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At the Sign of the Sugared Plum (Sign of the Sugared Plum #1)

3.89  ·  Rating Details ·  2,452 Ratings  ·  217 Reviews
It is 1665 and Hannah is full of excitement at the prospect of her first trip to London. She is going to help her sister, Sarah, in her candy shop, 'The Sugared Plum'. But Hannah does not get the welcoming reception she expected from her sister, because the Plague is taking hold of London. However, Hannah is determined to stay and together the two young women face the wors ...more
Paperback, 176 pages
Published October 14th 2005 by Bloomsbury USA Childrens (first published January 1st 2003)
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Sophie Keighley Yeah, the book is based on history, around the time of the plague, I wont give too much away. However it is a lovely read whether you're way into…moreYeah, the book is based on history, around the time of the plague, I wont give too much away. However it is a lovely read whether you're way into history or not. I defiantly say to give it a go! (less)
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Community Reviews

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Dawn (& Ron)
Feb 22, 2012 Dawn (& Ron) rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: not royal HF, the Great Plague, time of Charles II
Recommended to Dawn (& Ron) by: Lisa Vegan
This book was recommended to me late last year by Lisa. My first thoughts were someone wrote a YA book about the Great Plague and made it interesting! It just seemed a difficult match to me, to make such a bleak subject work for this genre. It could easily turn into an anachronistic tale of a 21st century lass who flits into 17th century London to view events. So my interest immediately piqued, I had to see how this would be treated and made palatable for younger readers, be able to hold my atte ...more
Lisa Vegan
Nov 12, 2008 Lisa Vegan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: those who like historical fiction, plague stories, stories about sisters
Recommended to Lisa by: Krista the Krazy Kataloguer
I do love plague stories, and historical fiction stories, and coming of age stories, and I’m interested in the history of medicine, and there was quite a bit of all of those in this novel. I was particularly intrigued with the plague remedies and theories of the time.

There were particularly good descriptions of what London was like at the time (1665) and what the plague must have been like. I gradually grew to care deeply for the characters. Reading about the human suffering was palpable and hea
...more
Krista the Krazy Kataloguer
Excellent historical novel about two sisters who struggle to survive the Great Plague of London in 1665. The author took her research from first-hand accounts, vividly bringing out the details of life and death at that time. The two sisters were candy makers, creating their confections from flowers and herbs, the details of which I found fascinating. Recipes for making some of these candies is included in the back of the book. This story is the first I've read by Mary Hooper, and it leaves me an ...more
Terri Lynn
Jan 11, 2012 Terri Lynn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In June of 1665, teenaged Hannah is delighted to finally be going to London to live with her older sister Sarah who owns and runs a sweets shop The Sugared Plum. She wants to live in the city and throw away the country lifestyle that bored her in exchange for the excitement of keeping up with the latest fashions, attending her first play, and finding an interesting man to spend time with.

Sarah is horrified when she arrives. She had sent a note to her that Hannah never received warning her of th
...more
Ginny Messina
Wonderful historical novel for kids. Two sisters earn their living making confections in London as the Bubonic Plague of 1665 descends on the city. Great historical detail. You really can't beat the Bubonic Plague when it comes to fascinating disasters, and this story was especially good. The ending left an opening for a sequel, I thought. (I hope!)
Brett
Aug 02, 2011 Brett rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book did an absolutely fantastic job of capturing the sights, sounds, & smells of plague-ridden London in 1665, as well as the feelings of overwhelming fear, helplessness, & despair it caused in the citizens. In this way it reminded me a great deal of Laurie Halse Anderson's "Fever, 1793", as well as the great protagonist. Hannah is so excited to be leaving her sleepy village for the bustle of London, where she has always dreamed of going. Arriving at the shop where her sister lives ...more
Rebecca
Apr 01, 2009 Rebecca rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Teenaged Hannah has lived all her life in the English countryside, so she is thrilled when, in the summer of 1665, her older sister Sarah invites her to come live with her in London and help her at her candy shop. However, arriving in London she finds Sarah had sent a second letter instructing her not to come. Plague has taken hold in London, and Sarah fears for Hannah's life. Hannah insists on staying, believing she will be safe. But to her horror, in the coming weeks more and more people die, ...more
Josephine
Jan 14, 2016 Josephine rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a beautifully written book aimed at teens or young adults but just as informative for the adult reader. The subject of the great plague of London is sensitively covered without leaving out the horrors suffered by the people and the awful fear of those living in the city at the time. Seeing it all from the perspective of Hannah, a young girl from the country who has just arrived in London impatient to see all the wonders of the great city. It is such a shock for Hannah and her sister Sar ...more
Kristy
Feb 13, 2012 Kristy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Hannah is a young girl from the country, ready to live it up in the big city. The city is London & the year is 1665. Hannah doesn't know it yet, but her time in the big city is going to be filled with misery, because the plague has just begun claiming victims.

