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At the Sign Of the Sugared Plum [Kindle Edition]

Mary Hooper
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (42 customer reviews)

Print List Price: £6.99
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Book Description

‘You be going to live in the city, Hannah?' Farmer Price asked, pushing his battered hat up over his forehead. ‘Wouldn''t think you'd want to go there . . . Times like this, I would have thought your sister would try and keep you away.' Hannah is oblivious to Farmer Price's dark words, excited as she is about her first ever trip to London to help her sister in her shop ‘The Sugared Plum', making sweetmeats for the gentry. Hannah does not however get the reception she expected from her sister Sarah. Instead of giving Hannah a hearty welcome, Sarah is horrified that Hannah did not get her message to stay away - the Plague is taking hold of London.

Based on much research, Mary Hooper tellingly conveys how the atmosphere in London changes from a disbelief that the Plague is anything serious, to the full-blown horror of the death carts and being locked up - in effect to die - if your house is suspected of infection.

Product Description


"This story still manages to be thoroughly romantic whatever the growing corpse count." -- Independent, Monday 28th November 2003

'Mary hooper is a writer to watch' -- The Independent

From the Publisher

Through Hannah’s eyes, Mary Hooper brilliantly recreates the smells, sounds and sights of seventeenth century London life. Hannah’s excitement at coming to the big city is vividly evoked as is the growing terror of a seemingly unstoppable plague that takes hold of the city, street by street, house by house.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 549 KB
  • Print Length: 180 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1582348499
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Childrens (4 July 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0055S2GFY
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (42 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #120,798 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Mary Hooper has been writing books for nearly thirty years. And before that she was writing short stories. Her early books about a pregnant teenager: MEGAN, are still very popular, one teacher calling the three books a "rite of passage".

Over the last five or so years she has been writing nothing but historical fiction, mostly for young adults, although NEWES FROM THE DEAD was actually written for an adult audience. This book has won several awards, including both the Hull and the Stockport Book Awards. The historian and novelist Alison Weir said that NEWES was "Stunning!" There are even plans to turn it into a musical, though if you know the content of the book you'll conclude that it would be a very unusual one.

Mary's book set in a Victorian undertaker's is called FALLEN GRACE and comes out in the UK in June 2010 and in the US a little later. Lucy Mangan, Guardian columnist, called it "Bloody Marvellous!" Her latest book is called VELVET and is about a 19th century medium. THE DISGRACE OF KITTY GREY is Mary's first Regency novel and will be published in May 2013.

Mary has a fan page on Facebook and her own website.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A brilliant insight into 17th century London 15 July 2006
I had this book bought for me and i could say at first i was not sure. But when i picked it up, i literally was hooked! It follows the lives of Hannah and her sister during the plauge. It is racy, interesting and sad. I would definitly recomend to anyone of the age group 13+. I would read again!
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Sign of the Sugared Plum 13 July 2008
A Kid's Review
I read this book when i was ten and really injoyed it. I am now eleven and read it again and again. It is about the Plague in London and how Hannah and her sister Sarah try to survive and keep their sweetmeats shop open. I recomend this to any reader how likes adventure books that is hard to put down. In the back of the book it tells you how to make sweetmeats like: Sugared Rose Petals, Frosted anjelica and lots more. If you like this book read the follow up Petals in the Ashes.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I loved this book 28 Jan. 2004
By sophie
At the Sign of the Sugared Plum tells the story of Hannah who moves to London full of excitment only to find that the plague is sweeping through the city. As more and more people become ill, Hannah and her sister have to decide what to do. The final chapters are nail biting! As well as being a great story, the book gives a brilliant insight into the life of teenagers during that period of history. I had not read any books by Mary Hooper before but i will definitely read more now!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A tasty treat for all 4 Aug. 2011
For a young adult novel, this was very evocative in its portrayal of London during the terrifying months of the plague at its height. Hannah travels to London from her quiet, idyllic village, to work at her sisters sweetmeats shop. But she couldn't have chosen a worse time. The plague is just developing its stranglehold on the city, slowly spreading through the fetid streets and alleyways, seemingly infecting all those it touches.

