The Taste of Sorrow by Jude Morgan

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The Taste of Sorrow by Jude Morgan

Category: Literary Fiction
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Sue Magee
Reviewed by Sue Magee
Summary: The life of the Brontë family brought alive in a very readable book. Definitely recommended.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 384 Date: May 2009
Publisher: Headline Review
ISBN: 978-0755338894

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The children were born in Thornton, a suburb of Bradford, and compared with where they were to go it was a soft living. Howarth was high up on the Yorkshire Moors, industrialised and with weather which chilled to the bone. The parsonage was four-square but draughty and not exactly welcoming. They, of course, were the Brontë family. The father was the impoverished curate and his six children had somehow to be cared for after his wife's death from cancer.

I'm normally a very reluctant reader of the 'inspired by the life of…' book. I'll confess to having a love of the story whose ending is unexpected and no one is going to read any book about the Brontës and wonder if it's going to turn out that they all lived to be a hundred and produced a best seller every year. We know that only four of the children reached adulthood – and that two of the sisters produced novels which have stood the test of time; Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights are still two of the most loved books in the English language.

It's the writing that lifts this book far above the humdrum and the ordinary. Jude Morgan captures perfectly the passion bottled within the family, the relationships between the surviving children. The style is a delicate balancing act – it could have fallen over into pastiche or dropped away into being dull, but it sparkles. I didn't laugh much – but I lost count of the times when I was literally moved to tears and I knew this story like the back of my hand. Somehow what I knew as fact had never before quite touched me.

There's always been a tendency to lump together the Brontë sisters as one amorphous whole, with only their brother – the worrisome Branwell – emerging with a character of his own and that mainly because he was difficult. Morgan evokes each of the sisters with their love of living in the worlds of their imaginations and they are quite separate, quite individual. It's not just the family though – Morgan produces people in all walks of life in a few words, but they're all memorable. They come off the page and on more than one occasion I was surprised to look up from the book and find myself some miles from Howarth.

I knew how it would all end (although it is some little time before Charlotte's death) but still I couldn't put the book down. The people, the story, will stay in my mind for a long time.

I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to the Bookbag.

If you haven't read Wuthering Heights you should. For a biography of Charlotte we can recommend Charlotte Bronte: A Passionate Life by Lyndall Gordon.

Buy The Taste of Sorrow by Jude Morgan at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Taste of Sorrow by Jude Morgan at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy The Taste of Sorrow by Jude Morgan at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Taste of Sorrow by Jude Morgan at Amazon.com.


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