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ratings:
3.5/5 (23 ratings)
Length:
289 pages
4 hours
Released:
May 24, 2011
ISBN:
9781439159026
Format:
Book

Description

An adventurous debutante refuses to settle for society’s expectations—and unleashes international intrigue (and possibly an ancient curse) along the way.

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. She sees herself wearing a pith helmet with antique dust swirling around her. She sees herself as a young Egyptologist who has arrived in Cairo on camelback.
     She sees herself dreaming. Because reality for a seventeen-year-old debutante in 1815 London does not allow for camels—or dust even. No, Agnes’s encounter with a mummy is happening on Lord Showalter’s verdant green lawn, where butlers abound and strolling sitar players strain to create an exotic “atmosphere” for the first party of the season. An unwrapping.
     And a beginning. Not just of Agnes’s debut season and the ever-shrinking scope of her future—home, husband, and high society. No, something else begins as well, because the mummy Agnes unwraps is more than a mummy: It’s a host for a secret that could unravel a new destiny—unleashing a mystery, an international intrigue—and possibly a curse.
Released:
May 24, 2011
ISBN:
9781439159026
Format:
Book

About the author

Jennifer Bradbury is the author of the middle grade novel River Runs Deep and of several critically acclaimed young adult novels, including A Moment Comes, Wrapped, and her debut, Shift—which Kirkus Reviews called “fresh, absorbing, compelling” in a starred review. Shift was picked as an ALA and a School Library Journal Best Book for Young Adults and is also on numerous state reading lists. She taught in Chandigarh, India, and teachers still in Burlington, Washington, where she lives with her family.

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Wrapped - Jennifer Bradbury

Wrapped

ALSO BY

JENNIFER BRADBURY

SHIFT

ATHENEUM BOOKS FOR YOUNG READERS * An imprint of Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing Division * 1230 Avenue of the Americas, New York, New York 10020 * www.SimonandSchuster.com * This book is a work of fiction. Any references to historical events, real people, or real locales are used fictitiously. Other names, characters, places, and incidents are products of the author’s imagination, and any resemblance to actual events or locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental. * Copyright © 2011 by Jennifer Bradbury * All rights reserved, including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. * ATHENEUM BOOKS FOR YOUNG READERS is a registered trademark of Simon & Schuster, Inc. * The Simon & Schuster Speakers Bureau can bring authors to your live event. For more information or to book an event, contact the Simon & Schuster Speakers Bureau at 1-866-248-3049 or visit our website at www.simonspeakers.com. * The text for this book is set in Minister. * Manufactured in the United States of America * First Edition * 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 * CIP data for this book is available from the Library of Congress. * ISBN 978-1-4169-9007-9 (hardcover) * ISBN 978-1-4391-5902-6 (eBook)

Acknowledgments

Thanks to Mom for all the Masterpiece Theatre, even when I pretended to think it was lame. Thanks to Jana and Katy for all the stories we loved and the ones we made up. Thanks to June for the steady diet of Elizabeth Gaskell and Jane Austen DVDs, and for being such a cheerleader. Thanks to Marissa Doyle and Regina Scott for their expertise and the warm welcome to Regency world. Thanks to Pat Taylor for introducing me to Jane Austen—Persuasion remains my favorite. Thanks to Robin Rue, for telling me the truth and for making this whole writing thing so much more fun. Thanks to Beth Miller for talking me off the ledge, and to Kiley Frank for the encouraging notes that show up with every reprint, rewrite, or editorial letter. Thanks to Angie Wright for the faithful readings (I owe you lunch forever). Thanks to the staffs of the Burlington Public Library and the Mount Vernon City Library for never minding when I request more YA titles. Thanks to Caitlyn Dlouhy, for always seeing the possibilities, and for her unerring eye in guiding me to the best version of any story. And thanks to Jimmy, for loving the book before I even wrote it, pulling me through every revision, and putting up with me. I promise there will be dancing in the next one.

To Evie June and Arun Saroj,

and all the adventures that await you both

Contents

Chapter One

Chapter Two

Chapter Three

Chapter Four

Chapter Five

Chapter Six

Chapter Seven

Chapter Eight

Chapter Nine

Chapter Ten

Chapter Eleven

Chapter Twelve

Chapter Thirteen

Chapter Fourteen

Chapter Fiffeen

Chapter Sixteen

Chapter Seventeen

Chapter Eighteen

Chapter Nineteen

Chapter Twenty

Chapter Twenty-one

Chapter Twenty-two

Chapter Twenty-three

Chapter Twenty-four

Chapter Twenty-five

Author’s Note

London

JUNE 1815

Chapter One

Put the book down, darling, my mother said from her chair beside the mirror.

