBC.
I was so excited for a historical fiction of BBC. Instead I got M16 the 1920-30 version. It sounded cool but was not at all. But it had the potential to be cool.

The writing was weird. It was very simple and the "creative" parts felt forced. As if there was some checklist that called for some cheesy metaphor or simile every few sentences. It
Oct 27, 2016 rated it liked it
3.5 stars. Radio Girls started out as a "lite", easy-reading version of historical fiction, with a young woman seeking a new life and perfect romance, while wrestling with impertinent cads, stuffy head secretaries and self-Important bosses in the exciting venue of radio in its infancy at the BBC. Surprisingly, as the novel progressed, the back story strengthened and gave this book a heft not hinted at initially.

That said, Sarah-Jane Stratford has done her novel and readers a significant disserv
Jenny (Reading Envy)
I loved the time period and historical detail of this novel, in fact I would probably read more about the BBC. Unfortunately in this novel, the writing bogs down the story, especially the mundane description and chatter. I found the author's notes to be a more direct and readable style, and I admire the quality of her research, so I suspect this is her first novel. I also noticed overuse and incorrect use of words like "copacetic" and "atavistic." I'd like to read the actual journal of Hilda, wh ...more
Sep 23, 2016 rated it liked it
I enjoyed the setting of this story, the early years of the BBC, the 1920s when women won the right to vote, were elected to political office in Brittan and began to push their way into professional roles, an era when every new door that opened for women revealed a new ceiling which was not yet glass. I appreciated the author’s end notes which informed me that nearly all the characters were both historical and faithful to the historical record. The fault I found with this book was in the writing ...more
Blaine DeSantis
Feb 12, 2017 rated it liked it
I remember reading about this book in early July while in Romania and kept looking and looking for it and finally got it a few weeks ago. Maybe it was the anticipated wait, or maybe it was the authors first book, but the initial hype was not justified in my mind. What went wrong?
Well, the book for me was a very slow read - not that a book has to be a fast read to be good, but it just plodded along for me. Also I am not sure of exactly what or whom the author really wants us to follow and root fo
Sep 02, 2020 rated it it was ok
2.5................. This was just okay. I like that it was based on a real life woman, Hilda Matheson, and the era in which it took place but the story bored me in the beginning and end. The middle was the most engaging but by that time I was a bit over it. I think this would be better as a BBC series like Downton Abbey.

It was a bit all over the place with the main character, Maisie, finding love, the Suffragist movement, Mussolini, Hitler, Nazism, women in the workplace, lesbianism, Bolshevis
J.L. Guzior
Jul 08, 2017 rated it it was ok


I had been dreaming about getting my hands on Radio Girls for months now and I was thrilled when I saw it available at my library. I've had to recheck it out twice now because I kept on picking it up and putting it down.

I was quite disappointed that it didn't keep my interest in the slightest. I kept falling asleep while reading it which is never a good sign for me. It was a total snoozer. I never connected with a single character and the main character is a complete pushover. I found myself
Dorie  - Cats&Books :)
Review Wow this was first rate historical fiction!! I knew nothing about the beginnings of the BBC or how the British Nazi party and it’s sympathizers at one point tried to infiltrate and sway public opinion through radio.

The main character is Maisie Musgrave who begins her career as a lowly secretary to the real life Hilda Matheson. We watch Maisie mature and grow into her own woman who finds her voice and suggests many story lines for what was called the Talks Department. Hilda is a very stro
Elizabeth of Silver's Reviews
Jun 30, 2016 rated it really liked it

Before the Internet and cell phones.

Before women were seen as being more than secretar​ies​.

