At the Sign of the Sugared Plum Hardcover – 1 Jul 2003
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"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 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From the Publisher
Through Hannahs eyes, Mary Hooper brilliantly recreates the smells, sounds and sights of seventeenth century London life. Hannahs 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. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
I did feel the way that the way Hannah escaped the Plague was rather far fetched but I imagine it must have happened. I was reading rather furiously in the second half to find out what happens, the writer portrays excellently the spreading sense of panic as the Plague sweeps through London.
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.
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!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
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 morePublished 21 months ago by anniebonnie98
I haven't read any historical fiction in a while, mainly because I hadn't found one that interested me. Read morePublished on 3 April 2014 by Leanne Bell
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 morePublished on 24 Feb. 2014 by Mrs. K. A. Wheatley
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 on 9 Aug. 2013 by Mrs L Braim
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 on 31 July 2013 by Mary Whiffin
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 morePublished on 24 Jun. 2013 by John Hopper
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 morePublished on 31 May 2013 by Stormy12112
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 morePublished on 27 May 2013 by Stevesball
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 morePublished on 20 April 2013 by Nicoletta