The Operator by Gretchen Berg is a lighthearted historical novel about gossip, eavesdropping and scandal. Vivian Dalton works as a telephone operator at Ohio Bell. She began eavesdropping on conversations at an earlier age and working at the telephone company allowed her to continue this hobby. Late one December evening, Vivian overhears a conversation between the hoity toity Betty Miller and a stranger. The stranger tells Betty a secret about Vivian's family which, if it gets out, will embarrass Vivian. After getting over her anger, Vivian sets out to learn if the information is accurate. While the story plays out in the present, we get to learn about Vivian's growing up years and her relationship with her family. We also learn about Betty Miller's family and the robbery of the bank managed by Betty's father, J. Ellis Reed. This side story does not make sense until the end of the book. I had a hard time getting into The Operator. The first chapter did not pull me in (it was a turn off). I found The Operator easier to read as I got further into the story. I also think I had trouble because it is hard to like the main character (or any of them for that matter). I felt the author captured the time period with the fashions, vehicles, the language, and events. I like how Gretchen Berg included Orson Welles's âWar of the Worlds' Martian invasion broadcast. She captured the panic it created beautifully. I did feel The Operator was too long. It could have benefited from some judicious editing. This is Gretchen Berg's debut novel which is loosely based on her grandmother (author's note at end explains about newspaper articles and poems included). There are some recipes included in The Operator. The Operator is a blithe story about rampant rumormongering, endless eavesdropping, superior standards, and harmful hearsay.