Welcome to British Isles Friday! British Isles Friday is a weekly event for sharing all things British and Irish — reviews, photos, opinions, trip reports, guides, links, resources, personal stories, interviews, and research posts. Join us each Friday to link your British and Irish themed content and to see what others have to share. The link list is at the bottom of this post. Pour a cup of tea or lift a pint and join our link party!
Last week, I reported on my binge-watch of the latest season of Endeavour. Gaele reviewed two books, The Lido and The Happiness List. Sim shared the first trailer for Mary Queen of Scots starring Saoirse Ronan as the title character.
Book: Radio Girls by Sarah-Jane Stratford
Publication date: 2016
Source: e-book from the library
Summary: Maisie Musgrave is thrilled to get any job in London in 1926. A job at the fledgling radio studio of the BBC comes at just the right moment to keep a roof over her head. She splits her time working for John Reith, director-general of the BBC, and Hilda Matheson, the director of Talks, programming based on conversations of knowledgeable people. Both Reith and Matheson are historical people. We get to see them through the eyes of our heroine, a fictional secretary, Maisie Musgrave. As a secretary, she’s in a good position to analyze their personalities, witness their actions, and keep their secrets.
Thoughts: Heather read Radio Girls last fall. Thanks for introducing me to this book!
My favorite parts of this book were when Masie worked with Hilda Matheson to find and craft good programming for the Talks. I loved learning about how they intended to educate women about their newly-gained right to vote.
Besides Reith and Matheson, we get other historical figures. I particularly enjoyed the presence of Vita Sackville-West. Before I had this blog, I spent a lovely summer reading about the garden at Sissinghurst Castle that she created with her husband Sir Harold Nicolson. They both wrote about it and so did others, so it’s well-documented.
I suspect that I might enjoy, even more, a book mentioned in the Acknowledgments: Behind the Wireless: A History of Early Women at the BBC by Kate Murphy. Unfortunately, it’s not available in libraries in the US and is expensive, even as an e-book, so we’ll have to see if I remain excited enough about the topic to purchase a copy.
Appeal: Radio Girls covers a fascinating period of history, the late 1920s and early 1930s, between the wars, with new technologies, new styles, and new roles for women. Nearly all of it is set in London, so we get to enjoy walking along the Embankment and up to the Strand with forays farther away from the Thames.
Have you read this book? What did you think?