The chapter’s end is only a short way off, I replied, reaching out with my other hand to flip the page. Despite the ache in my shoulder from holding the book at arm’s length so the dressmakers could work on my gown, I didn’t want to give it up.

For heaven’s sake, you’ve read it a dozen times, Mother said, rising to snatch the book from my hand. I half lunged for it, an action answered by the jabs of a dozen pins in places sensitive enough to ensure the book was lost to me for now.

It improves each time, I told her, letting my arms fall, the sensation of the blood rushing back into my fingertips too brief before the dressmaker nudged one elbow upward again.

Please, miss, the woman said, gesturing at the bodice, managing to sound even more exasperated with me than Mother had.

I lifted my arms again, posing as if I were about to take flight. According to some, I was. My debut had come, bringing with it Mother’s long-awaited opportunity to parade me about in front of all of London. The dress wrapped itself around me in tucks and folds of silk the color of cream as it stands on the top of a cup of tea, waiting to be stirred in. The trim at the neckline was exquisitely wrought in lace Mother had warned me more than once not to tell Father the price of. I’d pleaded unsuccessfully to have this particular dress made from a shimmering red sari fabric my brother had sent home to me from India. Mother was firm that red was perfectly unsuitable.

She was right, of course, as she was about most everything. She was right that this color was far more appropriate for a girl making a debut, that it would allow me to fit and stand out at the same time. I wasn’t sure I was ready to do either yet. And I was relatively certain I wasn’t prepared to step into society as Mother’s protégée. I adored my mother, but I didn’t want to be her. Not yet, anyway.

You really might at least pretend to be more diverted by all of this, she complained, turning down a corner of the page of my book before placing it on the dressing table. I fought the urge to beg her to use the scrap of lace I’d employed as a bookmark. I didn’t want creases in that particular copy of Mansfield Park. But the damage was done. And Mother was incensed enough with me already.

On the contrary, Mother, I said, balancing on my left foot just long enough to scratch the back of my right knee with my toe, I find the prospect of this evening’s entertainment so overwhelming that it helps to have something to occupy my mind.

Mother almost smiled. It does promise to be an affair. I’m sure I’ve waited long enough before agreeing to be seen at one of these events, don’t you think?

Never be the first or the last to adopt fashion, I said, echoing her words dutifully.

"But you must be the first to make an impression on our host this evening," she said, a smile beginning at the corner of her mouth. Mother had declined two earlier invitations for parties of this sort. But when this one from Lord Thomas Showalter came so fortuitously timed with my debut, Mother accepted with haste. I couldn’t blame her, exactly. Lord Showalter was exactly the kind of man she or any other eager mother wanted for her daughter. He might have been the most sought-after man in all of Hyde Park, if not all of London itself. He was charming, handsome, and rich.

I rolled my eyes, whispered, E ’una verità universalmente riconosciuta che un uomo solo in possesso di una fortuna deve essere in mancanza di una moglie.

Don’t mumble, dear, she ordered.

This time I slipped from Italian to Russian and spoke a bit louder. . I loved the way Russian insisted on tickling the back of my throat.

Agnes. Mother’s tone carried the warning for her.

I translated the line again, this time to German, so Mother might recognize it at last. Es ist eine allgemein anerkannte Wahrheit, daβ ein Junggeselle im Besitz eines schönen Vermögens nichts dringender braucht als eine Frau.

She stiffened, crossed her arms. You know how it vexes me when you show off—what man will stand for that, I wonder?

Finally, I all but shouted at her in French. C’est une vérité universellement reconnue, qu’un seul homme en possession d’une bonne fortune doit être dans le besoin d’une femme.

She took a moment, narrowing her eyes to tiny slits. It’s not enough that you must cavort about in tongues that no respectable girl has any business speaking, but you must quote those books in the bargain? Honestly, Agnes.

I smiled sweetly. I was agreeing with you, I said, or at the very least A Lady was. I looked down at the younger of the two dressmakers. "It’s from Pride and Prejudice, I said. ‘It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.’ Have you read it?"

The girl’s eyes lit up and she began to nod, but Mother cut short her reply. Of course she’s read it. Half of England has read it, which is why it’s vulgar to quote it.

Half the world has read the Bible and we quote it all the time, I teased.

I’ll pretend you didn’t just compare the scribbling of a female novelist to the words of our Lord, she said. Whatever will I do with you?

I sighed. Marry me off to a rich man before he sees how clever I am. And with me in this gown at this evening’s most romantic of events, it appears your task is half done already.

Mother sat again, placated a bit by my apparent acquiescence to her plan. The entertainment he has chosen is gruesome, but it will provide a stunning foil for your beauty.

