Author: Jennifer Bradbury
Published: May 24, 2011
Genre: YA, Hist-Fic
Source: S&S Galley Grab
This is Agnes Wilkins’ debut season and already she’s attracting the attention of one of England’s most eligible and desirable men: Lord Showalter. He’s been quite forward about his intentions and Agnes finds this at once thrilling and terrifying. He is handsome and wealthy and has this quirky interest in helping England amass the world’s finest collection of Egyptian artifacts. It could be a good match—but everything Agnes knows about courtship and high society romance comes from A. Lady novels, and it seems to be a rule that men who are too good to be true are usually hiding something.
But, what Showalter is hiding is not crumbling finances or boarish behavior. He is deceiving the whole British Empire. He is spy working for Napoleon, his orders smuggled into London in Egyptian artifacts—like the one Agnes pockets while at a mummy unwrapping party at Showalter’s home. Her innocent interest in this trinket (and childish need to keep it) jump starts a chain of events that bring out dangerous characters, dangerous circumstances, and the biggest danger of all—true love.
Agnes is ready to enter society. It's 1815, and it's time for her to enjoy (and entertain) her first season of eligibility, which means she will have every opportunity to find a suitable husband with good intentions, wealth and interests. Lord Showalter is one such man, and he's got his eye on Agnes. When he invites her to a mummy-unrapping party, she accepts, sending her on a whirlwind adventure of lies, deceit and even the fate of England at Napoloeon's hand. Will she be able to stop the thievery and lies while maintaining her good name as a proper lady?
I don't read too much historical fiction. That's not to say I don't love historical fiction, it's just that I don't find too many that really break the mold. Wrapped has a great premise, and it's definitely one that I've never heard before, which intrigued me. Promising a plot full of twists and turns, as well as a lovable heroine, author Jennifer Bradbury has set up an adventure-filled novel that somehow manages to combine history and mummies into a cohesive and fun story.
Wrapped definitely didn't disappoint when it came to the main character. Agnes was seriously witty, and definitely more than what met the eye. She kept me guessing, and her little anecdotes added a touch of lighthearted hilarity to the story. Lord Showalter, though not nearly as deep, was a good character that perfectly Agnes's personality. I will, however, say that if you're looking for complete accuracy in the historical parts of the book, Wrapped won't meet your standards. The time period, though great for the story, wasn't entirely historically accurate. I will also say that, at times, I felt like the Jane Austen references within Wrapped were a bit too cluttered. That said, the tone throughout the book was fun, enjoyable and intriguing, so despite the somewhat obvious villain, the tone won out.
All in all, Wrapped is a fun read. It's not deep, and there was no real message hidden in multiple layers, but the plot was a nice, quick and simple read for me. I give it a strong 3.5 out of 5, and I'd recommend it to all fans of YA, especially those who enjoy lighthearted chick-lit and historical fiction.