Remember a few weeks ago when I posted about the book The Egypt Game? I picked up another Egypt-themed book the other day and found the reading experience I had been hoping for– adventure, mystery, archaeology, the Rosetta Stone, The British Museum, London…and a tiny bit of romance. This book met my summer reading requirements! Did you know that during the late 1830s and 40s, rich people used to have parties where the entertainment involved unwrapping mummies? True! And, creepy! If there were any charms or amulets or jewelry wrapped inside the mummy, they would be given away as party favors! Check it out: http://www.history.com/videos/mummies-mummy-unwrapping-parties#mummies-mummy-unwrapping-parties
Egyptology was quite trendy, but was also becoming a serious science all of its own, especially after the Rosetta Stone was deciphered in 1822. The Rosetta Stone was the key to reading Egyptian hieroglyphics, and you can see it in the British Museum, where it has been on display since 1802. More info on the stone here: http://www.ancientegypt.co.uk/writing/rosetta.html And more info about Egypt from the British Museum: http://www.britishmuseum.org/explore/galleries/ancient_egypt/room_62-63_egyptian_mummies.aspx
Wrapped is a story about a young lady named Agnes Wilkins, who lives in London in 1815. She comes from a well-to-do family and is preparing for her “debut”, or her presentation to society as a woman now eligible for marriage. In these days, marriages were carefully arranged so that they would be a good match between families, much more like business deals to achieve security and status. Agnes’ mother has her eye set on Lord Showalter as a husband for Agnes, though he is a typical rich, show-off type. (When I read about him, I pictured Gaston from Beauty and the Beast!) Showalter has one of these mummy unwrapping parties at his mansion, and Agnes is asked to participate. When she unwraps a piece of iron in the shape of a jackal’s head, she keeps it.
Apparently this mysterious item is being hunted down by Napoleon and the French army, which sends Agnes on a mad dash around London to figure out its significance. At the British Museum, she meets a young man who is a scholar studying the Rosetta Stone. Of course, he is poor and lower class, not an appropriate match at all, so naturally like in all good romances, she develops feelings for him. Add in some extra twists and turns, and this book had my full attention!
Wrapped was fast and fun, even if it was slightly predictable. The ending was left open for possible sequels, which I would definitely read. The writing is a little more formal to reflect the timeframe of the story, but it is not difficult. Read this book if you like strong, smart female characters, mysteries, historical fiction, Egypt, or museums. Wrapped has an AR level of 5.9 and is worth 11 points.