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Sing in the Morning, Cry at Night

3.89  ·  Rating details ·  1,032 ratings  ·  145 reviews
Nominated for a 2014 Lime Award for Excellence in Fiction

Named a Best Book of Summer 2014 by Publishers Weekly

Named a Pick of the Week for the week of June 30th by Publishers Weekly

"An earnest, well-done historical novel that skillfully blends fact and fiction."
-- Publishers Weekly

"A profound story of how one unforeseen event may tear a family apart, but another
Paperback, 320 pages
Published July 1st 2014 by Kaylie Jones Books (first published June 10th 2014)
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Average rating 3.89  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,032 ratings  ·  145 reviews

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Story Circle Book Reviews
May 28, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reviewed
Sing in the Morning, Cry at Night, Barbara Taylor's debut novel, is one of the most compelling books I've ever read. It's a novel set in Scranton, PA's coal mining community in 1913. As a coal miner's granddaughter, this story resonated with me. I gained insight into what my grandfather's life must have been like. He died of lung cancer, the scourge of the mines, at age 52.

Like that of other coal mining towns, Scranton's culture was taken over by the coal industry back in the early 1900's. Minin
Gale Martin
Jul 18, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Sing in the Morning, Cry at Night by Barbara J. Taylor Barbara Taylor's debut novel is a winner. It uses several inventive techniques that you don't often see in historical fiction that I happened to adore because of their novelty, and I looked forward to each as the book progressed--the quaint homemaker tips dropped into the narrative and the Greek-chorus of church busybodies chiming in occasionally, who couldn't possibly refrain from nosing into and commenting on one family's private tragedy:

And another very interesting character appears via a
Lori L (She Treads Softly)
Jul 17, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Sing in the Morning, Cry at Night by Barbara J. Taylor is a very highly recommended historical novel. Based on real events from the author's family, Sing in the Morning, Cry at Night is a novel rich in detail and historical references. Set in 1913 in the anthracite coal mining region of Wyoming Valley, Pennsylvania, this is a novel of tragedy and hope.

The Morgan family is composed of Owen, the father, Grace, the mother and their two girls, nine year old Daisy and 8 year old Violet. On July 4, 19
Emily Murphy
Note all of these ratings are on a scale of 1-10, 10 being the best.

Quality of Writing: 5
Nothing special, but nothing terrible either. I was confused when Grief showed up, but that got more clear as the novel progressed. I always felt a bit like the author was trying too hard. That took away from the actual talent shown in this novel.

Pace: 5
Certainly a page-turner, but it really dragged as soon as (view spoiler). You knew (view spoiler)
Aug 28, 2014 rated it it was ok
I had high hopes for this novel, which I understood was a story of redemption set in a Pennsylvania mining town in the early twentieth century. All the pieces are there, but I found the narrative choppy and the characters flat. Although I empathized with the people and their circumstances (not only Grace and poor Violet, but Owen as well), I remained unaffected emotionally. I wouldn't warn others away from this book, but it's hard to recommend highly. ...more
Wow, almost everybody gave Barbara J. Taylor's Sing in the Morning, Cry at Night no less than three stars. I guess I missed something. I did not feel the same way at all. I felt that the whole theme of redemption pretty heavy handed. Taylor sets Sing/Cry in September 1913, in the small mining town in Scranton, PA. Violet Morgan is an eight year little girl who almost evrybody in town blames for the death of her nine year old sister, Daisy. Including her emotionally fragile mother, Grace, whose g ...more
Jul 17, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction, depressing
This is beautifully written with excellent attention to historical detail but I didn't enjoy this book at all.

