Amity & Sorrow by Peggy Riley

How did I get the book?  StorytellerInc Book Club – Book 15

Genre: Contemporary

Additional: This is the first book in a few months that I hadn’t already read, hence the jump from book 9.

Synopsis: Two sisters sit in the backseat of a car, bound at the wrists by a strip of white cloth. Their mother, Amaranth, drives for days without pause, desperate to get away from the husband she fears will follow them to the earth’s end. Her daughters, Amity and Sorrow, cannot comprehend why they’re fleeing or fathom what exists outside their father’s polygamous compound. When an exhausted Amaranth crashes their car in rural Oklahoma, rescue arrives in the form of Bradley, a farmer not unfamiliar with loss and uncertain futures. At first mistrustful of the strange, prayerful trio, Bradley allows his abiding tolerance to get the best of him, and the four become a new kind of family.

200words (or less) review: Amity & Sorrow isn’t a book I’d normally read so I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. The beginning certainly grabs you; Amaranth crashes the car after four days of driving with no rest. Sorrow (her eldest daughter) has locked herself into the public toilet and won’t come out, when they break down the door there is blood everywhere.

The book is divided into months, May to July with occasional flashback chapters. After it becomes clear that the car can’t be fixed and Amaranth has no means to travel further the farmer of the land they crashed on agrees to let them stay.

Despite the opening Amity & Sorrow is a slow burner. I really liked the writing and the way Amity grew as a character but I never really connected to her mother or Sorrow. What happened to Sorrow is awful but she’s really hard to care about and the kitten moment was too awful.

Amity & Sorrow is an interesting book and shows the damage cults can do. While I didn’t get as emotionally involved as I would have liked I did find the story fascinating.

Recommend it?


Peggy Riley will be at StorytellerInc
on Thursday 26th September @ 8pm.
7 The Crescent
St Annes on Sea, FY8 1SN

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