Friday, October 4, 2013
by Jennifer Bradbury
Agnes Wilkins, from London, is really not looking forward toward her Presentation. Instead of being interested in dresses and curls, she wants to discover Egyptian artifacts and travel the world. While looking forward to being a little more independent, she's not sure if she is ready to marry, especially to the very promising bachelor. After receiving not just an invitation to his mummy unwrapping, but place of honor as on of the first to slice at the bandages, she is feeling the pressure of his attention.
Then things start happening at the mummy party. As Agnes is unwrapping the mummy, she finds something interesting: an artifact with a hidden note. But when the host admits to a mistake and asks for all artifacts to be returned, she tucks it into her bodice, hiding it and taking it home.
This simple act envelops Agnes in intrigue, history and politics. From secret messages sent from Napoleon's army to spies hiding in London to mythical artifacts with rumored powers, Agnes is drawn into the middle of it. Can she decode the message in time to save the world from being conquered?
First of all, I like that the author put a note in the back about the "historical accuracy" of the book. While most of the book had roots in history, Bradbury took liberties with certain things. She mixed trends or events several time periods together, because it works for the story. With a book like this, that historical accuracy doesn't matter, I'm fine with it. In fact, as long as the book doesn't claim to be fact, I'm fine with authors changing or rearranging history to suit their needs. Makes life fun!
Anyways, I enjoyed this book, and had fun with it. I liked the Victorian London setting, the supernatural bend, plus the strong willed woman element. Made for a fun story, interesting scenarios, and fun times. This would be a great step before Jane Austen, or other romances or Victorian based novels. Another good stepping stone book would be A Spy in the House by Y. S. Lee.
Although I enjoyed this book, there were a few things that could have been improved. Agnes, while different than the "normal" girl of the age, was still a little flat and didn't really change very much. A fun little story, but not necessarily tons of depth.
Overall, fun book if you just want something light and not completely historically accurate. I enjoyed it a lot, and would be a good stepping stone between levels. Another book with a tie to mythology, this time Egyptian. Good book, I liked it a lot!