The time is 1930s in the period of unrest just before events led up to WW II and the initial setting is America. Citizens in the US weren't looking to be involved in any of what was going on "across the pond" and the isolationist views held by most businessmen and politicians were also supported by many of the people living in the country.
Mollie Pride's unique family and upbringing lead her to a broadcast career that eventually takes her from America to London during the Blitz when she is not even 20 years old. "Hello, America, this is Mollie Pride..." Live from the battered streets, she interviews people at the scene, bringing the horrors, scarcities and tribulations of war home to households in human interest stories that make the realities of war evident to them in a society where real news is typically a man's world. Though she herself has suffered personal heartbreak and loss, Mollie finds that she will need every ounce of bravery and courage that she possesses in order to provide encouragement and support for those so affected by Hitler's war on so many foreign fronts. When the US enters the war, finally, Mollie is called on to keep secrets that put her in grave danger as some in power are listening to every word she says on air.
I found the novel fascinating as a glimpse into both broadcast journalism during the 1930s and as a study of how one woman entered that male dominated occupation and brought something new to those listening on the other end of the radio. The power of the spoken word over the airwaves of the day was never so evident as during this period in history. Propaganda was coming from Germany and from Japan, enemies and alliances changed by the day, and every broadcast was censored and controlled. How then would the truth be told? Molly, though often afraid of the ramifications, reported honestly the events she witnessed even when her own interests and needs had to be put aside for the greater good. She was a heroine in a time where honor and duty were evident in the actions of people in the most unlikely circumstances. There was also great evil and terror, and Mollie faced those with her indomitable personality and strong spirit.
There is also romance amidst the fear, the secrecy and the background of war, and the reader will root for Mollie all the way. I recommend this book to anyone who likes historical fiction set during the 1930s and early 1940s in both America and London.
I am eagerly looking forward to Beverly Swerling's next book!