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The Taste of Sorrow

3.81  ·  Rating details ·  905 ratings  ·  177 reviews
From an obscure country parsonage came the most extraordinary family of the nineteenth century. The Brontë 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
Paperback, 373 pages
Published May 14th 2009 by Headline Review (first published January 1st 2009)
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3.81  · 
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 ·  905 ratings  ·  177 reviews

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Sean Barrs the Bookdragon
Jun 17, 2016 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
”A dark lake of future, and sailing we cannot see the banks.” That is what lies ahead for the Brontë family when their mother (Maria Branwell, 1783-1821) passes away in the opening chapter of this biographical novel. Widower Patrick Brontë now has six children - Maria (1813-1825), Elizabeth (1814-1825), Charlotte (1816-1855), Branwell (1817-1848), Emily (1818-1848) and Anne (1820-1849) - to care for, albeit with the help of their maternal aunt. Aunt, whose philosophy is “‘It is better to be go ...more
Marie Saville
Feb 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
«...tenía que aprender de nuevo a escribir. Hasta entonces, había sido una actividad compartida: la luz de la lámpara, las lecturas en voz alta, los paseos alrededor de la mesa. Nosotras tres. Ahora era una batalla con dos frentes: el arte y la soledad. A veces, cuando se sentaba a trabajar después de que su padre se retirase a dormir, dejaba la pluma suspendida en el aire y escuchaba. El silencio del comedor estaba tan preñado de presencias, que reclamaba tu atención y te hacía pensar que de ah ...more
Mar 19, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
Jul 17, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018, favoritos
Siento mucha envidia de aquellas personas que saben escribir, ellas podrían expresar correctamente todas las emociones que he sentido leyendo esta novela. Me costó ponerme con ella porque conocía la historia de las Brontë y había leído "Todo ese fuego" de Ángeles Caso, ¿qué podía aportar nuevo? La novela de Ángeles Caso me supo a poco, no terminó de convencerme (3estrellas le di), pero con la Jude Morgan he disfrutado muchísimo.

No esperéis una novela ñoña. Es una historia áspera, intensa, cruda
Galena Sanz
Cuando la editorial Alianza anunció la reedición de las tres novelas más conocidas de las hermanas Brontë vi que incluían un libro que hacía referencia a ellas. El sabor de las penas, una novela acerca de sus vidas, una novela, no una biografía. Así y todo, me interesaba, igual que me interesa todo lo que tenga que ver con ellas y era un libro del que no había tenido noticia hasta ahora. No es de extrañar que quisiera leerlo y no voy a negar que estaba un pelín pletórica después de leer la joya ...more
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
Adrienne Clarke
Oct 12, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Laurie Notaro
May 16, 2016 rated it really liked it
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 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing
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
Apr 15, 2010 rated it did not like it
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
Tanja Berg
Aug 02, 2011 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
Jun 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Bronte fans, Readers of 19th-century British literature
Recommended to Canadian by: Mandy
"It’s because I’m all wrong that I have to find something right. And I found it here, in this room. We all did, didn’t we? We found something that alters the conditions of life. You write. You write yourself out of it, you write it out, you write it right.” ( p. 258)

Like many other readers, I suspect, I first read the books by the Brontes in young adulthood, and I’ve returned to them from time to time, with fresh eyes, over the years. While I’ve never read a formal biography of any of the sister
Dec 14, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: leídos-en-2018
Me ha gustado mucho conocer la historia de las hermanas Bronte a través de esta biografía novelada. En realidad sólo ellas podrían decirnos hasta que punto es fiel o no a la realidad y a buen seguro tendrían muchas matizaciones que hacer pero a mí desde el desconocimiento de los detalles de sus vidas, me ha parecido que es un libro bastante bien documentado que me ha dado ganas de seguir leyendo a las Bronte y de releer "cumbres borrascosas".
El único pero que le encuentro es que algunas frases s
May 24, 2010 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
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
May 05, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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.
Rachel Friars
Mar 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Off to sob forever.
Jan 14, 2015 rated it really liked it
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
(The title of the book is misleading as the novel focuses on the entire Bronte family.) Very good historical fiction - a glimpse into how Charlotte, Emily and Anne's life experiences were reflected in their works. Each had a hard and dreary life with little prospects but they did have determination. The author brought the Bronte family to life warts and all.
Sue  T
Sep 12, 2010 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Gave up reading this, can't get into it.
Too slow and plodding.
Alexandra Ferrara
Es un libro que relata perfectamente la vida de las hermanas Brontë y nos ayuda a entender el porqué de que sus obras fueran así: paisajes desoladores, elementos oscuros... Creo que Jude Morgan ha sabido condensar la vida de estas mujeres en un libro (un poco lento) lleno de crudeza y desolación.
Rachel M
Jun 27, 2013 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
May 15, 2010 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 26, 2010 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
Oct 10, 2010 rated it really liked it
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
Jan 19, 2016 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
Maya Panika
May 30, 2010 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
Feb 25, 2014 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.
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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 wrote under the names T.R. Wilson and Hannah March.
“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.” 10 likes
“And what does she mean by love, anyway? People use that word and mean all sorts of things by it.” 7 likes
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