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The Taste of Sorrow by Jude Morgan

The Taste of Sorrow (2009)

by Jude Morgan

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
2211152,606 (3.89)50
  1. 10
    Romancing Miss Brontë by Juliet Gael (Shuffy2)
    Shuffy2: Both books are about the lives of the Bronte sisters- the ups and downs on the road to publishing their now famous works.
  2. 10
    Becoming Jane Eyre by Sheila Kohler (baobhansidhe)
  3. 10
    Emily's Ghost: A Novel of the Brontë Sisters by Denise Giardina (baobhansidhe)
  4. 00
    Dark Quartet by Lynne Reid Banks (Sakerfalcon)
    Sakerfalcon: Both books explore the lives of the Bronte family in a compelling manner.
  5. 00
    The Secret Diaries of Charlotte Brontë by Syrie James (baobhansidhe)

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Unputdownable story of the Brontes,
By sally tarbox on 18 November 2016

The Brontes are like Henry VIII - you know their lives inside out, you've read biographies, watched TV documentaries - yet you continue to find their story utterly fascinating, told from different angles, in different ways. So Jude Morgan certainly has great material to begin with - but what a wonderful novel he has crafted from it.
Told in the present continuous (something I don't always enjoy, but it works superbly here), the novel opens with their mother on her death bed, about to leave her five daughters and one son to the care of their rather dour father. In beautifully envisaged scenes and conversations, the author follows them through their wretched school at Cowan Bridge; their secret world and early writings, their various teaching posts, Brussels, Branwell's self-destruction.... He writes from the point of view of various characters, their personalities an amalgamation of historical research and the surely autobiographical hints in the Brontes' works.
Such a brilliant read that I have ordered Mr Morgan's other novels (based on true-life). ( )
  starbox | Nov 17, 2016 |
This is a thoroughly intense novel...the writing style of the Brontes is applied to their lives, emotions, rampant thoughts. It's not a book you can read while sleepy....Each paragraph is dense, filled with stream-of-consciousness thoughts, spoken and unspoken words, several people's feelings and reactions. The breadth of understanding of the human psyche in general and of these humans' psyches in particular is amazing...obviously a great deal of research has gone into this book.

I think it took me longer to read this book than usual, partly because I got too involved in the characters' lives and sometimes needed a break from the intensity of their quiet lives...but I loved it at times. ( )
  Connie-D | Jan 17, 2016 |
Charlotte and Emily: A Novel of the Brontes; (2 1/2*)

In 1821 Haworth, Yorkshire Maria Bronte, mother of five and wife to a Vicar, dies. Her milk-toast husband Patrick sends his oldest four daughters to a cheap, abominable boarding school but Maria and Elizabeth come home to die from consumption. His son Branwell becomes an addict while his three remaining daughters, Charlotte, Emily, and Anne, go out to work at teaching in schools for young ladies & as governesses. The sisters are unhappy away from home and so return and begin writing poetry, essays and eventually novels for which they use pseudonyms. They dote on their father and brother but by 1855 all five of Maria's offspring are dead none having reached the age of forty.

In this Bronte fictional account, in spite of the title, the focus is on all six siblings and their father and not mainly on Charlotte and Emily.

