Book Reviews

At the Sign of the Sugared Plum by Mary Hooper

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List Price: £7.99


Paperback: 176 Pages.

Published: 04 August 2003 by Bloomsbury Publishing PLC

ISBN: 9780747561248

EAN: 9780747561248

An historical novel set at the time of The Great Plague in London. It 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.


4.0 Stars4.0 Stars4.0 Stars4.0 Stars  by Anne

Written for younger teenagers

This is a book for young teenagers and has the restrictions that writing for that age range requires. It is a short and easy read for an adult and not very satisfying if you are looking for complexity or depth but I think that younger teenagers would enjoy it and I have rated it accordingly.

The book is about Hannah who comes from her country home to join her older sister in London at the time of the plague in 1665. The girls work together running a shop selling confectionery. As it becomes evident that the plague is spreading life becomes more and more difficult, houses are shut up, no one wants their products any more and they are in danger of catching the disease themselves.

The plot is simple and the author reflects all the different things which might happen to people at this time but in a sanitised way suitable for the younger reader. She doesn't shy away from death or danger but the book isn't terribly gory and the girls are more onlookers than participants which helps to keep the events at a distance. The adult reader will see the author's research very obviously but for a younger reader with little or no knowledge of what happened there will be a lot to learn whilst being entertained. There is a slight romance and the main characters are mildly threatened. The book has a sequel set in 1666 in London (I guess we know what the characters will experience then !).

This story was well told and conveyed the events of the plague well. The characterisation was shallow and the plot very straightforward but that is what you woudl expect in a book aimed at younger teenagers. An adult reader may well find it unsatisfying

5.0 Stars5.0 Stars5.0 Stars5.0 Stars5.0 Stars  by Angi Nelson

Brings history to life in a fun way

I can only Echo Lou's words in her review of this book.

It is a wonderfully colourful and descriptive tale that truly allows the reader to imagine the experiences of life in London at the time of the Black Plague.

The story is compelling and I cant think of a better way to learn about this subject and time period for children. Both my 12 year old daughter and I read the book within two days and thoroughly enjoyed it. I would also  highly recommend reading the follow on book from this which covers the Great fire of London, with the same characters.

5.0 Stars5.0 Stars5.0 Stars5.0 Stars5.0 Stars  by Lou Reading

Dont be put of just because it's in the teen section, very good read.

A thought provoking and personal tale about two sisters living through the Great Plague of London 1665, found in the Young Adult section.

This has a storyline that pulls you in and wording that flows so easily it was a pleasure to read.

I love historical fiction, usually read about 12th/13th century, so this was a modern leap for me. It centers around two sisters that run a sweetmeat shop in London in 1665, just when the plague breaks out. Hannah had only just moved to London and didn't want to leave to go back to the country, not quite realising what was instore for her.

This is well written and the descriptions and information gives an insight into what living in terror at this point in history must have been like, great for teens interested in history, a handy glossary at the back, notes from the author and some 17th century sweet recipes that even I am inspired to try!

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