Saturday, August 6, 2011

Book Review: Wrapped by Jennifer Bradbury

When bookworm Agnes Wilkins discovers the small iron jackal's head with a bit of linen knotted to it in the mummy's wrappings at Lord Showalter's garden party, she hides it inside her bodice only because she doesn't want to draw any more attention to herself.  Her debut into London society is only a few weeks away and she is already tired of always being on parade.  Agnes would prefer to just curl up at home with a novel.  After all, Lord Showalter did say that his guests could keep anything they found at his mummy unwrapping party, and she can always return the jackal later, when all of society isn't watching the handsome lord pay her such diligent attention.

But then Agnes is followed and stalked through Lord Showalter's gardens by a suspicious-looking waiter.  She manages to evade him and return to the party - only to have him turn up dead not long after.  Panicked party-goers instantly blame the curse of the mummy, especially when it is discovered that Lord Showalter received the wrong mummy from the British Museum.

The next morning, Agnes discovers that everyone who participated in the mummy's unwrapping has been robbed or injured overnight - everyone except her.  Agnes knows something big is unfolding, and she's pretty sure it has nothing to do with a mummy's curse.  Instead, she is quite sure that someone is looking for something that was hidden in the mummy's wrappings.  Something like the jackal's head she still doesn't quite know what to do with.

Agnes heads to the British Museum for answers, where she stumbles across Caedmon Stowe, the young, dashing, and very clever scribe who was taking notes for the museum on the night of Lord Showalter's mummy party.  Together, they discover a secret message written on the linen knotted to the jackal - a message that speaks of Napoleon, and a standard of unthinkable supernatural power.  An object that would assure Napoleon victory on the Continent, over England, and perhaps the world.

Together, Agnes and Caedmon must try to decipher ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs, avoid devious French spies, race against the clock, keep their rendezvous (to be found together would be scandalous at best and most likely destroy Agnes's reputation and all her prospects for a good match) secret - especially from Agnes's mother and Lord Showalter - and recover the standard before Napoleon's spies.  But when Agnes finds herself falling perilously close to in love with the entirely unsuitable Caedmon, will she be able to resist her own heart?

Smart, brave, feisty and daring, Agnes is an adventurous soul that you'll be cheering for as she climbs trellises, creeps through dark gardens, explores the depths of the British Museum's Egyptian collections, battles spies, unravels an international mystery, and falls in love.  For fans of The Luxe novels, The Season by Sarah MacLean, anything Egypt, Napoleonic conspiracy, and (my favorite!) the great Miss Austen's novels, Wrapped is a fun romp through Regency-era London, complete with murder, mystery, intrigue, and a dash of romance.  Check it out @ the library!

(who can't wait to dive into Texas Gothic by Rosemary Clement-Moore this weekend!)

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