'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.