Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Wrapped by Jennifer Bradbury YP FIC BRADBURY

Agnes Wilkins is seventeen years old and not ready for her debut into society (even though her mother is). She is well educated and well read, which makes her feel like she does not really fit into the mold that her mother wants her to fill (making a good match for marriage and running a household), and she dreams of taking trips over to Europe and Egypt, in order to give all of the languages she has learned a try.

The story begins when Agnes is invited, along with the rest of the families in her neighborhood, to an "Unwrapping Party" in Lord Showalter's garden. The guests are there to "unwrap" a mummy from Egypt. At this party, Agnes spots a strange man following her, who is later found murdered. She also keeps an artifact from the mummy. This artifact, which she takes to the British Museum, is far more important than she could ever imagine.

When asking about the artifact, Agnes meets Caedmon Stowe, a young man really interested in Egyptian artifacts and hieroglyphics. The two figure out that the artifact is not Egyptian, but that it is a secret message intended for a French spy with loyalties to Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte. It turns out that Napoleon is looking for an Egyptian artifact that will mean a lot to his efforts of taking over Europe. The two decide that they need to find the artifact first, to keep it out of Napoleon's (and the French spies' hands). All throughout the excitement of French spies and powerful artifacts, Agnes knows that she enjoys the company of Caedmon much more than that of Lord Showalter, although Lord Showalter is the best match she could ever hope to make. Agnes does understand the futility of prefering Caedmon to Lord Showalter, though. Caedmon is the son of a soldier, and Agnes is the daughter of a lord, who holds a place in the House of Lords. You'll have to read it yourself to see if Agnes and Caedmon end up foiling the Emperor's scheme and facing the issues of their stations to make a relationship work.

Unfortunately, the description of the book is very vague. It hints at mummies and murder. At the heart of the book, though, the main theme is how one fits into their world (even if it is 1815 and England). You do get to learn about Egypt, the Rosetta Stone, and how the British looked at Egypt and mummies, too. You also get to see how people received Jane Austen's books (or should we say, A Lady, as she went by when they were first published). The author does a great job of describing these things without taking anything away from the storyline. I really enjoyed this story all the way through, although I wish the book jacket had had a better desciption of what was in the story. This story was recommended by a friend, or I might never have picked it up. That would have been a huge mistake. Jennifer Bradbury does a great job setting up the story, and she really makes you like Agnes, although with my interest in British history, I also knew what tough issues Agnes was going to face being the way she was. Bradbury does not cover up the difficulties that the characters would face to make the story happier, though, which I really admired. A smashingly good success!!

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