Beth's Reviews > Wrapped

Wrapped by Jennifer Bradbury
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's review
May 22, 11

bookshelves: sunshy-read, netgalley, kindle
Recommended for: Lovers of Philip Pullman's Sally Lockhart series
Read from May 21 to 22, 2011

Review copy received from Simon and Schuster’s GalleyGrab

I was initially drawn to Wrapped by the cover (drawn, get it? Oh… ok…) – it’s definitely eye-catching and different from other titles I’ve seen on bookshelves (or Amazon) recently! Girl i beautiful dress, oriental-styled wallpaper, and… a mummy? Nice. Intriguing. Definitely something worth picking up, in my opinion.

Happily, this did prove to be the case. Agnes Wilkins is a good heroine; she has the scholarly “I can learn it if I try!” attitude of Jane Eyre, the “You’re a man, yes, but hah – I am a woman and my speech will prove just how good a thing that is!” bearing of Lizzy Bennet, and something else quite her own that I can’t put my finger on. In other words, Agnes is very believable as a 17 year-old debutante in the London of 1815: she might not be the typical debutante, with her 10 languages (slightly excessive, even for the most accomplished young lady!) and largely uncontrollable hair, but she seems true enough to what readers of Jane Austen and the Bronte sisters will expect and enjoy in a heroine.

The historical accuracy is mentioned in Jennifer’s author’s note – and she makes a good case for the slight liberties taken. I’m by no means a history buff when it comes to the early 19th century (nor, actually, to any one of the Egyptian dynasties!) but perhaps my love of history (550AD-1550AD) did speed me through the pages! The British Museum, Egyptian curses, Napoleon and Wellington waging tidal warfare, spies, and debutante dress-fittings mix together seamlessly in this page-turner.

Recommendation: If you’ve read and loved Philip Pullman’s Sally Lockhart mysteries, then this may be right up your street. My feeling is that the intended audience for Wrapped in younger (it’s more chaste than Pride and Prejudice – no Wickham-esque cad whisks unsuspecting ladies to London or Ramsgate!) but the enterprising quick-wittedness of posh-but-sensible Sally and poor-but-clever Jim mirrors the relationship between Agnes and Caedmon marvellously!

Rating: 4/5

Sidenote – I loved the use of the name Caedmon just for making me think of the Anglo-Saxon poet! Not enough YA books end up with me nodding sagely about Old English poetry. Also, the mere mention of using knitting needles as deadly weapons always delights me slightly too much as an idea!
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Reading Progress

05/21/2011 page 6
2.0% "Agnes' mother on Jane Austen - "I'll pretend you didn't just compare the scribbling of a female novelist to the words of our Lord," she said."

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