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.

In this interview, Angela talks about her new book, A Lady’s Guide to Marvels and Misadventure.

FF: Can you tell us a little bit about your debut novel, A Lady’s Guide to Marvels and Misadventure?
Absolutely! I’m always delighted to chat about books.

Set in the Victorian Era, my debut novel features an enemies-to-lovers romance with fun banter, marvelous clockwork inventions, lovably eccentric characters, humorous escapades, and an overarching theme of dependence on God versus reliance on self.

FF: What are you most excited for readers to experience as they pick up this delightfully fun adventure?
I’m most excited for readers to meet the sometimes outlandish, always endearing, and often hilarious characters who will accompany them on said adventure! Miss Clara Marie Stanton, with her sass and desire to care for her family. Theodore Kingsley, with his charm and desire to mend broken things. Grandfather Drosselmeyer, with his wisdom and desire to take his granddaughter on a real adventure. Mrs. Stanton, with her impish spirit and desire to advocate for the animal kingdom. I hope readers experience as much joy and laughter upon making the acquaintance of these characters as I did in writing their story.

FF: Is this story similar to Around the World in 80 Days? Where else did you draw inspiration?
Indeed, the characters in my book embark on a merry scavenger hunt across Europe inspired by Around the World in 80 Days, and in each city the characters visit, they enjoy a regional dessert inspired by the confectionary citizens of the Land of Sweets who dance to honor Clara’s bravery in The Nutcracker ballet. It was such fun to draw inspiration from these stories! I hope readers will enjoy finding the little head nods, easter eggs, and references to them I sprinkled throughout the book.

FF: What fun elements does Clara’s Grandfather Drosselmeyer present to the story?
From the moment he walks onto the page, with automaton butterflies fluttering about his wispy hair, Drosselmeyer presents a sense of wonderment. The clockwork marvels he invents are the catalyst for the plot, and the letters he leaves for Clara to find as scavenger hunt clues are truly the heart of the story. Inspired by Godfather Drosselmeyer in The Nutcracker ballet who gives a little Clara the gift of a dream, Grandfather Drosselmeyer gives the full-grown Clara in my story the gift of learning to dream again, with unburdened shoulders and uplifted gaze, dependent on an ever-present and ever-faithful God.

FF: Clara works overtime doing damage control to protect her eccentric family from the harsh opinions of London society. Given the historical context, why are the stakes so high for Clara to keep her family out of trouble?
During the Victorian Era, an accusation of insanity was not simply an affront to one’s reputation and social standing—it was a threat to one’s freedom and quite possibly their life. As illustrated in Ten Days in a Mad-House (1887), the groundbreaking work of investigative journalist Nellie Bly (1864–1922), physicians could declare people to be “positively demented” with little to no conclusive evidence and institutionalize them against their will. The poor souls thus carted off to an asylum were often greeted with unbearable conditions and treatments that can only be described as inhumane.

Bly said the following about her madhouse experience: “What, excepting torture, would produce insanity quicker than this treatment? Here is a class of women sent to be cured. I would like the expert physicians who are condemning me for my action, which has proven their ability, to take a perfectly sane and healthy woman, shut her up and make her sit from 6 a.m. until 8 p.m. on straight-back benches, do not allow her to talk or move during these hours, give her no reading and let her know nothing of the world or its doings, give her bad food and harsh treatment, and see how long it will take to make her insane. Two months would make her a mental and physical wreck.”

When Clara’s ex-fiancé begins to spread rumors that her eccentric family suffers from hereditary insanity, these are the stakes she is facing. This is the fate she’s determined to protect her dear family from at any cost.

FF: If you had to describe your “brand” to readers, what can they expect to find in your stories?
One might categorize my books as historical romance, but I like to describe them as “a cuppa Victorian whimsy” because as Anne Shirley would say, that sounds so much more poetical!

When readers step into one of my stories, they can expect to find themselves transported to the Victorian Era, most likely drinking tea somewhere in England or Europe. During tea, they’re sure to meet an eccentric character or two who will take them along on an adventure filled with marvelous inventions, clean romance, the hope of Christ, and a generous spoonful of humor.

My prayer is that the stories I write will give readers a respite from the modern-day hustle and headlines. That each book would serve as a haven, providing readers with a healthy escape between the pages and allowing them to face the rest of their day with a cheered heart and an uplifted soul.

FF: What aspect of this story did you enjoy writing the most?
Oh, the heroine’s mum and her menagerie of rescued animals were by far the most enjoyable to write! Mrs. Stanton is the one who convinced me this book needed to take itself a little less seriously and embrace the absurd, the whimsical, and the humorous. Once I let Mrs. Stanton have free rein, hilarious shenanigans not only ensued but utterly abounded!

FF: What storyline in the book do you think will appeal to readers the most and why?
I think the scavenger hunt storyline will appeal to readers like me, who’ve longed to travel, but haven’t been able to follow the whims of their wanderlust for one reason or another.

Like my heroine Clara, I’ve always been fascinated by faraway places, especially Europe, but unexpected life circumstances have prevented me from traveling as much as I’d like. As I plotted the course of Grand’s merry scavenger hunt, I specifically chose cities and landmarks I hope to see one day, and through the magic of YouTube, travel blogs, and virtual online tours, I was able to visit them in my imagination. I learned about the cultures and experienced the sights, sounds, smells, and local cuisine. Now, through Clara and Grand’s story, I hope to give readers a sensory experience that allows them to explore the world from the comfort of home.

FF: Can you share what you’re working on next?
I’m currently working on another whimsical and romantic Victorian Era tale for Bethany House, but I can’t divulge too much at present except that I’m incredibly excited about this story!

A Lady’s Guide to Marvels and Misadventure
Angela Bell
Bethany House
Genres: Romance, Historical Romance
Release Date: February 27, 2024

ISBN-10: ‎076424213X
ISBN-13: ‎978-0764242137

Book Summary:
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.


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About The Author

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, where she can be found waiting with a pot of tea and a great book.