Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Above the Bay of Angels” as Want to Read:
Above the Bay of Angels
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Above the Bay of Angels

by
4.15  ·  Rating details ·  11,332 ratings  ·  931 reviews
A single twist of fate puts a servant girl to work in Queen Victoria’s royal kitchen, setting off a suspenseful, historical mystery by the New York Times bestselling author of The Tuscan Child and The Victory Garden.

Isabella Waverly only means to comfort the woman felled on a London street. In her final dying moments, she thrusts a letter into Bella’s hand. It’s an offer o

...more
Kindle Edition, 323 pages
Published February 11th 2020 by Lake Union Publishing
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Above the Bay of Angels, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Kayoshel When Bella first meets Mary Crozier in the gardens, Mary says that her husband named their villa Villa Angelica because "the view was so pretty that a…moreWhen Bella first meets Mary Crozier in the gardens, Mary says that her husband named their villa Villa Angelica because "the view was so pretty that angels would want to live here." I think that is the source of the title.(less)
Ferne I read a paperback edition published in Feb-2020. Dependent on when your library closed due to COVID-19, they may have it on a requisition list but ma…moreI read a paperback edition published in Feb-2020. Dependent on when your library closed due to COVID-19, they may have it on a requisition list but may not have yet processed it for circulation. I'm sure they'd be happy to reserve it for you when available or secure you a copy via their interlibrary loan system.(less)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.15  · 
Rating details
 ·  11,332 ratings  ·  931 reviews


More filters
 | 
Sort order
Start your review of Above the Bay of Angels
Paige
In Victorian England, young Bella takes a letter from a dying stranger in the street. She uses the dead stranger's name, background, and letter of recommendation to obtain a job working as a cook for Queen Victorian in Buckingham Palace. But as events transpire, Bella realizes that she is not the only one with a secret.

The overall story is a very light and cushy historical fiction that slowly builds up to Queen Victoria's stay at the Hotel Regina Excelsior on the Riviera in France. Once they arr
...more
Phrynne
Dec 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
I always enjoy a book from Rhys Bowen. Her historical fiction in particular never fails to be appropriately set, creating the right atmosphere for the period.

Above the Bay of Angels takes place during the reign of Queen Victoria and presents a slightly fantastical but very enjoyable story about a servant who manages to rise above her current position in life. Bella comes from a good family but is impoverished and due to an amazing stroke of luck finds herself working at Buckingham Palace. A ser
...more
Carolyn
I enjoyed this mostly for it's historical and geographical setting. A murder mystery late in the novel was an added bonus, used mainly as a device to bring the main character's secret out in the open.

Isabella Waverley, an educated girl from an aristocratic family was forced to work as a maid when her mother died and her father squandered everything they had on the demon drink. Discovering that she enjoys cooking, she manages to train in the kitchen of a large house and through a twist of fate la
...more
Linda
Fate pulls you in no matter how many mistaken paths you take.

Isabella Waverly thought she had all the stars aligned. She came from a good family with her father having served in India with the Bengal Lancers. She and her sister Louisa were well educated and adored by their mother.

But sometimes that Big Dipper allows those stars to spill out in all directions in the heavens vastly changing the original intent. Roddy Waverly left his command with the Bengal Lancers and returned to London due to hi
...more
Brenda
Isabella Waverly and her sister Louisa had been devastated to lose first their mother, then their father. Bella had been sent into service not long before their father died, so she had to continue to support Louisa. It was when she witnessed an accident and comforted the victim that Bella’s life and fortunes changed. Her new position was working in Queen Victoria’s kitchen – her new name Helen Barton.

She enjoyed her work and the camaraderie with the other members of the royal kitchen; she told n
...more
Kylie H
Bella Waverly is born into an untitled aristocratic family, but through a series of events finds herself 'in service' to a nouveau riche family in order to support her alcoholic father and younger sister. Here she discovers a love of cooking and aspires to use this to launch her own career. But the lady of the house who recognises her talent refuses to give her references, essentially binding Bella to her household.
Through an unfortunate accident Bella finds an opportunity presents itself and if
...more
Bam cooks the books ;-)
*3-3.5 stars. A charming, cozy mystery set in Victorian England. Isabella Waverly was raised and educated in an aristocratic family until hard times for the family require her to take work as a servant for members of the nouveau riche. There she discovers a talent for cooking. One day a tragic accident presents her with the opportunity to assume another's identity and interview for the position of under-cook in service to Queen Victoria. Carpe diem!