Set in Scranton, PA in 1913, a coal mining family suffers a horrific tragedy when Daisy, the older daughter, suffers fatal burns because of a sparkler thrown by her younger sister, Violet. Following this mom sinks into debilitating depression and dad becomes an alcoholic and abandons the family. An abusive "missionary" worms her way into the household, dad gets hurt in a mine accident, m
Denice Barker
Apr 09, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Sing in the Morning, Cry at Night by Barbara J. Taylor is set at the turn of the 1900s in the coal mining town of Scranton, Pa., in the Wyoming Valley. It is the story of the Morgan family and an horrid tragedy. It is the story of how we cope when something unspeakable happens to our loved ones. Do we succumb to the blame that is so electric in the air? Do we allow guilt to become so comfortable in our home it's like admitting another person to the family? Do we give into the crutch of drink ju ...more
May 01, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Sing in the Morning, Cry at Night by Barbara J. Taylor will hold you spell bound with its richness of historic detail and story of a family dealing with tragedy. The setting is the Wyoming Valley of Pennsylvania, a historic anthracite area in 1913. Sensitive writing and strong characters compel you forward in this story.

Owen Morgan is the father who had a drinking problem before he married and took a pledge written in the family bible to not drink. He is also a miner who goes to work to support
Jun 10, 2014 rated it really liked it
Years ago Barb Taylor was an English teacher in a high school where I was a librarian. I always knew she was a wonderful teacher but I didn't know she was such a talented writer. I loved this book, and I don't think it was because I know the author.

Through her beautifully drawn characters, she painted a vivid picture of the lives of the immigrant coal miners who worked the mines in Scranton, PA during the first part of the 1900s. I won't soon forget Grace, Owen, Violet, Stanley, or the widow La
Apr 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
A novel of tragedy and haunting struggles the revolve around several families involved in early 20th century coal mining. The novel mainly revolves around Violet who lost her sister in an accident. I enjoyed seeing the history of my hometown come to life and appreciated that the dangers of life back then were not glamorized.
May 17, 2014 rated it liked it

Taylor writes this melancholy tale well. I really liked the character of Grief and his relationshp with Grace, and the historical context this story has. Overall a sad read, but you really come to care for these characters and hope in their redemption.
Dec 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorite-reads
This book was beautifully written. I loved Taylor's personification of Grief and how it visits a person. It's a story about a young girl whose sister died tragically, and she feels responsible for her death. But there's much more to this story than that. Check it out for a great read. ...more
Mar 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
Four strong stars, what a great "comfort" read. ...more
Susan Swiderski
Jun 13, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads
This is a brilliant debut novel. The writing is smooth and at times, lyrical; the characters, realistic and memorable; and the setting in an early twentieth century Pennsylvania coal mining community, captivating.

When nine-year old Daisy dies from a freak accident, a shroud of suspicion and blame falls onto her eight-year-old "jealous" sister Violet, thanks to the vicious rumors spread by their self-righteous gossip-mongering neighbor. Violet's parents are so overwhelmed with grief, her mother
Apr 20, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"If she keeps knocking at the devil's door, someone's bound to answer." This is just one of the many nuggets of wisdom I found within "Sing in the Morning..."

Some aspects of the novel were brilliant, such as Taylor creating a character named Grief, who reminded me of a old, nasty vampire whose attention to Grace (no pun intended) is almost sexual. He insinuates himself into her life, she talks out loud to him, and it's more than eerie. Violet seems a little dumbstruck much of the time, her Stanl
Shari Larsen
Jul 11, 2014 rated it it was amazing
On the 4th of July, 1913, a 9 year old girl is the victim of a tragic accident, and almost everyone in the town of Scranton, Pennsylvania, blames her 8 year old sister Violet. Everyone in the family reacts to the tragedy differently. Owen, the girls father, drinks; Grace, their mother, falls into depression, and talks to Grief, an imaginary figure only she can see. Violet forms an unlikely friendship with Stanley Adamski, a motherless outcast who works in the mines as a breaker boy.

This story de
May 31, 2014 rated it it was amazing
ARC received courtesy of giveaway

This is a "must-read"! The story of a family from early 1900's mining town Scranton, Pennsylvania, the reader is taken inside the depths of a family's grief while living their daily lives. The characters in this book are so believably real. Ms. Taylor delves deep into the intense emotions of each member of the family. I felt as though I was actually sitting in the house, the yard or the mine. This novel is truly a look at how a family comes through
Jun 01, 2014 rated it really liked it
Sing in the Morning Cry at Night set in mining town of Scranton PA in 1913 - 1914 tells the story of the Morgan family tragedy and the effects on individual family members, friends and the community as a whole. Based on a true story the novel captures the depth of despair, guilt and anguish the family experiences at the death of their daughter.

