The Taste of Sorrow by Jude Morgan
Headline Publishing 2009
This recent book was chosen partly because of the two Bronte-themed films currently showing and because this bookworm had been intrigued by this dramatic re-telling of the Bronte story, written by Jude Morgan. Almost all the group thought the book had been written by a woman until they checked, and this may be due to the nature of the subject and the style of writing. This book is written as a novel with imagined conversations and thoughts.
The book was received with mixed reactions. Some of the group thought it was very well written but were annoyed by its detailed descriptions and almost unbelievable story line. That is until they checked out the Brontes’ lives and discovered that all the facts described in such detail were, in fact, true! Comment was made by one reader that nothing actually happened to them but others disagreed, mentioning the fact that in the time in which they were living, the three sisters, Charlotte, Emily and Anne experienced more than many other women of the early 19thC and wrote novels which have become loved throughout the world. This book covers their childhood experiences, their working and emotional lives
and much more.
Each of the women develops as a very distinct personality within the book. The men in their lives also figure prominently and the disreputable Branwell, the brother of the three authors, is treated as ill rather than mad. The father, Patrick, is a fascinating if deeply troubled figure torn between love for his children and a desire to escape from grim reality. Even the cook and the maids play an important part in the descriptions of household events.
If you want an interesting biography of the Bronte household, you could do far worse than this as a good winter time read, with dramatic episodes, descriptions of life in Haworth and further afield, strongly drawn characters and good story-telling. Although a sad tale, it has its lighter moments. One person later described the book as “brilliant” – once she had finished reading it!