Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “At the Sign of the Sugared Plum (Sign of the Sugared Plum, #1)” as Want to Read:
At the Sign of the Sugared Plum (Sign of the Sugared Plum, #1)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

At the Sign of the Sugared Plum

(Sign of the Sugared Plum #1)

3.88  ·  Rating details ·  2,907 ratings  ·  251 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
Hardcover, 169 pages
Published August 1st 2003 by Bloomsbury Children's Books
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about At the Sign of the Sugared Plum, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Chrissi Yes, it's historical fiction. I do recommend if you want a fictional (but very much founded on fact) account of the plague of 1665 in London. Gruesome…moreYes, it's historical fiction. I do recommend if you want a fictional (but very much founded on fact) account of the plague of 1665 in London. Gruesome, for sure.(less)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.88  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,907 ratings  ·  251 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of At the Sign of the Sugared Plum (Sign of the Sugared Plum, #1)
Lisa Vegan
Nov 12, 2008 rated it really liked it
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
Dawn (& Ron)
Feb 22, 2012 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
Oct 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Young Readers Who Enjoy Historical Fiction
Eager to get to London, where her older sister Sarah runs a small sweetmeats shop called "The Sugared Plum," and where she hopes to see all the wonders of the great metropolis - the grand buildings, and warren-like labyrinth of streets; the lords and ladies in their fashionable attire - young country-girl Hannah is oblivious to all the warnings signs along the way, from the cryptic remarks of Farmer Price, to the graveyard funeral "games" of the children she passes. She is dismayed to learn, upo ...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 rated it it was amazing
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
Josephine (Jo)
Jan 14, 2016 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
This is good reading for young adults to get a feel for the times.

Nell Gwynne House is the bow fronted building on the left behind the carriage - it was a jewellers but upon checking tonight it is some Law firm that now own the property.

[image error]
Mar 16, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: second-childhood
A definite 3.5. I enjoyed reading it lots, but don't see myself ever rereading, which is my criteria for a 4.
Vee_Bookish // yes i will be reading midnight sun
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
Oct 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
AAAAAH I LOVED this book!!!! So much!!!! I couldn't stop reading it on the 8 hour plane! This story is historical fiction and it tells the story of the London plague beautifully. The basic plot is: Sarah, Hannah's sister, owns a sweet meat shop in London. For the summer, Hannah wants to go live with Sarah and help with her shop. Everything is going as planned.....UNTIL the plague hits London. Very very hard. Sarah and Hannah have to see everyone they know is pain, not knowing how to cure the pla ...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!)
Jul 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing

I really enjoyed this novel. I thought it was a perfect fit for its target audience (I would recommend it mostly for younger YA / older middle grade audience) and for the genre. It was obvious the author did her homework in researching the era, the history of London, the customs, the fashion, the lifestyle. I really like how the main heroine was credible and how she was not modernized to fit a current teen better - she was as naive, as sweet as a teen in her era would have been, especially co
Sadia Saleem
Jul 29, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2020-read-books

Set in 1665 the novel touches on the great plague of London. The book reflects the journey of Hannah a country girl who’s excited to go to see her sister Sarah in London to help her with the shop that focuses on sugared candies made of violets, rose petals and Rosemary etc. Little does Hannah know that the city of excitement would spiral into a city of fear and danger.
I picked up this book recently because I was drawn to the cover (talk about not judging a book by its cover) and the vintage loo
Hannah Rose Graham
May 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
This book is beyond memorable. I recall reading this book as I was just curious if there were any books with characters as the same name as me. Put the name "Hannah" into the search engine at my middle school library and "At the Sign of the Sugared Plum" came up as one of the results. This book is enticing, magical, and one of the best historical fiction novels I have ever read. I mean, here I am, 24 years old and I have always loved this book. Truly a captivating classic!
G. Lawrence
Jan 02, 2018 rated it liked it
A fair read, but whilst I understand it is aimed at the young adult market, it felt somewhat immature, especially when the protagonists hear of deaths in the neighbourhood. The loveliest parts were the descriptions of the sweetmeats and their making. A fair, and fairly interesting read
Kathryn Jackson
May 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A truly gripping book that I’ve read many times throughout the years. I’d recommend this to anyone, and I’m excited to read the sequel for the first time!
May 19, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book as a young teenager, and I still enjoyed it as an adult. Of course many of the themes are simplified for a younger audience, but Mary Hooper still does a good job of portraying the slowly growing dread and the willful blindness of the Londoners as the plague approaches. I still liked the protagonist, as well as the characters surrounding her.
Juliana Graham
Mar 10, 2018 rated it liked it
I enjoyed this book more than I expected and also learnt quite a lot from it. Set in London during the Great Plague, the novel follows the lives of two sisters who run a sweet shop in the city. In addition to being a good story there is also lots of historical background which I wasn't aware of. The sense of impending doom as the number of plague victims increases is palpable and there are some dark scenes and descriptions - quite impressive for what is I believe a YA novel.
Aug 02, 2011 rated it really liked it
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 & works ...more
Apr 01, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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
Feb 13, 2012 rated it liked it
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 & on
Jul 28, 2012 rated it it was ok
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
Aug 01, 2011 rated it really liked it
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.
Jo Barton
Oct 16, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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.
Jul 04, 2016 rated it liked it
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.
Aug 25, 2016 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.
Feb 09, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: children-s-books
Historical fiction set during the Plague in England in 1665. Lots of great description really made 17th century London come to life. I thought Hannah's character was well-developed and found this an interesting story.
Tricia Douglas
This was a well-written children's book about the plague of 1665 in London. Characters were strong as was the story line. There is a sequel about the fire of London in 1666 that I also want to read.
May 01, 2012 rated it it was amazing
loved this! written for young adults, but doesn't seem juvenile.
Read for Reading History in Children's Books, and useful for that, but not something I particularly enjoyed.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • A Gathering of Days: A New England Girl's Journal, 1830-32
  • Pocahontas and the Strangers
  • A History of the World in 21 Women: A Personal Selection
  • Big Doc's Girl
  • The Truth About Leaving
  • Amos Fortune, Free Man
  • Someone to Remember (Westcott #7)
  • Songs About a Girl (Songs About a Girl, #1)
  • Vanguard (Razorland, #4)
  • Liebe macht blond (Jojo #4)
  • Along for the Ride
  • The Roommate Problem (Mile High Happiness, #3)
  • Dream Again (Again, #5)
  • The Lace Maker's Daughter
  • 100 Nasty Women of History
  • Witch Child (Witch Child, #1)
  • The Twelfth Day of July (Kevin and Sadie, #1)
  • The Mind Virus (The Wired #3)
See similar books…
Librarian Note: There is more than one author by this name in the Goodreads database.

British children's and young adult author Mary Hooper was born in 1944, in Barnes, then in Surrey, nowadays in 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 Readi

Other books in the series

Sign of the Sugared Plum (2 books)
  • Petals in the Ashes (Sign of the Sugared Plum, #2)

Related Articles

Pitched for fans of Jane the Virgin and The Kiss Quotient, Alexis Daria’s newest novel, You Had Me at Hola , goes behind the scenes of a fiction...
8 likes · 2 comments