In addition to the family and other characters, Taylor uses Grief and the Community to provide depth and move the story along. She personifies Grief and e
Barbara J. Taylor really brings her setting, time period & characters to life. I loved the children she created, Violet & Stanley, & felt much sympathy for them. I would've enjoyed more scenes focused on their friendship and adventures in the mining town where they grew up. I especially enjoyed the Billy Sunday crusade, with folks walking the sawdust trail & the music directed by Homer Rodeheaver.

I wanted to like Owen & Grace more but couldn't help but see them as self-focused & weak---whether
Nov 20, 2016 rated it really liked it
So heartbreakingly sad that it was hard to read at times, this book did an excellent job of capturing life in a company town and the power of gossip. I was impressed by how the author turned Grief into an actual character, a clever way of demonstrating how grief can completely overcome a person. I also found interesting the insights into Billy Sunday and his revival movement. Still, with all of its strengths and several well drawn characters, the story at times seemed formulaic and predictable. ...more
Nancy L. Hornstein, M.D.
Grief effects each family member in separate dysfunctional ways that tear them apart and threaten their live

two you girls play with sparklers and one catches on fire her death ravages,the family who in grief and guilt tear them apart. love and faith work in unpredictable ways to help them finally reach peace
Sep 16, 2014 rated it it was ok
I found this book rather dull and unengaging. Although I did find how the author used Grief in the book to be interesting.
Mar 25, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Karen , Diane
Adored this historical fiction based on an accident that occurred in the author's family ! Well written with lovable characters - I will be looking for more from this author . ...more
Kelly K
May 27, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2015
I enjoyed the personification of a few things, like Grief, but the rest wasn't too interesting to me. ...more
Dec 04, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This was one of those books I didn't want to end because I enjoyed it so much! ...more
Apr 15, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Strong start and weak finish

I was really enjoying this book until about the last 25 pages. The ending was happily wrapped in ribbons and bows, which I found unbelievable. Though a work of fiction, my imagination could not stretch that far. The book was also heavy on church and religion, which was appropriate for the time and place, and it fit well with the story. There were just a few too many “miracles” at the end for my taste. Early in the novel, I was reminded of books by Wiley Cash for the s
May 23, 2018 rated it liked it
-This book will make you Sing in the Morning and Cry at Night
“It’s all my fault” (Taylor 290). Violet Morgan is a young girl living in the early 1900’s in Scranton, Pennsylvania. The times are hard. Her mother is struggling with depression, her drunken father left her and her mother to live on their own, but the worst of all it is the guilt. A year before, Violet’s sister Daisy had died in an accident involving fireworks, an accident that Violet had played a part in. The story evolves as the fa
Oct 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
First sentence: Grace lay in bed, listening to Violet mill about the kitchen, but for what? Breakfast, that was it. Something to eat before heading off on the first day of school. "I'm her mother," Grace murmured. "Her mother," she repeated, pushing herself up, swinging one leg onto the floor and then the other.

Premise/plot: If grief tears a family apart, what can bring a family together? Sing in the Morning, Cry at Night opens in September 1913 in a small mining town in Pennsylvania. Readers me
Isabelle Bernard
Feb 19, 2019 rated it liked it
Sing In the Morning, Cry at Night Book Review
(SPOILER ALERT) Recently I read Sing In The Morning, Cry at Night. This book takes on different points of views as the plot unfolds. The main character, Violet, is thought to have purposely threw a firework at her sister which ultimately killed her. Most of the story follows Violet and her family as they struggle to deal with Daisy’s death. The story has a very To Kill A Mockingbird-esque setting where the town is quite small and everyone knows every
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Barbara J. Taylor lives in Scranton, Pennsylvania, home of the second-largest St. Patrick’s Day parade in the country. She has an MFA in creative writing from Wilkes University and teaches English in the Pocono Mountain School District. All Waiting Is Long is the sequel to her debut novel, Sing in the Morning, Cry at Night, named a “Best Book of Summer 2014” by Publishers Weekly.

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