Wrapped by Jennifer Bradbury
Atheneum, May 2011
Book Source: Public Library
Agnes Wilkins is standing in front of an Egyptian mummy, about to make the first cut into the wrappings, about to unlock ancient (and not-so-ancient) history.
Maybe you think this girl is wearing a pith helmet with antique dust swirling around her.
Maybe you think she is a young Egyptologist who has arrived in Cairo on camelback.
Maybe she would like to think that too. Agnes Wilkins dreams of adventures that reach beyond the garden walls, but reality for a seventeen-year-old debutante in 1815 London does not allow for camels—or dust, even. No, Agnes can only see a mummy when she is wearing a new silk gown and standing on the verdant lawns of Lord Showalter’s estate, with chaperones fussing about and strolling sitar players straining to create an exotic “atmosphere” for the first party of the season. An unwrapping.
This is the start of it all, Agnes’s debut season, the pretty girl parade that offers only ever-shrinking options: home, husband, and high society. It’s also the start of something else, because the mummy Agnes unwraps isn’t just a mummy. It’s a host for a secret that could unravel a new destiny—unleashing mystery, an international intrigue, and possibly a curse in the bargain.
Get wrapped up in the adventure . . . but keep your wits about you, dear Agnes.
-- Summary from GoodReads.com
Judging by the cover...: Though not the best drawing I've ever seen on a cover, it's certainly not the worst, and the mummy is pretty creepy. It gets a seal of approval, but not by much.
- ANCIENT EGYPT - That's right, it's so awesome it gets all caps.
- The British Museum - When the Pandorica was found at Stone Henge, it was taken to the most fabulous place in all of Great Britain. Or maybe that was an episode of Doctor Who. Regardless, everything cool is housed in the British Museum, and one day I will go there and marvel at all of the historical greatness housed in its four walls.
- Jane Austen - I'll admit that I've never ever read any of Austen's books. But, the discussion about A. Lady confused me, and thus prompted me to do some research on the famous Jane. What a fantastic woman!
Wrapped had so much promise, and the summary had me thinking, "I must read this tonight." Sadly, the predictability of the plot and the forced natures of every character (they all fit in to a stereotype), turned the book into a train wreck of a mystery. I had every thing figured out within the first few chapters and was not at all surprised by any of the revelations at the end. This might be because I have read entirely too many mysteries, but I highly doubt it.
It was, however, very refreshing to find that Agnes reflected what a lot of women feel: the need to dress up and look gorgeous AND to be fiercely independent and adventurous. Too often the heroine of the story just wants to either be invisible or the wildest child on the block, neither embracing the more reasonable of society's standards.
Recommendation: Those readers who are looking for a fast read with plots typical of romance and mystery novels will enjoy this book. Reluctant readers will appreciate the quick pace, and can use the book as a jumping off point for more sophisticated mysteries. It's also very appropriate for those readers looking to bridge the gap between juvenile and young adult books.
Similar Reads: Prisoners in the Palace by Michaela MacColl for lovers of historical mysteries (see my review here), the Amelia Peabody Emerson series by Elizabeth Peters for historical mystery and Ancient Egypt lovers, or the Jade del Cameron series by Suzanne Arruda for historical mysteries about a fiercely independent woman.