I can't say I know too much about the plague, and I'm sure that the authors descriptions although sometimes graphic, were no where near as horrible as the sights people of that era actually took it. I found the book one part education
...more
Kruemi
Jul 28, 2012 Kruemi rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I learned more about the fashion in 1665 than I ever wanted to know and almost gave up when the 5oth (at least it felt that much) dress was described. The story itself was pretty meagre and predictable - so what was it that kept me reading? Just the historical facts and because I like to read about London, no matter the century. But if I want to read about how an epidemic spreads and how it affects human nature I will always prefer The Plague by Albert Camus (not that you can compare both books ...more
Nicola
I really liked this one. It follows the story of a young girl, Hannah, who moves to London in 1665, just as the plague is taking hold of the city. Hannah and her sister Sarah are both fun and witty characters with a close relationship. They were easy to relate to and easy to care about. The book itself was compelling and the whole time I was very eager to find out how things would end. The book is also obviously very well researched which added to my enjoyment and appreciation of it.
Heather
This was an interesting story which takes the reader back to London in 1665 where the plague is rampant. We watch Hannah change from a carefree, frivolous girl excited to be in the big city to that of a young woman troubled by nightmares of the real horror around her. At times the plot is a little thin, but it is still definitely worth the read.
Jae
Aug 25, 2016 Jae rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult
Mary Hooper describes the horrors of 17th century plague-ridden London. Through the eyes of a naive young country girl newly arrived in the city, we experience the growing sense of fear and dread as increasing numbers of people succumb to the terrifying disease.

At the back of the book are a few recipes for sweetmeats that were available in at that time.
Jo Barton
Oct 16, 2009 Jo Barton rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Set against the time of the great plague in London in 1665, this is a wonderfully atmospheric story of how the disease spread and left ordinary lives devastated and destroyed.I especially liked the characters of Hannah and her sister, Sarah.The story leaves you wanting more, so looking forward to the next book in the series.
Hallie
Read for Reading History in Children's Books, and useful for that, but not something I particularly enjoyed.
Kristen
May 01, 2012 Kristen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
loved this! written for young adults, but doesn't seem juvenile.
Donna
Jan 05, 2017 Donna rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult
Hannah and her sister watch the Plague strike London as they work at their confectioner's shop.

Good thing: Hannah seemed realistic - her concerns were for fashions and a special boy right up until she realizes how Plague-struck the city is.

Bad thing: It's an easy read but nothing new or that I want to share with friends.

A fairly short, easy-to-understand novel of what living through the London Plague must have been like. I won't be reading the sequel.
Barbara
Jan 13, 2013 Barbara rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
At the Sign of the Sugared Plum by Mary Hooper is a story of a young woman, Hannah, in an unusual setting: London in the time of the plague. She comes from her home in the country to London, to work with her sister Sarah in her confectionery shop. Unfortunately, Hannah arrives in London just as reports are starting to surface about people becoming ill and dying of the plague. The story weaves in friendships with a girl from Hannah’s hometown, Abigail, as well as a new friend, Tom, who works for ...more
Robin
May 21, 2014 Robin rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
First I have to say: what a fabulous title!

The historical and geographical descriptions in this book were outstanding. Late 17th Century Plague-ridden London, as the common people experienced it, was felt/seen/smelled/watched/navigated with authenticity and that was such a treat, as I have long had an interest in those things. Even with the bit of knowledge I possess already, I learned so many new things about what life was like for people who lived through that.

The story-telling was also compe
...more
Annika
Apr 21, 2013 Annika rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Hannah kommt nach London, als dort gerade die Pest ausbricht, um ihrer Schwester in deren Laden zu helfen. Trotz der Bedrohung durch die totbringende Krankheit will das junge Mädchen London nicht verlassen. Hannah sieht die Pest zunächst als Abenteuer, welches das Leben um einiges spannender macht, als es zu Hause auf dem Land gewesen ist. Und schließlich ist sie ja auch jung und gesund, ihr und ihrer Schwester wird schon nichts passieren.

