Above the Bay of Angels by Rhys Bowen

Carpe Diem, her father always said, and that’s exactly what aspiring cook Isabella Waverly does.  While comforting a young accident victim in her dying moments, Isabella finds an invitation to become an under cook at the palace of Queen Victoria.  It’s an opportunity not to be missed for this young orphan currently in service to the miserable Tilly family of St. John’s Wood.  Gathering up her courage, she goes to the palace under the guise of Helen Barton, the accident victim, and wins the coveted position of under cook.  With this position comes much grueling work but it also opens the world to Isabella, now known as Helen, as she learns royal cooking skills, fends off a blackmailer, travels with the Queen’s entourage to France and of course, solves a mystery along the way.  A delightful stand alone from the prolific Rhys Bowen. — Susan Conner