Wrapped by Jennifer Bradbury – Advance Review

Book Jacket:

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.


Wrapped is a breezy tale of intrigue, mummies, and coded messages, with threatening louts galore. Really, who can resist that?

One of the things I most enjoyed about Wrapped is that it takes place in a Victorian England that keeps its feet firmly upon the ground. There are strange happenings and rumors of a mummy’s curse, but only to the extent that suspicion and superstition exist in our world today – and that specter of disaster, only half believed in but looming nonetheless, was delightful fun. As Jaws is a better movie for not actually showing us the shark all that much, this is a better story for not getting mired in paranormal shenanigans. It made the story feel fresh and different, all by merely keeping its feet firmly in the known world. Sometimes less really is more.

Agnes is a fun, forthright kind of leading lady (and what a great name, Agnes), but she is a bit broadly painted. Honestly all the characters in this book were rather firmly stamped – from Agnes, The Clever Girl, to her two brothers, The Brave Soldier and The Layabout Wretch, to her eventual partner in crime, The Handsome Young Egyptologist (who happens to be working on the Rosetta Stone, no less), let’s just say subtle these characters were not. I did enjoy them all, but about the time Agnes quotes A Lady (as Jane Austen was known at the time) for the fifth time (which she does, by the way, in the various foreign languages she has learned, lest we doubt her intelligence!), you just kind of have to smile and shake your head in amusement.

In much the same way, the plot of this story isn’t earth shatteringly intricate or unique, but it easily (and rather enthusiastically) hits all the right notes, with plenty of skulking and spying and lurking around back rooms of the British Museum, not to mention all the cute brainiac flirting. The story is solid, and entertaining, but it also is all around firmly recognizable and just a hair pat (the end wraps up so neatly you can almost hear the “ta-dah!”), but hey, it’s a middle grade novel, and a fun one at that.

So while Wrapped may not bowl you over, it still is an entirely pleasant, breezy read and it makes for a lovely change of pace from YA’s endless lovelorn gloom. Just turn off your critical side, sit back and enjoy the romp.

Byrt Grade: B+

As Levar Burton used to say – you don’t have to take my word for it…

Liz Czukas says:

After reading the jacket flap, I was expected paranormal. Instead, it was a delightful historical mystery and I completely enjoyed it. Agnes is an infectious main character–exactly what you want from a Victorian heroine: a little too smart for her own good, totally constrained by her society, and willing to tiptoe outside those social norms when adventure is at stake. The pace was just right, and kept me turning pages.

Bibliosaurus Text says:

Wrapped doesn’t do much to scratch the surface, and has some problem with anachronisms, but if you close your eyes to its faults and read it strictly for fun, you’ll probably enjoy it–especially if you’re a historical fiction nut.

A Myriad of Books says:

Wrapped is a quick read,  fast-paced and lighthearted and guaranteed to coax a smile or two out of most everyone.