Hannah muss bald einsehen, dass die Pest kein Abenteuer i
...more
Bine
Mar 10, 2013 Bine rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ich mochte das Buch sehr!
Es hat alles, was ich mag. Es spielt in London, es ist historisch super recherchiert und es gibt eine Liebesgeschichte, die aber nicht allzu kitschig ist und nicht im Vordergrund steht. Für mich ist es eindeutig ein Mädchenbuch, ich denke nicht, dass Jungs damit etwas anfangen könnten, weil es eben aus der Sicht eines sehr romantischen jungen Mädchens geschrieben ist, dass auch noch etwas naiv ist, allerdings nicht allzu störend. Ich war als junges Mädchen nicht anders.
B
...more
Shanna Gonzalez
May 24, 2009 Shanna Gonzalez rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: children-08-12
Hannah and Sarah are teenaged entrepreneurs, sisters running a shop in 1665 London wherein they make sugar-frosted rose petals and other sweetmeats for the nobility. Hannah, who has recently joined her sister, is excited at the prospect of a big-city life and complacently dismisses rumors that the Bubonic Plague is reawakening in London. By the time she realizes her optimism is unfounded, the city is quarantined and she watches in horror as neighbors succumb, one by one, to the mysterious sickne ...more
Lulufrances
Actual rating 3.5
My aunt bought me this book yeeeeeaaars ago (2006 to be precise) when we went to the Globe Museum Shop in London.
I do not know why it has remained unread til now, that's insane, especially as it has less then 200 pages.
Must have always slipped my eyes somehow, skinny-minny thing that it is.
ANyway.
I finally finally read it!
And it was a really good solid read.
I think I would have enjoyed it even more eight years ago, because then I read all sorts of ya historical fiction set in th
...more
Vickie Ramage
Dec 06, 2011 Vickie Ramage rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
At the Sign of the Sugared Plum is a very quick read about a young girl's experiences in London, during the Plague. It's told in the usual Mary Hooper fashion, a lot of attention to detail with a very rich, vivid storyline and a very likeable heroine.

Hannah did annoy me at first because she was a very stereotypical, 'fresh from the country' girl, she's very naive and the only things on her mind are getting rid of her freckles and the latest fashions. However, after seeing all the horrors of the
...more
buchergeblaetter
Sep 24, 2015 buchergeblaetter rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
There are some points I really loved about this book, but there are also certain aspects I wasn't entirely happy with.
To start with the negative aspects I just couldn't help myself but not like Hannah. She was just too selfish and vain. There was a point when I just coudln't stand her talking about her freckles and curly hair anymore. Or like the scene when she says. " Oh I am not sure if putting a flower behind your ear will keep the plague away, but it looks really good so I better do the sam
...more
Mel
Oct 04, 2011 Mel rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya, historical, london
This is the second book in two weeks I’ve read set in the 1600s and I have to confess this is the book that most vividly invokes the period. Mary Hooper is celebrated for her historical YA books and after reading my first book from her I can understand why. The writing is simple and elegant, effortless painting pictures, sounds and smells of the period. In fact I just fell in love with Mary’s style of writing and descriptions!

The story focuses on Hannah, a young girl from the country who moves t
...more
Kiri
Nicely done and well written young adult historical fiction. This author has a real talent for dropping the reader into the period and getting the fell of the setting and giving you characters to feel about with minimal set-up. She doesn't even stint on the realities of the situation although it is not as detailed as one would find in an adult novel of course. As described this a brief story set during the start of the London plague on 1665. I only have one minor problem with book and that is it ...more
Sabine
Jan 08, 2013 Sabine rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013-read
London 1665 – die 16jährige Hannah geht zu ihrer Schwester nach London, um ihr im Zuckermacherladen zu helfen. Die große Stadt mit ihrem bunten Treiben zieht sie magisch an, sie lernt andere Menschen kennen und lieben, darunter auch den Apothekerlehrling Tom, der ihr schnell ans Herz wächst. Doch die Pest breitet sich schleichend in London aus und rückt jeden Tag ein Stückchen näher.
Ein wundervolles Buch, das mich rasch in seinen Bann gezogen hat. Voller Leben und detailreich wird das historisch
...more
Laura
Apr 06, 2014 Laura rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: katie-s
This is a quaint little book that gives an insight into life in London during the Plague. It is a simple story that, while interesting, does not keep you desperate to read more. The story itself relies solely on the threat of the plague for suspense and intrigue, with little else happening, other than a small side plot of Hannah’s love for Tom.
The story held no suspense as to whether Hannah or her sister would catch the plague as I already knew of the sequel which contains both characters return
...more
Allison
I didn't have very high expectations for this book, but I was interested in reading about the creation of "sweetmeats", and stories on plague are generally pretty interesting. The book was about as good as I expected- it wasn't amazing, but it was a fast, entertaining read. I rather liked Hannah's character and her romance with Tom was a nice ray of sunshine in otherwise dark times. I was also amused when Nell Gwynne made an appearance, since I just read a book entirely about her (The Perfect Ro ...more
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British children's and young adult author Mary Hooper was born in 1944, in Barnes, South West London. She left school at fifteen, and went to work as a window dresser, and then as a secretary. She eventually returned to school, as an adult student, earning a degree in English from Reading University. Hooper began her writing career with short stories, publishing in women's and teen magazines. Her ...more
More about Mary Hooper...

Other Books in the Series

Sign of the Sugared Plum (2 books)
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