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Charlotte and Emily
Jude Morgan
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Charlotte and Emily

3.78  ·  Rating Details  ·  653 Ratings  ·  146 Reviews
From an obscure country parsonage came the most extraordinary family of the nineteenth century. The Bronte sisters created a world in which we still live - the intense, passionate world of JANE EYRE and WUTHERING HEIGHTS; and the phenomenon of this strange explosion of genius remains as baffling now as it was to their Victorian contemporaries. In this panoramic novel we se ...more
Published by St. Martins Press (first published January 1st 2009)
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Bookworm Sean
Jun 18, 2016 Bookworm Sean rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: bronte fans
This is the real life story of the Brontes

This isn’t some romanticised version of them; this isn’t some fanciful reworking of the backdrop of Wuthering Heights in which the sisters wondered around the moors all day looking forlorn; this isn’t some cultural regurgitation of this overworked schema that has infested our ideas about the sisters: this is an actualised version of the reality of their lives, and it’s rather excellent.


The Taste of Sorrow presents the true, unadulterated, life of the
Mar 19, 2013 Dolors rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2012
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 t
Dec 28, 2009 Susan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Some time ago, I read The King's Touch by Jude Morgan (about James, Duke of Monmouth) and loved it, so I'm surprised it took me so long to read Morgan's latest novel, The Taste of Sorrow.

The Taste of Sorrow tells a familiar story, that of the Bronte sisters' childhood, rise to fame, and premature deaths, but Morgan manages to make this oft-told story seem fresh. He doesn't do this by telling his story through an unusual perspective or by adding sensational elements; rather, he accomplishes his t
Jul 02, 2015 Laura rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 5-star-club
This is my second historical fiction novel by Jude Morgan, and I am officially a fan. The Brontes provide amazing fodder for any author, but Morgan is skilled enough to bring them to complex, breathing life.

Wuthering Heights is one of my very favorite books, and Emily (and all the Brontes) fascinates me. When I was twenty and studying abroad in England, I made a pilgrimage of sorts (that involved two trains and three busses, the last of which was a rickety local on which my only companions were
Christy B
Charlotte and Emily (originally published as The Taste Sorrow) was a brilliant and beautiful novel. I am on such a Brontë high after finishing it.

The novel opens with the death of the mother Maria Brontë in 1821 and ends with Charlotte's marriage to Arthur Nicholls in 1854. I'm thankful that the book ended before her death because, frankly, I had had enough of death at that point.

I'm not going to go into detail about the lives of the Brontës. A simple Google search can fill you in there, so I
Laurie Notaro
May 16, 2016 Laurie Notaro rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Historical fiction about the Brontes--Charlotte, Anne, Emily and Branwell. I struggled with this book. A lot. The beginning was engaging and the end was simply on fire. But the middle seemed weighted down with a lot of detail about the girls' times as governesses and teachers and understand quite quickly that was not what they wanted to do. I'm not going to tell any author how to write their book, but that section was heavy and took forever to wade through. I get the point: Jane Eyre is Charlott ...more
Jun 12, 2010 Teresa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Confession time again - I can't claim to have read everything written by the Brontes but I will admit to having a special place in my heart for this Yorkshire family. "Jane Eyre" is my all time favourite novel and a couple of years ago I had the honour of visiting Haworth Parsonage, staying a couple of nights in the village and supping a few beers (no laudanum though!). One might labour under the misapprehension that it's an easy thing to do - to captivate readers with such fascinating subject m ...more
Apr 15, 2010 Fionnuala rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Jude Morgan is an intensely expressive writer, the Brontës are underserved by fiction, and yet... I never really believed this novel was about them. Morgan's writing style is too purple prosey for the stark Brontës, and he seemed to flit from one character to another just as, I felt, we were on the edge of real revelation. The best portrayal is that of Emily, blunt and disengaged - she is genuinely funny as a creation, but Morgan never gets behind her oddness, which surely should be the point of ...more
Jan 14, 2015 Diana rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Although I read the American version entitled "Charlotte and Emily: A Novel of the Brontës," I felt as cold, as near-death, as invisible, as creative (well, maybe not as creative) as the three Brontë sisters. Jude Morgan (Tim Wilson) writes beautiful prose, like this metaphor describing the pain in Charlotte's life: "And if come evening, when the other girls [at the miserable boarding school] grouped and fizzed and chattered, [Charlotte] preferred to hide herself behind the schoolroom curtain, h ...more
Sue  T
Sep 13, 2010 Sue T rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Gave up reading this, can't get into it.
Too slow and plodding.
Rachel Crooks
Jun 27, 2013 Rachel Crooks rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is one of those books that is so much better than its cover. The cover looks like a sentimental Hallmark movie poster, and about as deep - but there is much more to it.

