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Sing in the Morning, Cry at Night


A page-turning debut novel set in Scranton, Pennsylvania, during the height of coal mining, vaudeville, and evangelism.

$15.95 $11.96

Available as an e-book for:

What people are saying…

Named a Best Summer Book for 2014 by Publishers Weekly

Nominated for a 2014 Lime Award for Excellence in Fiction

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 can just as unexpectedly bring them back together again.”
Publishers Weekly, Best Summer Book for 2014

“Solomon enticingly described the novel Sing in the Morning, Cry at Night by Barbara J. Taylor (Akashic), set in a coal-mining town in 1913, as ‘one of those sit on the couch and don’t bother me’ reads.”
Shelf Awareness, NCIBA Spring Rep Picks

“An absolute gem of a book filled with beautiful characters and classical writing techniques rarely seen in modern literature.”
The Christian Manifesto, Top Fiction Pick of 2014

“This story is at once poignant and hopeful, spiced up by such characters as Billy Sunday, the revivalist, and Grief, the specter who haunts Grace to the very edge of sanity. A rich debut.”
Historical Novel Society

“Like Dickens, the novel faces family tragedy, in this case the town blaming 8-year-old Violet Morgan for her older sister’s death. As her parents fall victim to their own vices, Violet learns how to form her own friendships to survive.”
—Arts.Mic, Here’s What Book You Should Read Next, Based on Your Favorite Classics

“A fantastic novel worthy of the greatest accolades. Writing a book about a historical event can be difficult, as is crafting a bestseller, but Barbara J. Taylor is successful at both.”
Downtown Magazine

“Taylor’s careful attention to detail and her deep knowledge of the community and its people give the novel a welcome gravity.”
The Columbus Dispatch

“One of the most compelling books I’ve ever read . . . a haunting story that will stay with the reader long after reading this novel.”
Story Circle Book Reviews

“Rave reviews are pouring in for this historical novel of a family tragedy.”
The Halifax Reader, “6 New Books to Look for in July”

“This well written book is peopled with characters the reader can really care about and captures the feeling of a gritty twentieth century coal mining community.”
Breakthrough, newsletter of the Osteogenesis Imperfecta Foundation

“Like all good historical fiction, I learned from this novel.”
Time 2 Read

“This book has . . . prizewinner written all over it. . . . Worth the read!”
I’ve Read This

“This haunting story of tragedy and hope in an early twentieth century mining town is . . . an expertly crafted arrow that shoots straight for the heart. Reminiscent of classics such as How Green Was My Valley . . . this book is a must-read for fans of character-driven, authentic historical fiction.”
Amy Drown Blog

“This is an incredibly well written novel that has the kind of historical accuracy and details that make reading historical novels a treasure. . . . Not to be missed.”
She Treads Softly

“The story may have a sad premise, but Taylor convinces the reader to join her in the tale, as we watch bewildered Violet try to find a space in her new world.”
A New Day

“A beautiful, haunting book . . . heartbreaking and moving, and ultimately beautiful.”
Constantly Reading Momma

“No one without a heart as big and warm as Barbara Taylor’s possibly could have written a story about a family tragedy that’s infused with so much hope and love, humor, mystery, and down-to-earth wisdom. This is a book I’ll want to give to people. I could not put it down and can’t wait to be captured again by the next book this wonderful human being writes.”
—Beverly Donofrio, author of Astonished: A Story of Evil, Blessings, Grace, and Solace

“Not since reading Richard Llewellyn’s How Green Was My Valley fifty years ago have I felt such empathy and love through fiction for a place, a time, and a people. Sing in the Morning, Cry at Night is a book of equal power and beauty, a bittersweet tale set in early-twentieth-century Wyoming Valley, Pennsylvania, the heart and soul of America’s anthracite coal-mining region, a place where Grace and Grief—now, as then—walk hand in hand.”
—Sara Pritchard, author of Help Wanted: Female

“The world of Christian miners—the hard core of the anthracite mining industry in northeast Pennsylvania—is beautifully evoked by Barbara J. Taylor in this remarkable novel. I found myself drawn back to its pages, living deeply in its world as I read. The sense of place—a place I know well, as I grew up there—is vividly realized. This is a lyrical, passionate novel that will hold readers in its thrall. A first-rate debut.”
—Jay Parini, author of The Last Station


The latest novel in Akashic’s Kaylie Jones Books imprint.

Almost everyone in town blames eight-year-old Violet Morgan for the death of her nine-year-old sister, Daisy. Sing in the Morning, Cry at Night opens on September 4, 1913, two months after the Fourth of July tragedy. Owen, the girls’ father, “turns to drink” and abandons his family. Their mother Grace falls victim to the seductive powers of Grief, an imagined figure who has seduced her off-and-on since childhood. Violet forms an unlikely friendship with Stanley Adamski, a motherless outcast who works in the mines as a breaker boy. During an unexpected blizzard, Grace goes into premature labor at home and is forced to rely on Violet, while Owen is “off being saved” at a Billy Sunday Revival. Inspired by a haunting family story, Sing in the Morning, Cry at Night blends real life incidents with fiction to show how grace can be found in the midst of tragedy.

Kaylie Jones is the award-winning author of five novels and a memoir. She teaches writing at two MFA programs and lives in New York City.

Check out features on Sing in the Morning, Cry at Night at Katherine Krige’s blog, A New Day; at the Tattered Cover Bookstore’s blog, Between the Covers; at Onyx Magazine; at BookMark/WPSU 91.5 FM (a State College, PA NPR affiliate); at Time 2 Read; and at the Allentown Morning Call.

Read interviews with Barbara J. Taylor Publishers Weekly, The 570, Pocono Record, Prime Number Magazine, Citizens Voice, Scranton Times-Tribune, and Land of Books.

Read a post by Barbara J. Taylor on what she’s been reading recently at Writers Read. Read a post by Barbara J. Taylor on who she’d cast in the movie version of Sing in the Morning, Cry at Night at My Book, the Movie.

Listen to an interview with Barbara J. Taylor at ArtScene with Erika Funke, WVIA-FM 89.9 (a Scranton, PA NPR affiliate).

Read a guest post by Barbara J. Taylor at A Novel Group of Huskies, who selected Sing in the Morning, Cry at Night as their summer reading choice for July.

Read a spotlight on Barbara J. Taylor and her event at the Friends’ Memorial Public Library in Kane, PA at the Bradford Era.


Book Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Published: 7/1/14
  • IBSN: 9781617752278
  • e-IBSN: 9781617752858


BARBARA J. TAYLOR was born and raised in Scranton, Pennsylvania. She sets her novels in the hometown she loves and fills them with miners, evangelists, vaudevillians, nuns, gangsters, prostitutes, widows, musicians, dreamers, and a seer or two. She is the author of Sing in the Morning, Cry at Night and All Waiting Is Long. Rain Breaks No Bones is the final installment in her Scranton Trilogy.

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