A quirky and dashing romantic adventure... A Lady's Guide to Marvels and Misadventure by Angela Bell (Review) #bhpfiction #romancebooks #newbooks #booktwitter #histfic #inspirationalfiction #aladysguidetomarvelsandmisadventure #AuthorAngelaBell @bethany_house @austenprose

Welcome to my tour stop! This was such a fun read! Find my full review below...

A Lady's Guide to Marvels and Misadventure
By Angela Bell
Christian Historical Romance, Steampunk
Hardcover, Paperback, Audiobook & eBook, 384 Pages
February 27, 2024 by Bethany House Publishers 


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

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My Review

A LADY'S GUIDE TO MARVELS AND MISADVENTURE was a roller-coaster ride of fun and adventure! It's about a quirky family, a damsel who is trying not to be in distress, and the hero who just might finally find redemption and a home. What ensues is an adventure that brings danger, hearts to be changed, and romance.

I really enjoyed getting to know these characters. Clara gave up her dreams and childish wonder after finding out the man she was going to marry really only wanted her family's money. I respected her determination to keep her family safe and weather the societal scorn. She was intelligent, loyal, and sweet with a heart that she was trying to protect. Theodore lost his family and the life he'd known when things went terribly for him in the war and he came back home without his leg to a father who only showed scorn and would not forgive the loss of his wife. Clara doesn't trust Theodore, but when her grandfather leaves and they work together to follow his tracks she finds out that he isn't who she supposed her was at all. They both have challenges but they do it over time as they journey, which provides an opportunity for love to blossom between them even amidst Clara's mothers antics and danger.

I also enjoyed the overall plot of the story. It was a fun idea to have a clock-maker grandfather who also created a flying owl that he then takes on a journey. I liked how Clara and Theodore were thrown together. I also liked the redeeming story of Theodore and his change of heart as well as Clara coming to her own realization in regards to her faith. The romance slowly built and was sweet. The faith element was definitely strong, but didn't feel pushy. The suspense caused by a desperate villain also was well done.

This story did have a few things that didn't quite work for me. One was that the eccentricities of some of the characters were too eccentric, to the point that they became a detriment to their own family. Then there was the suspension of belief in there always being animals and a woman reacting so strongly about things. That was mixed with a lack of understanding or wisdom by the characters who refused to even contemplate the repercussions of their choices or the lengths someone who was desperate would go to. It was unrealistic. There also were these steampunk aspects but they were only in regards to a few things instead of it being more widespread in the storybook world, which also seemed a bit odd. I wanted the world to be more immersive and fully drawn. I also felt like some of the characters were flat, such as Clara's father who seemed to pretty much be a character in name only. I would have liked more development.

In the end, was it what I wished for? This honestly was a charming inspirational romance. I loved the steampunk elements, the delightful characters, and the sweet romance. If you enjoy stories in this genre and quirky characters, then this is a book to definitely read.

Content: Clean
Source: I received a complimentary copy from the publisher through Austenprose PR, which did not require a positive review. All opinions are my own.

Does this sound like a book you'd enjoy? What was the last steampunk book you read?

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