Her delicious scones bring her to the attentio
...more
Kathleen
Sep 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
#AboveTheBayOfAngels #NetGalley Thanks to NetGalley and Lake Union for this advance copy of Rhys Bowen's latest stand alone."A single twist of fate puts a servant girl to work in Queen Victoria’s royal kitchen, setting off a suspenseful, historical mystery"

I enjoyed it and the historical period it evoked. Of course Queen Victoria was a bit out of known character but who knows?

I would not mind it being the beginning of a short series as the characters were a bit uneven, but that came and went i
...more
Louise Wilson
Feb 13, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Isabella Waverley comes from an aristocratic family. She hasn't had the easiest of lives. Her fathers drinking puts isabella into servitude. She has to work as a scullery maid for a family with no breeding. Isabella goes to the aid of a young woman who was dying on a street in London. The woman gives her a letter and she asks Isabella to deliver it for her. It's addressed to Buckinghan Palace. The woman had been going for an interview for a kitchen position. Isabella takes the opportunity to rep ...more
Judy
Jan 14, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Historical fiction set in the time of Queen Victoria. Bella Waverly was brought up in an aristocratic family, but after her mother died she had to work "in service" to support her alcoholic father and her younger sister. She went to work for a family that treated her poorly, but Bella found she loved to cook and had a talent for it. When she wanted to leave and try her luck elsewhere the family refused to provide recommendations. Then one day she saw a girl hit by a bus and goes to help, but the ...more
Louise
Dec 12, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: net-galley
Historical fiction is one of my favorite genres, because when done right, one learns a lot about a different time and place. Such was the case in this book, although the story was a bit boring and far-fetched. I did enjoy reading about the inner workings of the royal household in the late years of Queen Victoria's reign. The beginning of the book was promising, but the middle parts got bogged down. I pushed myself to finish it and I'm glad I did, but overall it was not a "page turner."

Thank you
...more
Lindsey Gandhi
I was extremely excited when I heard Rhys Bowen had a new book coming out. I loved The Tuscan Child and joked that I felt I had gained 10 pounds just reading that delicious book. Well, if we are going to keep up the analogies with food and writing, this book, Above the Bay Of Angels is about as bland as English food!! I say that somewhat sarcasticly, as having traveled a lot to England, I didn't necessarily find the food boring and bland. That's just the general opinion of their food. But I did ...more
Sarah
2.5 stars. I've really enjoyed some of Rhys Bowen's standalone historicals in the past, but this wasn't one of my favorites. I did really like the premise and the character of Bella, and the descriptions of food were great. If you're someone who likes reading food-centric books you may like this one. After the promising beginning (where Bella takes a letter from a dying woman and uses it to get a job cooking at Buckingham Palace), the story just wasn't compelling enough. It sounds like a mystery ...more
Allison Keith
This was a lighter read than I expected with the mystery and intrigue mentioned in the synopsis not showing up on the page until the last quarter of the book. I always enjoy Rhys Bowen’s writing, and her research is impeccable, transporting me to other eras with each book I read. The descriptions are lovely, and the plot unfolds at an even pace. Overall, this is a charming tale about a woman finding a place for herself in the world.
Lori Lamothe
Slice of History with a Dash of Suspense

When her aristocratic father lapses into alcoholism, Bella Waverly must forget about school and go into service to support her family. Motherless and without any practical training, she finds herself at the very bottom of Britain's social ladder. As a scullery maid, she lugs coal up multiple flights of stairs all day and collapses into a dreamless sleep at night. Though she gradually works her way up to assistant baker she doesn't see much of a future for
...more
Julie  Durnell
Nov 23, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: england-uk
This was the first book by Rhys Bowen I've read and I really liked it. It's been some time since I've read a historical fiction novel and this fit the bill. I cheered for Bella/Helen as she took advantage of a tragic accident and stepped into someone else's shoes, becoming a cook at Queen Victoria's palace. Her desire to improve her situation succeeded and while the bit about her educated background and the unfortunate reason behind dropping her education at fifteen and going into service was qu ...more
Randi Annie Framnes
Feb 25, 2020 rated it really liked it
Above the Bay of Angels is the first novel I have read by Rhys Bowen, and I found it a pleasure to read. It features Isabella Waverly who, by a series of incidents, takes another woman’s identity, gets her job as under-cook at Buckingham Palace and gets to be on the queen’s cooking team travelling to Nice. When a member of the party dies of poisoning, Bella is suspected of the crime.

