Book Review (and a Giveaway!): A Lady’s Guide to Marvels and Misadventure by Angela Bell

Posted February 26, 2024 by meezcarrie in Angela Bell, Book Review, Christian, giveaway, historical, romance / 15 Comments


A Lady's Guide to Marvels and Misadventure book review

A Lady's Guide to Marvels and Misadventure by Angela BellA LADY’S GUIDE TO MARVELS AND MISADVENTURE by Angela Bell
GENRE: Historical/Victorian Romance (Christian)
PUBLISHER: Bethany House
RELEASE DATE: February 27, 2024
PAGES: 379

Miss Clara Marie Stanton’s family may be eccentric, but they certainly aren’t insane.

London, England, 1860
When Clara’s ex-fiancé begins to spread rumors that her family suffers from hereditary insanity, it’s all she can do to protect them from his desperate schemes, society’s prejudice, and a lifetime in an asylum. Then Clara’s Grandfather Drosselmeyer brings on an apprentice with a mechanical leg, and all pretense of normalcy takes wing.

Theodore Kingsley, a shame-chased vagabond haunted by the war, wants a fresh start far from Kingsley Court and the disappointed father who declared him dead. Upon returning to England, Theodore meets clockmaker Drosselmeyer, who hires him as an apprentice, much to Clara’s dismay. When Drosselmeyer spontaneously disappears in his secret flying owl machine, he leaves behind a note for Clara, beseeching her to make her dreams of adventure a reality by joining him on a merry scavenger hunt across Europe. Together, Clara and Theodore set off to follow Drosselmeyer’s trail of clues, but they will have to stay one step ahead of a villain who wants the flying machine for himself–at any cost.

“Utterly charming! What an original and adorable story. Angela Bell’s debut is a book I can, without hesitation, highly recommend.”–JEN TURANO, USA Today bestselling author

“Bell’s voice will draw you immediately into her world, and her characters will hold you there. A must-read!”–ROSEANNA M. WHITE, Christy Award-winning author


“My dear Miss Stanton, I’d much rather be absurd with you than normal with anyone else.”

What a refreshingly unique novel!

I absolutely adored Clara’s Grandfather, the endearing clockmaker with an affinity for constructing intricate machines and automatons, including a flying conveyance in the likeness of an owl. These play a significant role in the story, and I loved every minute of this subplot. While my own grandfather was not a clockmaker, he did have an affection for inventing gadgets and gizmos and I felt an instant connection to Clara’s Grand. I also loved his loving, kind heart and his ready friendship with Theodore/Arthur – another character I immediately liked. He’s a different sort of romantic hero at first glance… and yet ultimately he’s perhaps one of the most heroic I’ve met on the page in a while. And though Clara would certainly disagree with me for a good chunk of the book, he’s also exactly the sort of hero – and friend – that she needs.

“What-ifs are not acquainted with what-is, and they spread horrid falsehoods about what will-be, so why bother entertaining them?”

Clara had to grow on me, to be honest, though it’s probably because we’re more alike than I’d care to admit. Both of us have a tendency to shoulder anxious burdens we were never intended to carry, and both of us are reluctant to believe anyone can bear those burdens better than we can. Her early treatment of Theodore is pretty harsh, but I understand the fear driving it and I really enjoyed watching her begin to warm up to him on their shared journey. The author also does a wonderful job of showing in Clara’s words, actions, and concerns how much she loves her quirky family, including her endearingly-and-exasperatingly eccentric mother who would make my hair fall out overnight from stress, I suspect. Don’t get me wrong – I loved Mrs. Stanton but if I’d had to go around the world with her and an ever-increasing menagerie of misfit creatures I might very well end up in those asylums Clara is trying to keep her family out of. Haha!

Bottom Line: A Lady’s Guide to Marvels and Misadventure by Angela Bell is such a delightfully unexpected historical romance! With its eccentric characters (of the 2 and 4 legged variety), steampunk vibes, Victorian time period, European scavenger hunt, sweet romance, dash of danger, meaningful themes, and nods to The Nutcracker, Around the World in 80 Days, and even Heidi, it entertains as well as inspires. The reminder that we are in God’s hands, that He wants to bear our burdens, that He wants us to enjoy life and all that He has created – including love – touched my heart more than once over the course of the novel. I laughed, I swooned, I nearly pulled out my hair… and I enjoyed it all! A great choice for fans of Jen Turano, Jules Verne, and Morgan L. Busse!

(I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the publisher. In the interest of full disclosure, the company for which I freelance as a blog/review tour coordinator was hired to promote this book with a social media tour at a later date, with which I had no involvement. All views expressed are only my honest opinion.)

My Rating: 4 stars / loved it!

KissingBook Level: 3 / may forget to breathe on occasion

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Angela Bell

Angela Bell is a twenty-first-century lady with nineteenth-century sensibilities. She resides in Texas with her charming pup, Mr. Bingley Crosby. One might categorize her books as historical romance, but Angela likes to describe them as a cuppa Victorian whimsy because it sounds so much more poetical. Whenever you need a respite from the modern-day hustle, you’re welcome to visit her parlor at AuthorAngelaBell.com, where she can be found waiting with a pot of tea and a great book.

Angela Bell interview


A Lady's Guide to Marvels and Misadventure giveaway

Bethany House is offering a print copy of A Lady’s Guide to Marvels and Misadventure by Angela Bell to one of my readers! (US only. Void where prohibited by law or logistics.) This giveaway is subject to Reading Is My SuperPower’s giveaway policies which can be found here. Enter via the Rafflecopter form below.

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