RADIO GIRLS takes us back to the ​era of the ​wireless ​radio ​and the BBC.​ Loved the history.​​ Loved learning about the development of radio, the shows, and hearing that some listeners were afraid of the wireless.​

The time period is authentically portrayed​, and Hilda Matheson, a real historical figure, is ​one of the main characters. Hilda Matheson was The Director of Talks at the BBC and always had v
Dale Harcombe
Maisie Musgrave is excited to land a job at the fledgling British Broadcasting Corporation. The year is 1926 and radio is the latest sensation. BBC shows include famous writers, scientists and politicians among others. Like any work place, behind the scenes battles for supremacy are being waged as people try and implement their own ideas for radio. John Reith, director --general of the BBC has very different and much more conservative ideas than Hilda Matheson, the director of talks programming. ...more
Sep 28, 2016 rated it it was ok
Why do authors not trust in their stories?!

Radio Girls, a historical novel set in 1920s London and heavily influenced by actual events and actual people, has a pretty fantastic premise. Maisie Musgrove lands a job as an assistant at the recently formed BBC, where she finds herself stuck between two bosses: one a traditionalist, the other a modernist. The two battle over the role of radio in society as Maisie navigates the exciting, enthralling world that is this new technology.

On its own, that w
Amanda Espinoza
Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion. I’m a Candor at heart. I can’t help, but tell the truth.

This book was the perfect antidote to my recent Science Fiction binge. I was looking for a good Historical Fiction novel when I saw this beautiful cover and interesting story. RADIO GIRLS certainly rekindled my joy for Historical Fiction. Late 1920s London after WWI is a fascinating window into the history of the BBC. We know what’s going to hit London in 1940, b
Chris  C - A Midlife Wife
This book offers an interesting look at England and Europe in the time before World War II as Hitler and his Nazi party are starting to make themselves known in Germany. With the BBC just beginning and captivating all of England, the author gives us a tour of what it would be like working in this highly impressionable industry and place.

With political issues surrounding everything the BBC is doing, pressures are coming from all over to control and force a particular political agenda. But all is
Chelsea Baute
Jun 12, 2016 rated it it was ok
This book was too boring to hate. It was underdeveloped and overdeveloped all at the same time. Nothing about it was appealing. It had SUCH potential, which makes it sadder it was such a let down. You failed me, goodreads community. This book was a waste of my time. Want to read great historical fiction? Read Beatriz Williams.
Mar 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
This moved slowly and took me a while to finish, but the characters are all worth getting to know, women and men. They're all trying to make sense of themselves in a rapidly changing London. The men, even the young men (although, you can almost see the author giving birth to a more modern man with her treatment of Cyril in the end), are trying like hell to cling to conservatism, while the women are doing everything in their power to break through it.

Maisie is a young Canadian woman, who is basic
Jan 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: e-books
A wonderfully different view of Englands history told from the great perspective.

This book was a very nice read.

I loved that it kept "true" to the historical events and feeling of clearly showcasing that women during the 1920s where not seen as fully necessary people in the work force, but at the same time they where clearly needed because otherwise very little seemed to get done.

I loved that this book showcased the difficulties that women during that time had not only finding a job that actu
Jan 25, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Inform, educate and entertain...

Maisie Musgrave is thrilled when she gets a job as a typist at the newly formed BBC. She's not particularly pretty, and her relative poverty means she's rather dowdily dressed. Both of which are a little unfortunate, since her main ambition is to find a man and get married. But once she becomes exposed to some of the new thinking at the Beeb, and especially some of the feisty and successful women making their names there, Maisie begins to develop ambitions of her
May 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
This book might be more interesting to me than to the average reader because I am hugely interested in BBC Radio. I love the talks, the plays, the interviews, the lovely voices. I listen to it frequently through the app, and it can surround me with an atmosphere I find at once stimulating and soothing.

This book takes a fictional character, Maisie Musgrave, and plants her in the middle of a bunch of real people, circa 1926. BBC Radio is in its early days. Some view the new medium with suspicion.
3.5 stars bumped up to 4 stars. This started out slow and at first I didn't connect with the main fictional character, Maisie Musgrave. But then the plot, dialogue and characterizations "clicked" into a fascinating historical fiction look at the BBC in the 1920's.