To recover from a nasty cold after her stay at The Isle of Wight Her Majesty goes to Nice. As the pastry chef is i
...more
Susan Johnson
Feb 09, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: net-galley
I really enjoyed this new stand alone book by Bowen. I really like her Lady Georgiana series and this reminded me a lot of it. There is a connection to the Queen, Victoria, in this one. The heroine, Isabella Waverly, is an aristocrat that has fallen on tough tines and is supporting herself as a cook.

Through unfortunate circumstances, Bella is given an opportunity to cook for the Queen. She has to pretend to be someone else, Helen Barton, but that's just one hurdle she has to jump. It's very d
...more
Kathy
I’m a steadfast fan of all Rhys Bowen’s books. Her Royal Spyness series featuring Lady Georgie never disappoints and keeps me laughing at its wit and clever characters. Rhys also writes amazing stand-alone historical mystery books, four so far, that have become favorites and equally successful as her series books, being nominated for and winning multiple awards. She brings a fresh look at historical details that send this reader down rabbit holes of fascinating learning. Oh, that all history cou ...more
eyes.2c
Feb 02, 2020 rated it liked it
Taking risks!

Isabella Waverley takes a chance and like her 'not so dear' old papa used to say 'Carpe Diem'. Under false pretenses she and enters service as Helen Barton an apprentice cook for Queen Victoria. Of course nothing is smooth. Given the times, there are challenges for a woman in a man's world. Identity theft results in blackmail. What amounts to sexual harassment by a member of the upper class, and the divide of class distinctions.
A peeve for me was how Isabella kept (in her head) harp
...more
Stina
★★★★ 4.5 stars

Historical fiction is one of my favourite genres into which I can completely lose myself to the story and the era. The added bonus was the featured presence of Queen Victoria who wasn't just monarch at the time but played a role within the story itself. It lent such a unique perspective, featuring many historical aspects that were both true in fact and well researched.

Isabella Waverly had been raised to be a lady. Her father was of aristocratic blood with an uncle who was an Earl b
...more
KarenK
I received this from Netgalley.com for a review.

When her parents die, aristocrat Isabella Waverly is forced to go into service. She becomes a chef in the Queen's household and chosen to accompany the queen to Nice. Then the threat of blackmail shadows Bella to the Riviera, and a member of the queen’s retinue falls ill and dies.

I enjoyed the historical background but the story and characters were a bit unrealistic. I would put this more into a cozy read genre.

2.75☆
...more
Morgan
Feb 04, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

Unfortunately I am not a ‘foodie’ so the food parts of this book were not very interesting to me.
However, the rest of the story was most enjoyable.

Bella comes by a position as under-cook at Buckingham Palace under the most unorthodox circumstances and must assume the false identity of one Helen Barton.

In spite of her lowly status she manages to achieve some very intimate interactions with members of the royal family including Queen Victoria.

While the Queen and her family, etc., are visiting Ni
...more
Jypsy
Thank you NetGalley for a complimentary copy. I voluntarily reviewed this book. All opinions expressed are my own.

Above The Bay Of Angels
By: Rhys Bowen

*REVIEW* ☆☆☆
I enjoy historical mysteries, but Above The Bay Of Angels promised more than it delivered. Granted, the premise is unique and intriguing, but so much just felt too coincidental or too convenient. I didn't find the story believable enough to make a solid connection. It's not my favorite, but I do see the appeal for historical fiction
...more
Kathy
Sep 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
Thanks to Net Galley and Lake Union Publishing for this advanced reading copy granting me a very enjoyable reading experience. It will be published in Feb 2020.
This book paints a sad picture initially as we meet a young woman in London working below stairs for little reward plus a dollop of cruelty. Her story is a moving one as she was born to aristocracy but her father does not support his two daughters after the death of his wife since he prefers alcohol. Then he dies. Bella supports her young
...more
The Lit Bitch
Mar 21, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have been a long time fan of Rhys Bowen, especially her Royal Spyness series, but I also love many of her stand alone novels as well.