I could read many novels of the Brontes. This one highlighted the Brontes as a family - their effect on each other, their particular allegiances, their inner conversations, their secret fears and hopes. There was so much diversity, color, and empathy in the writing.

I love to picture the Brontes as the eccentric Gothic family
Jul 03, 2010 Bookworm1858 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2010, own, sisters
Charlotte and Emily by Jude Morgan
Also known as "The Taste of Sorrow" in the UK
St. Martin's Press, 2009
373 pages
Historical fiction

Summary: A literary treatment of the lives of the Brontes with special focus on Charlotte as the longest lived.

Thoughts: This is the Bronte book I most wanted to read when I signed up for the Bronte challenge so I'm glad it finally came to the states and that my library owns it. I am not a fan of the title (there are THREE author sisters! and there was a lot of sorrow
Mar 27, 2010 Siegrist rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Charlotte's Bronte's books were formative ones for me as a reader. I remember reading Jane Eyre and Villette as an 18 year old ( a bookish provincial one no less), about to leave my country town for university. I think what touched me about these books was the transformative power of the writer's life so I was interesting to read Jude Morgan's book about Charlotte and her family. It was an odd experience reading the book, seeing Charlotte, Emily and Anne suffering the vagaries of earning a livin ...more
Adrienne Clarke
Nov 29, 2012 Adrienne Clarke rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Although much is known about the Bronte sisters and their shared passion for writing (it’s difficult to make it through high school without reading one or both of Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights) Morgan’s exploration of the Bronte family, their struggles, and the early losses that shaped their writing is so fresh it makes you want to read their work all over again. The author effortlessly draws you into the Bronte’s world, their lonely isolation, the constant struggle for money, and the profound ...more
Oct 19, 2010 Asma rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
At a young age, the Bronte children discover the shocking impact of sober adulthood. As a balance, the siblings retreat to a the world of words, one that sisters Charlotte, Emily and Anne return to when their professions, their expectations of their brother Branwell, and their endurance, fails them. The story of how the most celebrated sisters in literature gathered their dark stories throughout their life.

No words can explain how overwhelmed I was after reading this. Even though I've read some
This is simply the best novel I've read/listened to for a long while. It is superbly written, highly poignant and gives a convincing portrayal of the Brontes and their world; one feels as if one is actually there, with these people, feeling their joys and sorrows, their conflict, but most of all their terrible losses, their pain. The scenes at Cowanbridge are particularly affecting, and Morgan draws the character of Branwell Bronte so brilliantly; his negative sides and his disruptive influence ...more
Tanja Berg
Aug 02, 2011 Tanja Berg rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, history
This is a book about the Brontë family and not just of the three girls turned writers - Anne, Charlotte and Emily - but also of their household. Their brother Branwell has a prominent place and a big influence on his sisters. The book is quite inventive and can be read as fiction due to the long dialogues that are by necessity imagined. However, the facts themselves are stark and shocking. Poor Mr. Brontë, the father - his wife and all his children died before him! The author makes some keen obe ...more
Maya Panika
Oct 08, 2010 Maya Panika rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A novelisation of the – already well and often told – lives of the Brontes.

I’m not usually much of a fan of novelisations. Normally, if I needed to know more than I already do about the Bronte’s, I’d turn to a good biographer, but this book has changed my mind somewhat.