It read like a Victorian soap opera and while I was able to finish it I must admit that I was a bit disappointed, not in the writing, so much as in the content. Still and all I am sure that many will and have loved this book. I simply was not one of them. ( )
3 vote rainpebble | Apr 12, 2014 |
I'm a big fan of Jude Morgan's historical novels, and I also love the Brontes, so I expected to be borne away by A Taste of Sorrow. Sadly, not so. I found the book extremely slow going. At first I thought this was simply because I was occupied with end-of-semester tasks that inevitably kept my reading sessions short. Once the semester ended, I figured I would whirl through to the end in a few days, but my reading plodded on at a snail's pace. I just did not find the story very compelling. Perhaps that is not entirely the author's fault: I found myself wondering if the Brontes lives could really have been that dull, and, if they were, well, no wonder they lived such exciting imaginary lives through their characters. The plot pretty much boils down to someone gets sick and either dies or gets better--only to get sick again and die shortly thereafter. In between, Branwell gets drunk, acts like a spoiled brat and a boor, and gets fired from a series of jobs that decline in status. Everyone but Emily hates being at home, but they also hate wherever they are sent away to. The highlights, of course, are Charlotte falling in love with a married man, and the eventual publication and popularity of Anne's, Emily's, and Charlotte's novels. Morgan does a decent job of portraying the complex, ambiguous relationships among the siblings and their overbearing father, but that wasn't enough to keep me engrossed in A Taste of Sorrow. ( )
  Cariola | May 26, 2013 |
In this novel Mr.Morgan does it again, he achieves sublime precision to what the Brontë sisters' lives might have been, mastering the art of combining fiction with reality. The result: this achingly real tale of sorrow.
Although not a biographical work, it's incredibly easy to believe his version of the facts. Fiction? Maybe. I think some events described must have been invented, but still, Morgan shows his deep understanding of the time, the place and the people which crossed the path of these three unconventional sisters, making the story astonishingly believable.
The book begins with the death of Maria Branwell, mother of the Brontë children, who leaves her severe husband, Patrick Brontë, with 5 girls and an only boy to rise. At first, the story focuses on the surroundings of the famous girls: Charlotte, Emily and Anne, especially in their horrible experience in Cowan Bridge boarding school, where their elder sisters get mortally sick.
After they leave the school for good, we observe little by little the way their strikingly different characters start to develop, even more when their paths are separated by their own experiences working as governesses or teachers.
It's through effort and patience that the sisters manage adulthood, always sacrificing their only passion, writing, for the greater good; which is always in advantage of their brother, Branwell. A man who lives embittered by envy and a coward to face his flaws, he drags all his family down with him.
What I most enjoyed about this book is the possibility it brings to understand what kind of lives lead the Brontë sisters to become what they were and to write the way they did.
Charlotte, the eldest sister, always carrying her responsibility, serious, sharp minded, afraid of showing her thoughts, but daring when she needs to. I was proud of her when she confronts her father about her need to write, although she is dismissed like a kid.
Emily, unearthly, almost inhuman. She needs nothing, she lives through her imaginary worlds, although she understands everything that goes around her and she is the one to give the good advice without expecting gratitude back. She doesn't have expectations, she only needs the moors and quietness to write to feel complete.
Anne, dear, sweet Anne. The little sister, the one left aside, but the one who bears the burdens, the one who sacrifices without complain, the one who makes them a whole being, who keeps them together.
Oh, and the bliss of reading about their creative process, how they come up with the poems with the pseudonym masculine names, how Charlotte finds in her real experiences the Jane Eyre she has been nurturing all along inside her, how she gets inspiration in her apparent dull life. Their father, their brother, the curates...everybody is captured in essence in some of their books.
I was awkwardly moved until the last page, sublime description of the last years of the sisters, magnificent description of Charlotte's feelings. A lesson to be learnt.
Having visited Haworth Parsonage a year ago, and after reading this book, I feel as if the Brontë sisters have become alive, I believe I get the picture, and I understand it. These poor and smart sisters, pitiful and unsocial creatures who seemed to have been born only to suffer, they made their dreams come true, they left their footprint in English Literature.
I only wish they could know what their books have become to lots of us, like me, so that their short lives wouldn't seem wasted.
I have to thank Mr. Morgan for this new feeling, the urge to talk to the authors, Charlotte, Emiliy and Anne, not to the characters, Jane, Cathy or Mrs Graham.
This is his achievement after all.
Will be reading anything written by him! ( )
1 vote Luli81 | Dec 30, 2011 |
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For Ann, with thanks
First words
"Oh, my children. Oh, God, my poor children."
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Alternate titles: The Taste of Sorrow and Charlotte and Emily: A Novel of the Brontë Sisters.
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Book description
Charlotte. Emily. Anne. The Brontë sisters - the drama, the passion, and a story that lives for ever...

Once upon a time there were three sisters, bound by love and suffering, growing up in wild isolation in a lonely house on the moor. Their story will astonish you: their passionate, dangerous closeness; their struggle against the world; their determination to rise above the fates of their parents and their other lost sisters, to become more than the world ever thought they could be. You don’t know their story, but you think they do. They were the Brontës.

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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0312642733, Paperback)

From an obscure country parsonage came three extraordinary sisters, who defied the outward bleakness of their lives to create the most brilliant literary work of their time. Now, in an astonishingly daring novel by the acclaimed Jude Morgan, the genius of the haunted Brontës is revealed and the sisters are brought to full, resplendent life: Emily, who turned from the world to the greater temptations of the imagination; gentle Anne, who suffered the harshest perception of the stifling life forced upon her; and the brilliant, uncompromising, and tormented Charlotte, who longed for both love and independence, and learned their ultimate price. 

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:14:21 -0400)

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From an obscure country parsonage came three extraordinary sisters, who defied the outward bleakness of their lives to create the most brilliant literary work of their time.

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