Petals in the Ashes continues Hannah's story immediately after At the Sign of the Sugared Plum ended. I was only going to read the first few pages and go to bed but it was gone midnight before that happened. I had to finish the story.
Petals in the Ashes loses nothing of what was wonderful in the first book. Hannah and her sister return home but unlike her older sister Hannah misses London. As the plague continues to subside Hannah manages to convince her parents to let her return, taking her younger sister Anne with her.
Hannah's character grows a lot from the first book, now she is the responsible older sibling. Thankfully she doesn't lose any of her charm because of this. Both girls, particularly Hannah endure a lot of trails in this book and I would say that Petals in the Ashes has a more dramatic ending then the first story.
You don't have to read At the Sign of the Sugared Plum to appreciate this book but I think you'd love it even more if you did. As always there are little historical notes and treats at the end of the story.