Maisie is a Canadian born/American raised young lady who has had an unhappy childhood. She decides to relocate to England in hopes of distancing herself from an indifferent Mother, find a job and hopefully get married and have children
Sue Em
Aug 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Enjoyable book. The best kind of historical fiction where you learn new things about about an era through a good story and intriguing characters. Things were changing in England after WE I. Woman had partial suffrage and BBC radio began. While I found the first half good, but a little slow, the second half was a crackling good yarn.
Laura Stampler
May 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I can only describe reading RADIO GIRLS as a purely joyful experience. Sarah-Jane Stratford beautifully weaves fact with fiction in this unapologetically feminist — and I mean that as the highest of compliments — foray into the early days of the BBC, and the women who made it such a smashing success. Our heroine is the fictional Maisie Musgrave in the real and exciting era of Post WWI London. At first Masie is meek and yearns to fit into societal norms. But she truly opens up and embraces her sn ...more
Mar 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This was a really fun book to read!!! Have a dinner party to prepare for, but had to finish the book before I could start working ... I couldn't put it down. (Coming out in June ... in paperback ... which makes it all the easier to sell!!!) ...more
May 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I won a free copy of this book through Goodreads Giveaways.

First off: I LOVED this book! The characters were engaging, the story was engaging, and the writing was top notch!

This is a story set between WWI and WWII detailing the beginnings of the BBC and radio. It has strong female characters, and some great insight into the times. Stratford kept me guessing throughout the entire story as to the path that Maisie's life would take (would she marry X or not marry at all, would she stay a shy secret
Jun 12, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: arc, 2016-reads
I received an advanced copy of this book from Penguin First-to-Read in exchange for my honest review.

Radio Girls is based upon the real-life character of Hilda Mathieson who was an MI5 agent during the WWI. She later became head of the "Talks" department for the BBC. I really liked her characters as well as that of Maisie, her assistant, in the book. The author did a wonderful job in creating the atmosphere of what it was like to work in early radio, as well as what it was like in London immedia
Sep 26, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: lacpl-ebook

“If we have the sense to give [broadcasting] freedom and intelligent direction, if we save it from exploitation by vested interests of money or power, its influence may even redress the balance in favour of the individual.” (pp. v-vi)

—HILDA MATHESON, Broadcasting (1933)

Sarah-Jane Stratford’s novel, Radio Girls, offers some interesting and enlightening glimpses at the social history of 1920s Great Britain; and a very nice look at the early days of radio broadcasting, at
Sep 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing
One of my favourites of the year!

It had everything that turns me on : the fascinating history of a media conglomerate (the BBC) at the advent of radio, the life story of a queer, feminist icon (Hilda Matheson), the social insecurity of Britain as she hung precariously between two World Wars, suffragettes and the men who were scared of them, the fear of communism and the rise of underground fascism, a plot 1/2 based on fact but made thrilling by the well written fictitious other 1/2 that include
I appreciate what the author wanted to do. Shedding some light on a lesser known part of history. I liked that Hilda was a real person (and some of the other BBC staff). Her original character, Maise annoyed the crap out of me. Her inconsistent personality and inner rage dialogs. Not a fan of her narrative. It was so hard to focus on this work and make myself finish. I just wasn't interested at all. The climax of the plot was a mere ripple than a tantalizing splash like the prologue promised. ...more
If I hadn't learnt my lesson already, Radio Girls served as another reminder not to judge a book by its cover.

For better or worse, from the cover and description, I was expecting something light, "frothy" and romantic but this book had so much more. It explored fascinating themes such as female friendships, discrimination at work, women's suffrage and the freedom (and manipulation) of the press against the backdrop of 1920s London and the newly-created BBC.

I loved learning more about the BBC's
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Sarah-Jane Stratford is the author of Radio Girls. Her work has also appeared in the Guardian, the Boston Globe, Los Angeles Review of Books, Marie Claire, Bustle, Guernica, and many others. She is inordinately pleased to have written for knitting magazines as well.

In 2017, Sarah-Jane was awarded a Tier One Highly Talented Visa from the Arts Council in Britain. Formerly a resident of both American

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