When I saw this one was coming out, I almost put it on preorder until I saw that it was going to be an Audible Escape option. As a subscriber to Audible Escape, that means I get to read any of the romances that are marked as Escape in their catalogue. This book was one of them.

I started it and was ready for it to be full of romance….I mean, it’s in the romance ca
...more
Mystica
Feb 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Another riveting read from one of my favourite authors.



Set in Victorian England in the Palace itself and then moving on to Nice this relates the story of Isabella a girl of good family, thrust by an uncaring father into service - a drudgery of the worst kind and one she is definitely not suited for. Isabella is adaptable, quick thinking and it is this that lands her the job at the palace as an undercook. It is also the reason why she can get blackmailed, having taken on the name of someone else.
...more
Randee Green
Sep 07, 2019 rated it liked it
Due to a few unfortunate twists of fate, Isabella Waverly goes from living a life of leisure as an aristocrat to working as a scullery made for a new-money family. Isabella is trying to find an escape from her new life of drudgery when she witnesses a woman being runover by a horse-drawn wagon in London. The woman – Helen Barton – was carrying an offer of employment to work as a cook in the royal kitchen. Knowing this may be her only chance, Isabella assumes Helen’s identity and is hired as a co ...more
Amye (pagesandplannersabroad)
Thank you to NetGalley and Lake Union Publishing for a chance to review this novel by Rhys Bowen. This is my honest review.
I am long time fan of Rhys Bowen. I have read and enjoyed almost all of her backlist so I was excited to see a new entry of hers in historical fiction. Above the Bay of Angels tells the tale of Isabella Waverly, a girl who was forced into being a servant because her father died. At the being of the novel, Isabella comes across an accident. A girl is dying and she stays with
...more
Bebe (Sarah) Brechner
Bowen gives her many fans such wonderful stories, and this standalone is another winner. Towards the end of the reign of Queen Victoria, near the turn of the century, Isabella, a young British woman from an educated and cultured background, has to enter hard service as a housemaid to support her irresponsible father and young sister. Isabella will have readers immediately cheering for her success and following her story avidly as she discovers an aptitude for cooking and leverages a chance encou ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Things in Jars
  • In the Shadow of Power (Sandhamn Murders, #7)
  • Laetitia Rodd and the Case of the Wandering Scholar (A Laetitia Rodd Mystery #2)
  • A Dangerous Engagement (Amory Ames #6)
  • Bound for Murder (Blue Ridge Library Mysteries #4)
  • An Almost Perfect Holiday
  • The Splendid and the Vile: A Saga of Churchill, Family, and Defiance During the Blitz
  • The Look-Alike
  • The Other Mrs.
  • The Warrior Heart Practice: A Simple Process to Transform Confusion into Clarity and Pain into Peace
  • The Winter Sisters
  • Hill Women: Finding Family and a Way Forward in the Appalachian Mountains
  • The Janes (Alice Vega, #2)
  • Westering Women
  • The Liar’s Daughter
  • The Road to Paradise (Vintage National Parks, #1)
  • The Body in the Garden (Lily Adler Mystery #1)
  • Tweet Cute
See similar books…
5,621 followers
"I'm a New York Times bestselling mystery author, winner of both Agatha and Anthony awards for my Molly Murphy mysteries, set in 1902 New York City.

I have recently published two internationally bestselling WWII novels, one of them a #1 Kindle bestseller, the other selling almost half a million copies to date.

I also write the Agatha-winning Royal Spyness series, about the British royal family in th
...more

Related Articles

  Summer Reading is sponsored by Lifetime’s Book to Screen Movies. Authors tend to be very well-read people. To help you find some...
200 likes · 63 comments
“As my dear Baroness Lehzen used to say, ‘Enough is as good as a feast.” 1 likes
“Tiny finger sandwiches, biscuits and cakes, grapes and tangerines and of course my scones with jam and cream. Mr Phelps and Jimmy came to help me as I made shortbreads, ginger biscuits from Germany that were a favourite of the queen, macaroons and lemon curd tarts. At the last minute, we prepared cucumber, egg and cress, and smoked salmon sandwiches, wrapping them immediately into damp linen napkins to keep them moist. Flasks of tea were prepared.” 1 likes
More quotes…