The fascination with Hooper's novel is the way in which she describes the people and the atmosphere of the time. The sense of everyday life, laced with a growing sense of fear and dread as all those affected struggle to find reasons why it is happening, is gripping stuff to read. Hooper describes wonderfully the different 'preventatives' used by people at the time; the herbs and spices, the beliefs about what they should and shouldn't do, usually to no avail, and particularly the descriptions of those affected by the plague. But more over it is the story of Hannah and her sister - two healthy women, trapped in an increasingly unhealthy world - who try to remain normal whilst all around them is anything but. And 15 year old Hannah experiences all the familiar 'teenage' angst too - bad hair, worrying about her skin, boys, clothes - all the things that a modern day teen can relate to.

When the plague finally takes over, Hannah and Sarah must make a painful decision about their future in London, and the reader can really feel their anguish - wanting to stay, but knowing in their hearts that they can't.

Even though this is a young adult novel, I would definitely read more from Hooper - a very interesting historical event, recreated for modern teenage audiences in a well-written and easy to understand and relate to way.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully Written 15 Oct. 2011
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 to London to help her older sister in her sweetmeats shop just before the Great Plague hits London in 1665. Hannah is new to the city and through her eyes we can experience the everyday life of people at the time living in a crowded, prosperous city. I loved Hannah's naivety and wonder at seeing the city for the first time. People are not frightened at first but slowly the tension mounts as rumours and disease spread. I loved the descriptions of preventatives and how the dead are dealt with as the situation slowly gets worse and the fear mounts.
This is a truly enchanting tale with plentiful historical detail for those who care. There is creepiness from the disease acting as a menacing figure towering over Hannah and her sister. I'm so happy I have a selection of other Mary Hooper books to work my way through as I have found a new favourite!
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best book ever!!! 16 Jun. 2004
At the sign of the sugared plum is a touching story and is the best book i've ever read! The story-line of Hannah and her older sister struggling through difficult times as the plague threatens them in every chapter. Bringing the scene alive is exactly what Mary Hooper achives, you can imagine the sights and smells of London, the church bells ringing constantly declaring more deaths as the sisters parish becomes infected. Also the fear stricken into Hannah as she discovers more and more blood red crosses on tha parish doors and the dreaded words "lord have mercy on us"! This is also a very educational book telling you about the scenes of London, the symptoms of the plague such as the buboes and tokens that apper on the skin. Everything seems so real as they travel through the disese stricken land-the pits piled high with corpses and the smell of preventives everywhere! i don't think Hannah will have any more time to worry about her bright red hair and freckles! A must read book!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars pulled back into history!
An excellent short story! This was brimming with the atmosphere of 17th c life and felt so real at points I got a great sense of the anxiety of people at the time of the plague. Read more
Published 4 months ago by anniebonnie98
4.0 out of 5 stars Good insight into the plague and sugared treats!
I haven't read any historical fiction in a while, mainly because I hadn't found one that interested me. Read more
Published 12 months ago by Leanne Bell
4.0 out of 5 stars A neat little novella
There are quite a few books around for the teen/YA market about the experiencing the great plague, and although this is a slight book, more of a novella than a novel, it really... Read more
Published 13 months ago by Mrs. K. A. Wheatley
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful read
Fantastic simple historical read for both older children and adults alike. I thoroughly enjoyed it! Just starting on the sequel Petals in the Ashes.
Published 20 months ago by Mrs L Braim
5.0 out of 5 stars Keeping them interested.
My grandson had to work on an extended comprehension question on a SATS paper. He enjoyed reading about the plague so can now read more.
Published 20 months ago by Mary Whiffin
5.0 out of 5 stars Really gripping and well written
Short but gripping story about a young girl who goes to London to help her sister in her sweetshop and gets caught up in the Great Plague of 1665. Read more
Published 22 months ago by John Hopper
3.0 out of 5 stars Hmmmmm
At the beginning of this book I found that I could not quite get into it, I think it was because I bought this book for my holiday in Egypt but I did not get to read much on that... Read more
Published 22 months ago by Stormy12112
5.0 out of 5 stars Really good
I really enjoyed the book as it really gave me the chance to know what it was like during the time of the Great Plague. I'd reccomend this to people ages 11+. Read more
Published 23 months ago by Stevesball
5.0 out of 5 stars Not for primary pupils!
Ordered this hoping to use it in Guided Reading as we cover the Great Plague in Year 5 and thought this would help with empathy. Read more
Published 24 months ago by Nicoletta
5.0 out of 5 stars at the sign of the sugared plum
This is such a wonderful heart pounding book.Amid tears and sheer joy it is unsetdownable.With the authors vivid descriptions you are transported into the medival world feeling all... Read more
Published on 1 Jan. 2013 by Amazon Customer
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