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Above the Bay of Angels

A Novel
Narrated by: Gemma Dawson
Length: 10 hrs and 8 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (118 ratings)
This title is included in Audible Escape

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Publisher's Summary

"...Sweeping and intimate, warm and gripping. I loved it!" (Louise Penny, number-one New York Times best-selling author of the Chief Inspector Gamache novels)

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 best-selling 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 of employment in the kitchens of Buckingham Palace, and everything the budding young chef desperately wants: an escape from the constrictions of her life as a lowly servant. In the stranger’s stead, Bella can spread her wings. 

Arriving as Helen Barton from Yorkshire, she pursues her passion for creating culinary delights, served to the delighted Queen Victoria herself. Best of all, she’s been chosen to accompany the queen to Nice. What fortune! Until the threat of blackmail shadows Bella to the Riviera, and a member of the queen’s retinue falls ill and dies. 

Having prepared the royal guest’s last meal, Bella is suspected of the poisonous crime. An investigation is sure to follow. Her charade will be over. And her new life will come crashing down - if it doesn’t send her to the gallows.

©2020 Janet Quin-Harkin, writing as Rhys Bowen (P)2020 Audible, Inc.

Editor's Pick

Seizing the day
"Known for her wildly popular Royal Spyness series—a favorite of those of us Audible Editors who love a good cozy mystery—Rhys Bowen delivers a standalone novel that has everything you’d expect and more. Above the Bay of Angels is a turn-of-the-century story about palace intrigue, starring a bright young woman who, despite losing her noble status, maintains a fighting spirit in pursuit of her passion in life. For Bella Waverly, that hunger is for cooking. On her path to independence, lies unravel, blackmail is committed, and assassination attempts are made in her midst. Interspersed are hints of a sweet culinary romance. The narration by Gemma Dawson is the icing atop this delightful listen."—Valerie B., Audible Editor

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Sweet easy story

Easy listen; not to complex but sweet. My first book by this author. The murder plot comes so far at the end of the book it felt somewhat out of place.

4 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

It felt a little rushed

I have enjoyed almost all of Bowen's books. This one was just OK. It felt like She pumped it out. I enjoyed the characters who were well developed but the murder plot seemed Out of place. I think it would have been a better book without it.

3 people found this helpful

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Enjoyed this book!

A well-rounded and interesting story of a young English woman with a secret. I enjoyed hearing about the Queen’s kitchen through the eyes of this character. If you’re a fan of Ms. Bowen’s stand-alone novels, you’ll enjoy this one as well!

1 person found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Not bad.

I read all of Rhys Bowen’s books. This stand-alone is light and comfy. Nothing too heavy at all. The progression of Bella/Helen through the kitchen of Queen Victoria is rapid and unknown for a woman in that time frame.

Blackmail, murder, and food make for a fun story. I was just waiting for a connection to Georgie, Darcy, or Belinda to pop up.

1 person found this helpful

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Nothing drew me in or held my attention

Had to throw this one back. For me it was uninteresting. I was unable to connect with any characters. The storyline was dull and lifeless, imo, as were the characters.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Ruth Potter
  • 02-15-20

An Extraordinary Tale

I loved this inventive story set toward the end of Queen Victoria's reign. The main character Bella struggled against the usual adverse conditions met by single women who wish to work with accomplishment, with admirable ability to stand up for herself. Brilliant ending!