We’d agreed that we would both politely decline actively participating this evening if pressed to do so. But Mother would not risk staying clear of the party outright. She was sure that Showalter was finally ready to seek a wife after several years in our London society and that if I weren’t there to be seen as a candidate, my chance would be lost.

I didn’t have the stomach to tell her that part of me wanted to stay here in my room and reread an A Lady novel or continue working on my Hebrew translations.

Lady Ershing told me they do this sort of thing all the time in France. But so many of the fancies out of Europe have to be weighed against good English judgment and civility, I always say, my mother mused.

They trim their gowns in red lace in Paris, ma’am, one of the seamstresses offered. Mother had brought the dressmakers here in order to preserve the secrecy of my gown. She couldn’t bear the thought of my first debut gown being copied or seen by anyone before I’d had a chance to wear it. Her paranoia knew no bounds on this score. Already she’d been favoring the shop far from Bond Street and the prying eyes of her friends and neighbors. But bringing the dressmakers to our home was extreme even for her. She’d already arranged to do the same with the final fittings for my presentation gown, but that dress was still being pieced at the shop.

Mother jabbed a finger at the girl. How dreadful. Just because the French do it doesn’t mean we should. England is her own sovereign sensible state.

And may we stay that way for eternity, God save the King and damn Napoleon! I said.

Mother’s gaze darkened. The two dressmakers pretended to be fascinated with the pleats. Take care to find a way to voice your patriotism more appropriately, my mother warned.

Yes, Mother. I sighed. But I felt the same about the mad little man across the Channel as anyone in England. Napoleon had more lives than a cat, had been the villain of the newspapers and in our household since I was a child. Before I even properly understood that he aimed for nothing less than ruling the world—and England with it—I used to spy on my brothers as they staged reenactments of the Battle of Trafalgar in the nursery.

Ten years Napoleon had haunted us. And with his most recent return from exile, the threat had gained strength anew. It was enough to make me wonder if debuting under such a shadow was at all sensible. I’d tried once to persuade Mother on this point. Her reply had been swift and certain: The very best affront we could offer the French would be to continue on with our lives as if Napoleon and his ambitions worried us not at all. Solid English tradition scoffing in the face of danger. She’d sounded as though she belonged on the floor of the House of Lords at Father’s side.

Mother seemed to read my thoughts. It is so important that you debut now, Agnes, she affirmed. It is your duty. Our duty. To David and his compatriots, that they may know we have confidence enough in them to protect us. To those of the lower classes who need to see their betters continuing with the important traditions and rites that make ours a great nation . . . and to flout Napoleon, the little cockroach!

I rolled my eyes. I can hardly see how my debut will cause old Boney to flinch, Mother.

She sat up straighter, her chin lifting. Principle, Agnes, she said gravely. It’s the principle of the matter.

"To say nothing of your principles," I teased. Mother had waited longer than she wished for my debut season to arrive. Her own season had resulted in a triumphant match with my father. I suppose I couldn’t hold it against her that she was eager for me to find such happiness.

Mother hesitated, softened a bit, and then spoke. Well, I have been very patient, haven’t I?

Mother, I’m barely seventeen! I said, falling as easily into the argument we’d been having for the last two years as I might into my own bed.

"I debuted at sixteen, she replied, on script. And married your father at seventeen. Of course custom dictates a longer engagement these days. Though I think anything longer than two years is a bit absurd. . . ."

Mother suddenly sprang to her feet and worked her way in between the two dressmakers. This pleat does not lie properly. It will not do.

You’re not so eager to marry David or Rupert off, I complained.

David is years from being a suitable husband. And Rupert . . . She paused, shook her head. Even with your father’s fortune, I do not know that he will have the same sense to marry so well.

No one could marry as well as Father, I said sweetly, even meaning it.

Mother smiled, swatted at my hand. You’re a good girl, Agnes, she said. And you’ll make an excellent wife. Though I shudder to think what kind of home you’ll keep. She nodded to the wallpaper. I still can’t account for those.

I smiled at the golden walls, flecked with shimmering pink cherry blossoms and snaky green dragons peeking through the branches. I’d begged Father to bring me something special when he’d gone as part of a delegation to Japan when I was nine or so. He’d brought the paper, telling Mother that the empress herself had it hanging on the walls of the throne room and that it was perfect for his dear princess.

The dull floral that had been on my wall since my grandmother’s time gave way.

I’m sure you’ll be at hand to advise me, I said quietly, looking about the room at the other objects that Father had brought home during his years of travel, or that David had sent from various ports while at sea. The pointy little slippers from Turkey, the delicate toy drum from the Indies, and the dozens of books in various languages, some of which I’d managed to read, others still waiting to be unlocked.

Mother looked at me. Lord Showalter’s tastes do run quite the same direction as yours.

