Posted in books

The Omnipotence of Mother Nature + “Radio Girls” by Sarah-Jane Stratford

I wrote this the other day, the morning after a large storm.  I’m feeling refreshed and ready to go today, a beautiful Saturday. Ah, Mother Nature.

Not my photo. Beautiful all the same.

Something about rainy mornings call for mellow music (playing on my awesome Echo)–Diana Krall, Nora Jones, Frank Sinatra–and words. Words in the form of writing, reading, singing. But not spoken words. The more silent the morning the better.

And lots of coffee.

The need for quiet could stem from the night before. The rainy day moved in overnight, fighting for space with the warmer weather we’ve been having. And when those two fight it is spectacularly awe-inspiring.

I just wish it didn’t happen the in the middle of the night.

The collisions between the two fronts brought skies flashing with bright light and rolling rumblings that came from all sides. Just when it seemed calm, in would come a loud CRASH, causing my precarious sleep to be interrupted again and again.

Even without the light & sound show, the rain brought by the storm was not the sleep inducing rhythm, but instead the sudden beat-down kind of rain blown into windows.

For a mom who worries at night, this storm meant NO sleep.

Hearing from my friends, though, I have to count myself as one of the luckier ones. My kids have always slept through the worst weather, and my dogs take it all in stride.  And my husband never hears the crash-booms that wake me up. So, it’s only me that this weather keeps awake.

It’s amazing the power weather has over us, even in this modern age. It is stronger than anything, and seems whimsical and uncaring in its actions. Need food? Sorry, you get a drought and all your plants die. And, just when your land and soil has forgotten the feel of rain and water, Mother Nature deluges it with so much precipitation that it drowns, unable to swallow it all, causing it to overflow and run to the lowest point, taking everything in its path along for the ride.

Even all our technological advances and scientific discoveries, we have not been able to change the weather. It’s the magnificent, terrible, overwhelming power that controls the world and can change a life. Tornadoes, hurricanes, blizzards. Floods and droughts. Lightning and ice storms. In their craziness, these storms reaffirm our smallness in the universe, reminding us of how little we really mean to Mother Nature and the tides of time.

It’s funny when I think of all weather can control. Too much snow and school will be cancelled, changing the whole trajectory of a day for a chunk of population. A sunny day may mean the pool, but too much sun and heat means its too hot to go to the pool, to hot for everything. A large rainstorm stops all outdoor activity, and lightning can change everything with one bolt.

We can rage against it – shake our fists at the rain that hits on the day of a pool party or the snow that doesn’t occur right before a ski trip – but it doesn’t change at all. It stays the course. More that anything else, weather is what it is.

Today the weather won’t change my overall schedule, but it will change me a bit. Because I didn’t sleep well, I’ll drink too much coffee. I’ll struggle a bit through the day. But then, just when I hate storms and crazy fronts, Mother Nature will show me something incredibly beautiful, and I’ll fall in love with her all over again.

Okay, onto  Radio Girls by Sarah-Jane Stratford.

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.

The Premise

It’s 1926, and Canadian-born, American-raised Maisie Musgrave finally landed a secretarial job. Not only is it a paying job, it’s at the brand new British Broadcasting Corporation, a national company using that new technology, radio, which is enthralling the nation after World War I.

Insecure Maisie becomes more insecure under at the BBC, filled with smart, young people excited to be on the brink of something new. Soon, though, she finds herself, thanks in part to Hilda Matheson, an incredible bright and confident director of the Talks (sort of lectures on a variety of topics) programming at the BBC. Seeing what Hilda has broken through as a woman in a decidedly man’s world, and under Hilda’s guidance, Maisie discovers her talent and love of writing and creating.

When Maisie starts to follow her instincts, she discovers a conspiracy with far-reaching consequences, which could cost Maisie and Hilda everything for which they’ve worked.

My Thoughts

This book seemed to take WEEKS to read (in reality, just 6 days), although it isn’t that long. I think it was just bad timing for the book, because the story was really good.

Radio Girls  is an interesting, intriguing piece of historical fiction, weaving facts with Maisie’s story in a marvelous fashion. Maisie is a creature of her time, and finding her voice amidst women’s suffrage, after World War I decimated the men of working age in England.

Maisie’s time is the time of brilliance, with men and women discovering the power of radio and its ability to spread knowledge to the literate and illiterate alike. But on the horizon, rising slowly but surely, is the threat of fascism, giving this brief time of peace a beautiful halo for those of us looking back at it.

Maisie is a strong, realistic character, although her strokes of luck in finding just the right people are amazing. But she’s a woman of her time, finding her feet and her voice in the new world. The cameos by the famous and real are a big bonus, and gives Radio Girls a little something extra.

I give Radio Girls 4 stars.  The story is great, and the characters are strong. Highly recommended for historical fiction lovers.



I love to read; writing is my outlet. My blog is my way to combine the two, with a some life stories thrown in for good measure.

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