Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Wrapped by Jennifer Bradbury

Wrapped by Jennifer Bradbury
Series: Wrapped #1 (book 2 supposedly out in 2017)
Genre: Historical/Mystery
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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.

The pharaohs were merely kings who got salted and wrapped after they died. They weren't superhuman. They couldn't curse us from beyond the grave, could they?

Sometimes a book starts off a little slow, but then it builds into something you adore. That's this book for me. It didn't capture my attention right from the start, but it's a wonderful little story about a young girl that's bored with the thought of being a debutant and marrying a man she doesn't love.

So when the opportunity to solve a little mystery presents itself, she jumps on it with both feet.

"I need no rescuer," I said evenly, "but I do need your help."

I like Agnes. It didn't take me long to, especially once I realized what kind of character she is. She's not 'spunky' or 'spirited'. She's quiet, doesn't like to be the center of attention and would really, really rather be reading. (Something I can certainly relate to.) But she desperately want's adventure, wants passion, wants to live her life to the fullest without being shoved into the neat, tidy 'wife of an important man' cubicle.

Maybe Mother and Rupert were right: A Lady had poisoned me. Perhaps what I really needed was a kind, simple fellow - a Bingley - rather than one who incensed me to passion or anger by turns like Mr. Darcy had Elizabeth.

There is some romance in the story and while it's not the main focus, it is quite wonderful. And even though the two are so perfect for each other, they don't get distracted. They have a 'mission' and they both do a very good job of pushing feelings aside to get it done. What's even more wonderful is that they are partners. Neither one takes the lead in the case and they each have specific strengths - strengths that, for both of them, tend a little more toward the brains than the brawn.

The other characters are a lot of fun, too. While most of them don't get a lot of time, there weren't any that aggravated me. I do really, really want a story about Rupert, Agnes' eldest brother because what little I saw of him, I quite like him. What's also nice is how Agnes spends at least some time around her family and they do get along. (At least as well as families usually do.) And, honestly, Agnes has one of the best fathers that I think I've ever seen in a book - especially a historical.

Could it really be a curse? Could the awakened spirit of an Egyptian king be exacting vengeance for our disrespectful curiosity?

There's a dash of the paranormal mixed in with all the sleuthing - because that's what this story is. Behind the Egyptian history and mythology (which was wonderful, I might add) and the adventures and the spy shenanigans - this is a mystery.

"It means," Caedmon said gently, "that the pharaoh who carried it could resurrect an army of the dead to fight alongside his living soldiers."

My one and only complaint about this book was that I figured out the answer to the mystery long before the end of the book. While the journey to get there was a lot of fun, the answer was almost painfully obvious. If you need twists and turns in your books, this isn't the one of you, but if you're looking for some likable characters and a fun little diversion, I'd highly recommend this book.