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Above the Bay of Angels

4.14  ·  Rating details ·  4,122 ratings  ·  462 reviews
A single twist of fate puts a servant girl to work in Queen Victorias 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 Bellas hand. Its an offer of
Hardcover, 348 pages
Published February 11th 2020 by Lake Union Publishing
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Elizabeth Sloa Cimiez, where most of the book is set, is perched high above Nice. The curve of the bay in which Nice is situated is known le Baie des Anges. The Bay…moreCimiez, where most of the book is set, is perched high above Nice. The curve of the bay in which Nice is situated is known le Baie des Anges. The Bay of Angels(less)

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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
Dec 07, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 5000-2019
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
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
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
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 Bellas life and fortunes changed. Her new position was working in Queen Victorias kitchen her new name Helen Barton.

She enjoyed her work and the camaraderie with the other members of the royal kitchen; she told no
Kylie H
Dec 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
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
Sep 18, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley2019
#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 Victorias 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 in
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
Louise Wilson
Feb 13, 2020 rated it really liked it
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 ...more
Dec 12, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned, 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
Jan 14, 2020 rated it liked it
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
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
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 ...more
Susan Johnson
Feb 09, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Randi Annie Framnes
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 womans identity, gets her job as under-cook at Buckingham Palace and gets to be on the queens 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
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)
Karen Kay
I received this from 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 queens 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.

Feb 04, 2020 rated it really liked it

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 Nice
Mar 16, 2020 rated it liked it
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
DNF I'm having rotten luck with books
Sep 29, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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, its in the romance
Feb 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
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.
Randee Green
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 Helens identity and is hired as a cook ...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
Bebe (Sarah) Brechner
Sep 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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 ...more
marita lazarus
Dec 20, 2019 rated it liked it
Thank you NetGalley and the publisher Lake Union Publishing

I'm saddened to say that this book was not one of my favorites of any Rhys Bowen book. To me it was tedious to get into, and I found myself skipping forward to get to the plot of the book - the actual murder.

I've read all the Rhys Bowen Royal Spyness books, and know that she leaves the actual murder, many times towards the late middle or closer to the ending, as she builds up the characters, but with this book, the murder takes place
Dec 02, 2019 rated it it was ok
Thank you to NetGalley and Lake Union Publishing for a chance to review this novel by Rhys Bowen. I'm sorry to say I was very disappointed in this novel. It was very slow - very little even happened until 75% of the was through the book. I enjoyed the chance to read the book, but did not enjoy the outlandish story. Bella/Helen just was so very childish and unrealistic. It was very nearly a DNF for me.
Im a steadfast fan of all Rhys Bowens 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 could ...more
Rating: 3.5 rounded up to 4 solid stars

This is another good solid Historical Fiction book from the talented Rhys Bowen. There is even a mystery thrown into the story to sweeten the pot. The book opens in London, England toward the end of the reign of Queen Victoria in the late 1800s. We meet our hero Bella Waverly, whose semi-aristocratic family fell on hard times. Due that fall, her father sent her into service at 15-years-old in order to support him and her younger sister.

From there we see
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"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

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