First off-- look at the cover art on these books! Gorgeous!! Holy cow!
I heard about these books a while back on Bookscoops and just had to give them a try.
At the Sign of the Sugared Plum
Hannah is excited to join her sister Sarah in London... but why isn't Sarah happy to see her?
Sarah had written a second letter saying not to come. But Hannah never received it. Soon London is filled with the Plague and no one can leave.
As Hannah and Sarah try to stay positive and pray for an end to the frightening events swirling around them, everyone is trying anything that might possibly keep them from catching the Plague. Rosemary, talismans, rabbit's feet.... can't hurt, right? The things people tried are astonishing and slightly crazy to a modern reader, but hey.
I thought this moved a little slowly, but it was pretty good.
Random slightly funny side story-- I know a guy who caught the Plague. No joke. He was camping with friends, caught a squirrel and cooked and ate it. Not the brightest thing he could have done. And his dad was the local doctor, you'd think he'd have known better. It's treatable but from what I hear the treatment wasn't pleasant.
Petals in the Ashes
This picks up within days of where the first book left off. Having finally gotten out of London, Hannah and Sarah think their troubles are behind them.
Or are they?
After time in a pesthouse, the servants' quarters of a grand home and finally their own childhood home, Hannah is ready to return to London. But Sarah's not.
So Hannah returns with younger sister Anne and reopens the shop, grateful the plague is over. But it's 1666, the "Year of the Beast"....
And the year of London's great fire.
I recommend both of these. They stand alone okay, but I'd read them in order. Certainly if you read the first you'll want to know what happens next. :D
Both of these count for the Support Your Local Library Challenge.