Monday, 30 May 2011

The Taste of Sorrow by Jude Morgan

GENRE: biography/historical fiction

Charlotte. Emily. Anne. The Bronte 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. They were the Brontes.

I am a great fan of the Bronte sisters, especially of Charlotte Bronte (the author of Jane Eyre), and while it's difficult to please fans like myself when it comes to the Brontes, I can say that I was thoroughly pleased with Morgan's novels about the Brontes. It was a wonderful and deep reading experience for me.

Jude Morgan tells the story of the Bronte family, with the main focus on Charlotte, Emily and Anne, in the form of a novel. Therefore, one does not necessarily feel that they are reading a biography, but rather an extraordinary and highly emotionally powerful story about three talented sisters, all of them writers. The language is very rich and uses beautiful metaphors, reminiscent of the Bronte sisters. Even the way the story was constructed and explained in details reminded me of the three Bronte women. Everything felt truly genuine.

The story begins with a tragedy and many tragedies follow – the Brontes lived a difficult life, plagued by illnesses and death, by heartbreak and rejection. But although their story is sad, it is also beautiful and extremely insightful. I loved the amount of insight Morgan incorporated into the novel. It is explained how and why certain things happened, and everything makes perfect sense. Although some of the explanations and background are the author's speculation, it is obvious Morgan did his research and dove into the very minds of the Brontes, revealing their psyches in this novel. In this respect, the character development is quite amazing and the story as a whole is a poignant and emotional read. Morgan took a risk, but he succeeded.

Another thing I enjoyed is how well it is shown why and how the Bronte sisters became authors. Writing was a significant part of their lives since infancy, their way to cope, to escape, to exist, and it makes perfect sense that these women became well-known, respected and loved novelists. Morgan connects their lives to the novels, showing how their books reflect their lives, how Charlotte lives in Jane Eyre (Jane Eyre), Emily in aspects of Heathcliff and Catherine (Wuthering Heights), and Anne in Agnes Grey (Agnes Grey). By knowing the sisters, it is easier to understand their novels.

I am very pleased, both as a fan of the Brontes and as an every-day reader. This truly is a fascinating read and a fresh take on the three famous sisters. You will also learn about their brother Branwell, their sisters Maria and Elizabeth, as well as their father and mother. The lives of their friends are included. Anyone who affected the sisters in any way is present in the novel and made into a round character.

This is a must-read for any fan of the Brontes.

Read for the British Books Challenge (BBC).



Blodeuedd said...

Sad lives :( But they did write wonderful novels

The Insouciant Sophisticate said...

Sidenote: I thought it was so stupid that this was retitled "Charlotte and Emily" in the US because a. what about Anne? and b. it's not even just about those two but about their whole family and those whose lives intersected.

Great review!

Jo K said...

A well-researched biography which reads like a novel, that would be a great read. I love Jane Eyre, too. I think I will have to read this. Great review!

Peppermint Ph.D. said...

I'm adding this one to my Wishlist...I also need to read some of the Bronte novels as well:( I've spent so much of my education reading American Lit that I've neglected many British classics. Sounds like a wonderful read :)

Dot said...

I've had this sitting on my shelf for a while, great review!

Jan von Harz said...

My all time favorite classic is Jane Eyre and I think this book would be a wonderful read. I know very little about the sister's lives but would love to find out more. thanks for this amazing review.