Seventeen-year-old Agnes Wilkins is invited to a mummy unwrapping at the house of the dashing Lord Showalter just days before her official debut into Society. Agnes is dubious about the process of unwrapping mummies - it seems rather disrespectful and a bit ghoulish. But when Lord Showalter singles her out to unwrap the mummy in question, right in front of everyone at his elegant party, Agnes feels pressured to comply with his wishes. When she ends up with an artifact, unnoticed by the rest of the guests, she hides it rather than be the unwelcome center of everyone's attention once again. After all, it can't be very important, as it has no jewels or anything. But when a series of robberies occurs in the wake of the party, Agnes realizes that the little metal dog she has might be more than it seems. She teams up with Caedmon, an infuriating but handsome young man from the British Museum, and together they discover a plot that is as far reaching as it is dangerous.
This is a fun Victorian romp with mystery, romance, suspense, and a dash of humor to spice things up. While the novel appears to be targeted toward teenagers, I think that it's perfectly suitable for younger readers as well. I particularly enjoyed Agnes's relationship with her father, which reminded me a bit of Elizabeth Bennett's relationship with her father. That resemblance may not be an accident, as Agnes is utterly obsessed with Jane Austen (to whom she refers as "A Lady," the pseudonym Austen used at the time). While I found the ease with which Agnes goes haring off on her own at night to spend time alone with Caedmon in the British Museum, risking ruining her reputation, to be a bit unbelievable, I did appreciate her independence of mind. Teens who enjoyed the Theodosia books when they were younger will be sure to enjoy reading about Agnes' adventures, as will fans of period romances and historical mysteries.
Wrapped by Jennifer Bradbury; narrated by Elissa Steele (Listening Library, 2011)