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London, 1926: The Great War is over, and change is in the air. Maisie Musgrave is thrilled to land a job as a secretary at the BBC, whose use of radio—still new, strange, and electrifying—is captivating the nation. But the hectic pace, smart young staff, and intimidating bosses only add to Maisie’s insecurity.
Soon, she is seduced by the work—gaining confidence as she arranges broadcasts by the most famous writers, scientists, and politicians in Britain. She is also caught up in a growing conflict between her two bosses, John Reith, the formidable Director-General of the BBC, and Hilda Matheson, the extraordinary director of the hugely popular Talks programming, who each have very different visions of what radio should be. Under Hilda’s tutelage, Maisie discovers her talent, passion, and ambition. But when she unearths a shocking conspiracy, she and Hilda join forces to make their voices heard both on and off the air. . . and then face the dangerous consequences of telling the truth for a living.
Throw in illicit romantic relationships between 1920’s literati; a dark political conspiracy; and a compelling fictional portrayal of one of the most influential feminists you’ve never heard of; and you’ve got a script for one of the most original historical fictional novels released this year.
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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