It was true. I’d been to Showalter’s twice before, and the house was chockablock with curiosities, the bulk of which had been ferried over from Egypt. Nothing went together. Strolling through his sitting room was like rummaging through the world’s attic, so varied and odd was the collection of items he possessed and displayed. He even had a small golden idol shaped like a bird on his mantelpiece.

Perhaps you’ll even be so kind as to decorate our entire house so that I might have time to concentrate on my studies?

Mother shook her head. Education is for children. And you’ve already had far more than your share. I let your father keep finding those language tutors for you, but there comes a time when every girl must step out of the schoolroom and into the life that awaits her. She held my eye. And that time for you is come at last!

At this, the seamstresses stepped away and looked to Mother. She circled round me, studying every stitch and hem and pleat and ruffle and fall of fabric.

Very good, she said finally.

I looked at myself in the mirror. Still a girl in a lovely dress, my auburn hair pinned back, waiting for Clarisse to do with it what only she could.

But what that girl in the mirror felt surprised me. I’d spent months arguing with Mother about allowing me to continue my studies, pleading with Father to convince her to delay my debut. And yet, in this dress . . .

I looked beautiful. How odd a sensation. Mother was beautiful. I was not. And yet in the dress I looked like a girl ready to make her debut, a girl who belonged at a party, or a coronation or something important. And then an even odder shiver ran through me: I wanted to see what could happen at parties and dinners for a girl dressed like I was. At least it would be something new, possibly exciting, even if it was a quick step into the rest of my life.

Suddenly all of me couldn’t wait to wear this dress tonight.

Mother must have noticed the change.

You wear it well, she said.

And for once I could not argue.

Chapter Two

That night we found ourselves in a corner of Lord Showalter’s gardens, four houses east of our own residence. Summer cottons and silks billowed on the warm breeze as a few dozen guests glided across a lawn so perfectly trimmed I was almost sorry to walk on it. Nervous whispers rippled through the crowd around me as we followed our host through an ivy-covered archway and onto a broad stone patio. A hedge of oily torches spat plumes of smoke, beckoning us closer to the object we’d all been invited to see. Amid the ring of firelight sat a table draped in scarlet velvet.

A mummy lay upon it.

Lord Showalter, resplendent in a waistcoat of blue the color of the night sky above us, opened his arms as we crowded onto the pavers. It was clear he could sense the same unease and curiosity that ran through us all, though he seemed to relish it, letting the silence build as he surveyed our faces.

His eyes landed on me, seemed to hold there a bit longer, and I was reminded of how Mother and half the women of the Park described him. Magnetic. Showalter could hold an entire room in his gaze at once but still make each person feel as if he or she were its most important occupant. Mother explained it was a gift, the talent of a natural-born host and leader, the type of man who inspired loyalty and ardor in equal measure.

But I was a girl in a beautiful dress, a girl capable enough of giving back as good as she got. I nodded, smiled demurely, and held his stare.

His eyes never strayed from mine as he smiled mysteriously, then asked, Who will be the first to dare upset our Egyptian guest on his journey through the underworld? He looked at each of us, even though I was quite sure he’d determined who’d be first even before sending out the invitations. But I wasn’t expecting what he said next.

"Agnes Wilkins! You must take the first pass," Showalter boomed, beckoning me forward.

Me? I asked in alarm. Whispers rippled through the crowd.

My boldness of a moment before retreated as I flushed. Showalter was showing me some preference.

Of course, he said. In honor of your pending debut, Miss Wilkins.

I waited for Mother to intervene, to tell Showalter that I couldn’t possibly—we’d agreed—but the expression she wore when I glanced her way told me I was on my own. Had Showalter’s choice outweighed all her opinions about how lurid this affair was? Was the whim of a would-be suitor already overriding her principles? Finding no help in Mother, I looked back to Showalter. He was waiting, his stare so loaded with expectation that I found myself taken aback again. Was I imagining that there was an invitation to more lurking beneath that sly grin?

Finally I found my voice. Your kindness is most generous, but I could not presume—

I insist, he said, taking my elbow and steering me to the foot of the mummy. I could imagine the eyebrows rising behind me and felt my throat tighten. I expected Mother was by now beaming triumphantly, scheming about how best to announce an engagement that

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What people think about Wrapped

