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.
Maybe you think this girl is wearing a pith helmet with antique dust swirling around her.
Maybe you think she is a young Egyptologist who has arrived in Cairo on camelback.
Maybe she would like to think that too. Agnes Wilkins dreams of adventures that reach beyond the garden walls, but reality for a seventeen-year-old debutante in 1815 London does not allow for camels—or dust, even. No, Agnes can only see a mummy when she is wearing a new silk gown and standing on the verdant lawns of Lord Showalter’s estate, with chaperones fussing about and strolling sitar players straining to create an exotic “atmosphere” for the first party of the season. An unwrapping.
This is the start of it all, Agnes’s debut season, the pretty girl parade that offers only ever-shrinking options: home, husband, and high society. It’s also the start of something else, because the mummy Agnes unwraps isn’t just a mummy. It’s a host for a secret that could unravel a new destiny—unleashing mystery, an international intrigue, and possibly a curse in the bargain.
Get wrapped up in the adventure . . . but keep your wits about you, dear Agnes. (Publisher's summary from Good reads)
Regency England, mummies, and Napoleon, Wrapped by Jennifer Bradbury has is all. Add to this a wonderful narration by Elissa Steele, whose voice readily captures Agnes Wilkin's personality and allows listeners to become part of the action, suspense and romance, and what you have is a delightfully entertaining mystery that will have you begging for more and wondering why you hadn't read this book sooner.
There is just so much to love about Wrapped it's hard to know just where to start. First, I guess I should say that I am now a huge fan of the Regency era. I love the manners, the dress, and Bradbury does a fantastic job bringing it all to life. Agnes is on the cusp of her debut, and in the thralls of the romantic works of fiction by A Lady aka. Jane Austin. While Agnes understands that customs require her to come out in society for the express purpose of finding a suitable husband, she dreams of adventure and true love.
The plot revolves around Agnes finding they key to a missing standard that has mystical powers to raise armies of the dead, something Napoleon wants very badly. With the help of Cateman, a museum worker fascinated with Egyptian artifact and the Rosetta Stone, the two uncover a dangerous conspiracy to help Napoleon gain access to this frightening weapon. As they unscramble the puzzle they grow closer despite the differences in their stations. I loved how Bradbury kept the reader entangled not only in the mystery, but the growing romantic feelings between Agnes and Cateman, knowing even before Agnes that her attachment to Cateman was more than just platonic. The ending although neatly tied, was quite satisfying and left the door open for more adventures featuring Agnes and Cateman.
For fans of the Regency era, well crafted mysteries, and romance, Wrapped is an excellent read that will leave you wanting more. And if you are looking for a new audio book then I highly recommend you give this one a listen.