Obviously, there’s nothing new here, no great revelations or odd twists on a well-known tale, but it is told so very well. Jude Morgan is a compelling storyteller with a vivid style that this quickly turned into a novel I couldn
May 05, 2010 Janet rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Brilliant. Wonderfully written, totally believable, heartbreaking. Like Passion, Jude Morgan's book about the women of Byron and Shelley's circle, I found myself reading and thinking this is how it was; this is the truth. I can't honestly think of a more beautifully imagined telling of the Bronte siblings. I can't recommend this strongly enough.
Feb 25, 2014 Wealhtheow rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: historical, victorian
A novel of the Bronte family, from the children's childhoods to their deaths. It's told in a beautifully elliptical manner. I got the impression of grim, narrow lives with loads of tragedy and lack of opportunities--but also the shining, open vastness of Emily, Charlotte and Anne's imaginations.
Jul 08, 2010 Misfit marked it as abandoned  ·  review of another edition
I hate to say this, but I got halfway and just cannot get back into it. I love the writing, I love the Brontes, but I have renewed it once and its now due back at the library and I must abandon this for now. Other books just keep calling me. Perhaps another day.
I just couldn't get into this book, so I gave up reading it. So many books to read, so little time. Can't waste my time reading one that I'm really not enjoying. Maybe another time.
Rachel Friars
Mar 28, 2016 Rachel Friars rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Off to sob forever.
Evanston Public  Library
For fans of the Brontës, Jude Morgan’s novel about this enigmatic family is a must read. The American publishers have done Morgan’s atmospheric work a disservice by renaming it Charlotte and Emily because it is indeed about all of the Brontës (in Great Britain it’s more appropriately titled The Taste of Sorrow). With his wistful prose and keenly perceptive dialogue, Morgan beautifully reconstructs the life of this early 19th-century family on the wind-swept moors near Haworth, England. Raised by ...more
Kate Dana
The historical facts about the lives of the Brontës to tell a fictional story were great. The story of the Brontës is an extremely sad one. First, their Mother dies leaving behind five daughters and a son with a staunchly religious Father. The two eldest daughters, Elizabeth and Maria die of consumption after being away at what was supposed to be a school of opportunities for poorer children. They were sixteen or seventeen upon their deaths.

Later on Branwell, the only son, dies of a combination
Really enjoyed this book though at times it was slow. I wondered if the editor nodded off here and there given occasional repetitive, awkward and anachronistic phrasing. I love the subject matter so much, however, so I didn't mind. Each time I've read biographical writings on the Brontes I am amazed that so much writing talent came out of such a cloistered family and I am struck anew by the harsh realities they faced. Morgan's rendition is a little off-putting at times due to unusual pacing, jum ...more
There is something about this book that is intriguing. It pulls you in and breaks your heart. However, there is something not quite right with the pacing of the narrative. The author draws on some biographical information, but most of the book is a fictional narrative, so don't read this expecting non-fiction.

First, the characters. The author is mainly interested in Charlotte. Indeed, the book could have just been called 'Charlotte' because the amount of time devoted to Charlotte verses the othe
Aug 05, 2010 Alison rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is long and tedious -- my first impression when I opened it was of the small type, and I thought, "I will never be able to finish it!"

And, in fact, it took quite a bit longer than normal for me to get through it, but not because it wasn't good. In fact, it was brilliant. But as I said, it is tedious. Like Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights, and even the Tenant of Wildfell Hall, there isn't a great deal of happiness throughout. The sad happenings and high emotions are difficult to get thro
Feb 22, 2016 Bookmaniac70 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Не бях чела скоро толкова хубав биографичен роман! Авторът влиза сякаш "под кожата" на сестрите Бронте, без да изпуска нито едно от основните събития в живота на семейството. Мислите им текат като по оголени нерви, вътрешният им свят е наелектризиран, изпълнен с "къси съединения". Разочарованията дълбаят душите ми, но и ги карат да израстват по своеобразен начин - "навътре". Борбата с очакванията на баща им, с неувереността в творческите си способности, с предразсъдъците спрямо жените - тежка и ...more
Connie D
Jan 27, 2016 Connie D rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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Jude Morgan was born and brought up in Peterborough on the edge of the Fens and was a student on the University of East Anglia MA Course in Creative Writing under Malcolm Bradbury and Angela Carter.

A pseudonym used by Tim Wilson.

Also writes under the name Hannah March.
More about Jude Morgan...

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“But we disposable women have to be realistic in this life, you know. Else we get itchy and discontented and start contemplating the kitchen knife and wondering whether it wouldn't look nicer between someone's shoulder-blades.” 8 likes
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