3.5
23 ratings / 21 Reviews
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  • (5/5)
    The Little BookwormThis was a fun book. At first I thought it was going to paranormal for some reason, but then it ended up being a mystery which is even better! Agnes is definitely a different sort of girl. Not content with doing only girl appropriate things, she has learned 10 languages and is fairly genius. But this doesn't stop her family from trying to get her settled into a nice marriage, something Agnes is not set on entirely. Then at an unwrapping party (a party where the guests unwrapped a mummy and find treasures hidden in the cloth (yes a real mummy)), Agnes finds a metal disc with a jackal's head on it and she ends up keeping it instead of returning it. This one action leads her into the kind of adventure that she has dreamed of. I enjoyed the fact that Agnes was so smart and that she wants to defy convention. I liked how her relationship with Caedmon plays out and how they are more equals than anything. The Egyptian mystery was also interesting, involving mummies and the Rosetta Stone as well as Napoleon as the action of this story takes place after he escapes from Elba. I got a real sense of the time period and how people in England thought at that time as well as a really fun adventure mystery.
  • (3/5)
    This was a cute story about an adventurous girl that wants more out of her life than just being betrothed and finds a mystery that can give her what she wants. Agnes is invited to a party where the main activity will be unrobing a mummy. The bandages will be taken off and the guests will basically get to play treasure hunt and keep whatever they uncover on the corpse. She finds a little statue that sends her off on an adventure and with the help of Caedmon she discovers her knack for solving crimes. It’s a bit too cutesy for my liking. Everything wrapped up in a nice and neat bow- no pun intended. Agnes was really childish and I thought she was about 14 or 15 until I had to remind myself that she wasn’t. Even though this was suggested to me as a fun YA mystery novel I would put this more towards a middle grade mystery. It wasn’t that hard to figure out who the message was intended for and if it weren’t for Agnes being stubborn and naïve she would have figured it out before I did but then again there would have been no novel.
  • (2/5)
    This was the first book I picked up after a loooong reading hiatus (for me at least) and it was a book I had been wanting to read when I first heard about it I think back in December. Unfotunately I wasn't entirely thrilled with it. I do however believe that this fulfills my YA History Challenge, so Yay!

    Agnes is about to come out into society. Her first event of the season is a mummy unwrapping and she is singled out to participate by her neighbor(eligable bachelor) Lord Showalter. The unwrapping leads to Agnes' search for an Ancient Egyptian Standard with Caedmon, a museum employee that she feels herself falling for. All of this takes place with a backdrop of Napoleon's escape from the Isle of Elba.

    So I really wanted to like this book. Unfortunately it didn't really work out for me. My problem was Agnes, she just felt very very young for a lot of the book. Much too young to be as smart as she was and to be handling things so well. Her mental dialogue and her actions just didn't feel like they were on the same page. For the most part her actions were grown up enough for the seriousness of the mystery with the occaisional lapse to a teenagers frustrated and occaisionally irrational behavior, and this felt appropriate. But the way Agnes would go on and on just felt childish and after a while it just made the book frustrating and boring.

    Until I got to the almost end. That part of the novel was action packed enough that I didn't concentrate on Agnes' mental dialogue so much and I just wanted to find out what was going to happen next. I definitely figured out who had dunnit about half way through the book but I still wanted to see how Agnes and Caedmon would find out about it.

    Then the very end felt like a sudden jump where all was calm again. It's open for a sequel or several but I'm not sure that I want to read it. My frustrations with Agnes lasted three quarters of the way through the book.
  • (4/5)
    Agnes Wilkins is a normal seventeen year old debutante. At her first social event, an Egyptian mummy is displayed, and the guests are allowed to takes turns making cuts. Whatever they find, they are allowed to keep. The host later finds out that the mummy was actually a very important find, and the guests must return whatever they found. Only Agnes doesn't. Afterwards, Agnes goes to the British Museum on a trip with her mother and host, and she meets someone new. Caedmon Stowe. Agnes and Caedmon are interested in the same things, and they become befriended, trying to find out a mystery. The two figure out things about the French and Egyptian runes and they go through a series of hardships that put them in danger. Near the end, they find out that the one person that no one would suspect was actually a spy. Caedmon and Agnes must fight him, and try to save themselves. The spy's, or Agnes's host, Lord Showalter, gun malfunctions, and neither of them are injured. The day is saved, and Agnes is appointed into a detective into Britain's agency.I rated this book four stars because Agnes is the heroine that everyone admires, and I really like that character. Agnes Wilkins is the average debutante waiting to marry, but she actually is quite intelligent, and doesn't care to marry. Even through all the difficult things, she stays until the very end. One thing I don't really understand, however, is the ending. Agnes gets appointed, but seeing what time period that was, I don't really think that was realistic. Another thing is that I find it hard to believe that one would go into sudden outbursts in different languages quoting Jane Austen. But overall, Wrapped is a quite enjoyable book, and I would recommend it.
  • (2/5)
    This is in the category of historical fiction which really didn’t work for me. I was willing to suspend my disbelief up to a certain point, but when the heroine is able to speak something like seven languages, including Greek and Russian, my suspension snaps. Actually, I’ll just link you to the Book Smugglers’ review, which said everything I wanted to. [June 2011]
  • (3/5)
    This looks fun! I hope its easier to read than my last book!

