Book Review: Above the Bay of Angels by Rhys Bowen

Looking for your next read? Check out Above the Bay of Angels by Rhys Bowen, reviewed by Fulco Library staff, Anne A.

In this late Victorian era novel, aristocratic Isabella “Bella” Waverly is forced to work as a servant to support her younger sister and her alcoholic father. She discovers she has an aptitude for cooking and slowly works her way up to an under-cook. After witnessing an unfortunate accident involving a young woman and omnibus, Bella comforts the dying woman and accepts a letter from her. Later, Bella discovers the letter is an invitation to interview for a kitchen position at Buckingham Palace. She gets the job and assumes the woman’s identity. At the palace her delightful desserts capture the fancy of Queen Victoria. When the Queen decides to spend the winter in Nice, France, Bella is selected to go. Things continue to go smoothly for Bella until a member of the royal party is poisoned and dies. Bella served him his last meal; therefore, she is suspected of the crime. It’s up to her to solve the mystery and exonerate herself before her true identity is discovered.

This light historical novel is a fun escape from reality and makes a great summer read. If you are looking for a serious mystery, this story is not it. The mystery does not even occur until the very end of the story. Some readers might feel parts are too contrived or coincidental. However, if you love reading about the Victorian era, and you are a Downton Abby fan; this book will charm you. The author does an excellent job of describing the delicious dishes Bella cooks, and she creates many memorable characters.

Above the Bay of Angels is available to be placed on hold and checked out at any open library. Borrow this wonderful story about a young woman searching for her place in the constrictive society of the Victorian world.

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Above the Bay of Angels

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