". . . readers have the makings of a bold and daring historical adventure tale with a brave, quick-thinking heroine at its center. A good mystery for fans of the plucky heroine in Julia Golding's Cat Royal Adventures." --Booklist
"Austen fans who wish her characters would get up off their settees and risk an adventure will enjoy Bradbury's smart, feisty heroine." Kirkus Reviews
4Q 3P M J S
Bradbury, Jennifer. Wrapped. Atheneum/Simon & Schuster, 2011. 320p. $16.99. 978-1-4169-9007-9.
This is a fast-paced historical novel that engages the reader on many levels by contrasting roles of class, history, and women with modern society. In England during the Regency period, Agnes Wilkins is about to make her debut into society. But Agnes is no ordinary debutante, as she can quote Jane Austen (“A Lady”) in ten languages and help end the Napoleonic wars. Agnes is realizing the restraints of her class as she tracks down the mystery of an Egyptian standard. Though she is wooed by a gentleman of her class who invites her to an “Unwrapping,” she has feelings for Caedmon, the lackey Egyptologist. At this social event that features a mummy from Egypt, she uncovers an iron artifact with a scrap of linen that predates the mummification. The reader gets a subtle lesson in historical relativism as Agnes goes behind the scenes of the British Museum and connects this jackal head to the Rosetta Stone. The gender issues are dealt with effectively as she uses poignant Austen quotes in response to her mother’s constricting attentions to her dress and demeanor.
Though slightly different in exact years, this novel would pair well with the classic Count of Monte Cristo as “Old Boney,” Napoleon, indirectly influences both protagonists’ actions. The differences between the two novels would make an interesting comparison on political and social levels.—Ann Reddy Damon.
VOYA June 2011
"Bradbury offers a grand historical mystery with a pinch of supernatural intrigue and a hint of romance."
- SLJ June 2011
"A bold and daring historical adventure tale with a brave, quick-thinking heroine at its center."
--BOOKLIST, May 1, 2011