    Full Review to be posted soon:

    Despite a slow start it was a fun book with a delightful heroine. I hope there will be more because I thought the book really got going at end.
  • (4/5)
    In 1815, a young woman on the verge of her debut to London society attends the mummy-unwrapping party of an extremely eligible bachelor. She finds something she isn't supposed to, and ends up in the middle of a vast conspiracy that could affect all of Europe.Not particularly original, but very good. The ending, especially.
  • (4/5)
    I really, really enjoyed Wrapped. I honestly didn't expect to and mostly just wanted to read it due to that rather gorgeous cover. I was pleasantly surprised when I found Agnes to be smart, witty and a bit of a romantic.

    Bradbury threw in everything I could possibly want: Myths! Curses! Strict Social Rules (that are meant to be DEFIED)! Intrigue! It just was beginning-to-end lovely. An enjoyable read that was romantic and edge-of-your-seat brilliant.

    I'm not sure if there's going to be a sequel to this guy. Honestly, I would love for it to be a series, assuming each installment had the same amount of humor and historical information. The Adventures of Agnes and [Name Removed Due to Spoilers]. Sounds like a winner to me.

    Just a great historical novel, set amongst posh parties and dingy museum corners, with the threat of Napoleon always churning in the background.
  • (2/5)
    Set in 1815, this historical mystery has a dash of Egyptology and one strong heroine. Unfortunately, the plot is entirely too predictable and important events are all just a bit too convenient for my taste. This is a quick read for anyone who is only looking to skim the surface of a story. Anyone looking for a historical mystery with more depth would be better off reading Prisoners in the Palace by Michaela MacColl or the Amelia Peabody series by Elizabeth Peters.
  • (3/5)
    Due to copy and paste, formatting has been lost.For whatever reason, Wrapped didn't really work for me. It was entertaining and all, but I didn't really love it. The mystery was overly predictable (I had it all figured out within a few chapters), and the action parts were just too convenient for my taste. They never really have to work hard to figure it out, you know?It was just...too easy. (That's the second time I've had this complaint in a month. O.O) I mean, overall it was enjoyable. It really was! But I just can't get over the ease for whatever reason. On another note, I did like the scattered bits of mythology, and the era that this was set in. I have so much love for historical novels!!Agnes was really down to earth, even when she's seeing conspiracies in everything, and jumping at every little noise. She managed to be a take-charge, kick-butt kind of gal in a time where everyone was just kind of placid, and I can't applaud her enough for that! Yay for risktakers!! Also, Agnes commentary on everyone was a lot of fun to read. (: (Did I mention that she reads?? Books!! Yay!!)Overall (wow, this is a short review. o.O), Wrapped was a fun novel, even if things fell into place a little too easy.
  • (3/5)
    Agnes Wilkins is just a girl preparing to make her debut in London in 1815. But when she attends a mummy unwrapping party at the home of her neighbour, Lord Showalter, (the most eligible bachelor in town who is disconcertingly interested in Agnes) she finds an object in the mummy that sets a series of events in motion that will leave Agnes acting in ways entirely inappropriate for a proper young lady. Particularly when she meets a young, aspiring Egyptologist named Caedmon during her adventures...A fun and slightly fluffy YA historical novel, Wrapped definitely has its appeals. Agnes is a charming central character although she has some decidedly teen moments that had me rolling my eyes. The central mystery is also pretty enjoyable although the resolution left me feeling less than surprised and disappointed that the characters didn't catch on earlier. The historical element could go either way for readers. If you expect strict adherence to 19th century social mores, this book isn't for you. However, if you're willing to overlook some of the more liberal elements, the historical period is conjured quite well. My biggest complaint is that, while I adore Jane Austen, Agnes' habit of translating lines from her novels into other languages when nervous is a bit too much for me. Perfectly enjoyable but not amazing.
  • (3/5)
    When I was little, I went through a serious phase of loving all things ancient Egypt, which grew into a Victorian detective novel love when I hit my teens. This book combines two of my greatest nostalgic loves so of course I had to pick it up! Overall, I was pleased with “Wrapped” and enjoyed it, but I didn’t love it.

    The greatest strength of “Wrapped” lies in Agnes, its witty, independent and imaginative heroine. She falls into the typical heroine trope traps but is executed with a certain flair I found rather charming, and also manages to have several moments of surprising complexity I didn’t expect in what is essentially a light-hearted romp. For a novel with this sort of story, I think you need a heroine like Agnes, and she was what kept me reading throughout the occasional drops in pace. There was one thing about her that frustrated me and that was her frequent references to A Lady, the pen-name for Jane Austen. Agnes is a smart girl with a love of books, which I appreciated and related to, but her constant references to Austen began to grate on me very quickly. The other characters didn’t quite have the same impact on me and felt very stock, but they got the job done.

    There really isn’t much for me to say about “Wrapped” because it’s a simple, light-hearted romp that one shouldn’t take too seriously. There dialogue is often anachronistic, some of the history doesn’t quite add up and the mystery at the centre of the story is pretty predictable, but it’s all very readable, often highly enjoyable and a good way to waste a few hours, which is in no way a criticism. I had fun reading about the Egyptian myths and rituals, It’s not going to break any boundaries or set a standard in historical YA, but it is a good fluffy read. I think younger YA readers may enjoy it more than I did.

    3/5.
  • (4/5)
    Agnes Wilkins is about to make her debut in 1815 London, and has already caught the eye of her eligible-bachelor neighbor, Lord Showalter. After an invitation to a mummy unwrapping party, where she steals an item from the mummy, she's thrust into a mystery involving ancient Egyptian history and its potential impact on the war with Napoleon Bonaparte. Along the way she discovers that perhaps her life isn't quite as laid out for her as she'd always assumed.I enjoyed reading Agnes' story. I found her to be a fun narrator who wasn't afraid to buck tradition (sometimes a tad TOO much), and loved the adventures she and Caedmon go on while they try to solve the mystery of the item she pocketed during the party. However, she definitely had her flaws as well, which made her seem a bit self-absorbed and clueless when it came down to it. She was so sure of her convictions and was unable to believe she might be wrong. Also, the author's idea of using her to talk about the appropriation and showing of ancient artifacts wasn't appropriate for the time period; it was the one thing about Agnes that bothered me, because I just can't see anyone from that time saying the things she was saying. But that's really my only major complaint.Truthfully, Agnes reminded me of Y.S. Lee's Mary Quinn, in terms of the very nontraditional ways they went about solving their particular mysteries. (And Caedmon could very well be compared to James; this is not a knock on anyone or meant to raise any eyebrows, though, as I feel like I'm more familiar with the similarities because I've read the first Mary Quinn book quite recently.) This book, while full of actual historical details, ignores some others in a way that might annoy some people (especially when it comes to Agnes sneaking around without her chaperone), but I was able to overlook them and just enjoy the story. And I kind of loved that Agnes was such a complete and utter Jane Austen (or A Lady) fan; her spouting of Austen quotes at inappropriate times was kind of endearing.All in all this was a decent mystery (although I'd guessed the villain well before the reveal), but I enjoyed it more for the coming of age-type story, and the romance, which was a reverse Jane Austen, if you will.
  • (5/5)
    I am absolutely in love with this book! Agnes is such a wonderfully smart and witty heroine. I had no problems attaching myself to her plight and waiting in suspense to see how her life would turn out. I definitely appreciated that although living in 1815, she wasn't dumbed down. She knew how to read and speak 10 LANGUAGES!!! Plus Caedmon was her perfect match, he treated her like and equal - he's even compared by her to Mr. Darcy when she first sees him at a ball she attends. Mr. Showalter is the perfect competition for Caedmon in that he's (seemingly) nice but not for Agnes. I also love the Egyptology mystery, the hieroglyphic difficulties with the Rosetta Stone and the rather startling conclusion of the novel. It incorporates the war with Napoleon Bonaparte rather skillfully whereas most novels of the time period of such a nature usually ignore or glance over the subject. Also, I loved that Agnes was such a fervent admirer of Jane Austen's novels. She was definitely as spirited, if not more so, than many an Austen heroine. Ms. Bradbury is a very exceptional author and I look forward quite a lot to reading more from her in the hopefully near future!
  • (2/5)
    First of all- the cover is BEAUTIFUL. That is what originally drew me to this book- I can't say enough about how much I love this book. And the premise- sounds so much fun! I rarely get to read about books that have to do with Egypt and the story sounded like it could be a big winner.But sadly, that is where the trouble began. Perhaps my expectations were to high. I didn't like this book. In fact- I almost returned it to the library without finishing it. It was almost as if I was reading an "abridged" version of Wrapped. The book felt so rushed, I never really got involved with the characters. And I found the main romance completely unbelievable.I will say- the bright spot of this book was in the villan (who will remain nameless for spoiler purposes). The author wrote the villan well and developed that character very nicely.All in all, very disappointing. If I were to give this book stars- I would only give it a 2/ 5.
  • (5/5)
    This, right here, is the type of book I want to write when I grow up.With a seamless mesh of humor, authentic historical facts and adventure, Bradbury weaves the story of Agnes Wilkins, a young girl living in the heart of the Regency Period (one of my loves that I could not help but squeal when I realized Ms. Bradbury loves it just as well), obsessed with Jane Austen novels - though at the time they were penned by "A Lady" - and, at the very moment in which the story begins, standing with a knife in preparation to cut into a mummy.Not in the sweltering heat and dusty lands of Egypt, mind you. Right at home in jolly old England, at the party of a certain Lord Showalter who may or may not be interested in making Agnes his next acquisition, and under the eyes of a suspicious young man who might or might not be a spy.And then, right after Agnes guiltily ferrets away a particular find in her foot of wrapping - a small amulet that doesn't seem that valuable - a murder is announced.And British society will never be the same.Agnes is an endearing and strong heroine with a habit of translating A Lady quotes into other languages when she gets agitated - an unusual find in the recent deluge of Bella Swan knock-offs and boy-obsessed Juliets, and something which made me even more enraptured with the tale.And of course, there's Caedon Stowe, museum apprentice, daring sidekick and a scholar of all that is ancient and decrepit. Don't you just admire a smart boy?
  • (4/5)
    I really enjoyed the character of Agnes. She is so strong and feisty. She is not your average girl in this time of the book. Everything about her is so different that you are drawn to her. She makes the story much more interesting with her fiery attitude.The plot is something I think that could have been played with a lot more. It was good, but at times I got bored with it. I love the whole research of mummies and Egypt. I Love the the searching for secrets, revealing even things that are going on then in the book was a great adventure to go on. I just love it, when I can search along with the characters and gather clue by clue.I loved the way the love interest was played out. I love it when characters fall in love in the mist of the adventures. I love it even more when they madden each other. It makes their love stronger and funny to watch. I like that issues touching their social status back then. They avoided each other because of that, but clearly you can see that they are meant to be.Wrapped is funny, cute, adventurous book. The historical references in it will keep you fascinated till the very end. The characters are engaging and very out there, especially Agnes, you got to love her!
  • (4/5)
    A delightful Regency romp for young teens!
  • (3/5)
    Agnes Wilkins is a debutante in 1815 London but she doesn’t real care about hair, and dresses, and getting married. She wants adventure and she wants to see the world. She loves to read, and she loves to learn. Agnes is the complete opposite of what you would think is an 1815 lady, and for this she was an awesome protagonist! I loved that she stuck up for herself and wasn’t afraid to speak her mind to the men in her life.Agnes and her family are invited to an “unwrapping” (An unwrapping is where the upper class basically buys a mummy and unwraps it, many times finding jewels and other Egyptian artifacts-Who knew they did this??) at Lord Showalter’s estate. When Agnes is asked to be one of the first unwrappers, she finds an artifact and decides to steal it. Turns out that artifact will lead her on the biggest adventure of her life.Wrapped was a good novel, but I think it is intended more for middle school graders, and for them this novel is perfect. There’s adventure, history, and a little romance. The ending was absolutely perfect! Best ending I could have hoped for!P.S. I love the cover! The design team did an amazing job with it!Wrapped will be released on May 24, 2011.
  • (4/5)
    I'm not overly fond of historical fiction, but I keep stumbling onto these books. Bradbury's novel is set in England during the war with Napoleon. While the story seems kind of cliche (intrigue, mummies, arranged marriages (sort of) and falling in love with someone out of your class), Bradbury manages to work her way around these issues without resorting to those cliches. Agnes is a fun main character, she's strong and smart (which I love in YA novels) and she understands that she has to make hard choices. One of things I liked best about Wrapped is that Bradbury manages to tie everything up neatly in the end, without making it seem too neat.
  • (4/5)
    . Wrapped is set in London during Napoleon's 100 days, and our heroine is Agnes a debutant. I liked Agnes, the book is told from her point of view and you can tell she's very smart and different from the girls her age in this period of time. Agnes brains help her navigate through this mystery and I have to say I was very impressed. Caedmon, the love interest and Agnes side kick is also very likeable, I love how the author wrote their partnership. All, in all, I liked the characters, I disliked the characters I was supposed to dislike. The book is detailed enough that you get a sense of the era, but not so much that you will feel like you're reading your history book.It is kind of predictable who the villain is, and there is the cliche of the villain revealing and explaining all his/her evil master plan and works at the end. However, I found myself enjoying the guessing game and continued reading the book, I wasn't bored at all, I just kept reading to make sure I was right! Aren't those books the most fun to read? At the same time I got to learn some very interesting facts about Egyptology and the Napoleon era, who knew that it was all the rage in London to have mummy unwrapping parties? I didn't.I'd recommend this book to those that liked the Gemma Doyle Trilogy by Libba Bray. Agnes and Gemma would hit it off quite well.