Amity & Sorrow

Amity & Sorrow

3.6 16
by Peggy Riley

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Gale Group
Publication date:
Edition description:
Large Print
Product dimensions:
5.70(w) x 8.60(h) x 1.00(d)

Meet the Author

Peggy Riley is a writer and playwright. She recently won a Highly Commended prize in the 2011 Bridport Prize. Her short fiction has been broadcast on BBC Radio and has been published in "New Short Stories 4", Mslexia Magazine, and as an app on Ether Books. Her plays have been commissioned and produced off-West End, regionally and on tour. She has been a festival producer, a bookseller, and writer-in-residence at a young offender's prison. Originally from Los Angeles, Peggy now lives on the North Kent coast in Britain. She is currently working on her second novel, which will be set in the women's internment camp on the Isle of Man during WWII.

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Amity & Sorrow: A Novel 3.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 16 reviews.
CherylM-M More than 1 year ago
Faith, love and trust are questioned in this story about polygamy and a cult...It is written in a way that I found quite annoying at first. Stunted, almost lacking in vocabulary and description. Then it becomes clear that we are listening to the voice of Amity for the majority of the book. That writing became irrelevant after the first few pages. It is hard to explain, but despite the odd flow of language the story just drew me in. It was like a spider weaving an unorthodox web and enticing me to just read a little bit more. I am not exactly sure if I will be able to pinpoint why but I really enjoyed this book. Amity, her sister Sorrow and their mother have escaped the clutches of the man they call husband, father and God. This is a story about the control of one man, his congregation of fifty wives and the subsequent children. This book looks Polygamy straight in the face and questions the validity of its existence in our day and age. It also takes a hard look at the fine line between religion and cult. How mere people elevate themselves to a higher sphere and equate themselves to God. Then as that 'God' they use their power to control, manipulate, harm and abuse those that want to believe in the higher power that walks upon earth. Sorrow is a prime example and result of that abuse and I as reader often forgot to separate the madness from the clarity in her actions. A product of the abuse, the madness or perhaps a combination of everything. We see Amity struggle with the abandonment of the rules and whilst part of her wants to ease her sisters pain the other part acknowledges how dangerous Sorrow has become. Their complete ignorance of anything educational or basic social skills is just another example of how these type of cults breed their own disciples. They know nothing else. I thoroughly enjoyed this very distinctive and memorable book. I received a free copy of this book via NetGalley.
TheLifeofaBookAddict More than 1 year ago
I have always had a bit of an interest in cults. But this is the very first time I have read a book pertaining to them. I am glad that I gave this one a try. It was different than my normal reads, but in a good way. The story interchanged from the past to the present to show what lead Amity and Sorrows’ mom, Amaranth to join the polygamous cult they were in and what promoted her years later to finally make the big decision to pick up and leave. Amity and Sorrow’s previous life on the farm restricted their ability to do a lot. Because of this it’s pretty understandable that they would struggle with trying to fit into the new modern world they have been thrown into. Amity is loyal to a fault when it comes to her sister. Even though it’s a struggle, she seemed more willing to try and forge a new life for herself. Sorrow is supposed to be the special and chosen one from her community. Forced to leave everything behind, she still did not want to give her past life up. She wanted to go back to her old life and the way things were because that was all she knew. My only big issue was that I felt like Amaranth should have done something sooner than she had originally. I thought she waited too late. Amity & Sorrow is a slow and steady paced novel that was easy to read through; but it is not a light story by any means. It has some dark, sad, and definitely heart tugging moments. The writing style was for lack of a better word…different. But it did not stop me from enjoying the story and less. I wasn’t terribly happy with the ending though, but Amity & Sorrow turned out to be a nice change of pace for me. I liked it. **I received this book on behalf of Little, Brown and Company in exchange for nothing, but my honest opinion. Thank you**
lsmeadows More than 1 year ago
The current cultural spotlight on polygamous cults has peaked my interest in the subject, and it was for this reason that I decided to accept the invitation of Little, Brown and Company to read an ARC of Amity & Sorrow: A Novel ,Peggy Riley's debut novel, and review it. I started the book with trepidation as several of my friends thought that it was just okay. At first I thought I would agree, but the more I got into the story, the more that I realized that this book was going to be one that spoke to me on a certain level.  The success of cults in our culture is a subject that has fascinated me for quite a while. For this reason I am drawn to books where the cult phenomena takes center stage. I admit, my purpose in reading these stories is to try to shed some light on why cults are so successful.  Amaranth is the first wife of Zachariah, the patriarch of a polygamous cult. The central story in this book revolves around what happens to her when she decides to flee the cult and take her two daughters, Amity & Sorrow, with her. The three of them end up in Oklahoma, stuck on a farm in the middle of nowhere with the man who owns the farm, his father, and his adopted son. The compelling story of what transpires between the girls, their mother, and the inhabitants of the farm, and how it transforms the lives of everyone involved, is only half of the story, though. The other half of the story is about their life in the cult, which is told through the memories of the three characters that escaped the cult. It is this part of the story where the author attempts to answer the basic question about the psychology of a cult that is my prime fascination. These two sides of Amity & Sorrow's story and the way that the author was able to successfully entwine them was what drew me into this book.  I also liked the way that the author used the characters of Amaranth, Sorrow, Amity, Bradley, his father, and Dust to represent the various layers of the story. Through the individual stories of these characters we see the contrast between the world of the true believer, the world of the non believer, and the world of those still trying to make up their minds.  When discussing this book with friend, the most common negative comment that I came across was the author's unconventional writing style. I do admit, the writing style was different, and for the first few chapters I found it a bit distracting. After I got into the story, though, it ceased being something to overcome and became an integral part of the story as a whole. In fact, as the story continued, I felt that the author's writing style, like the behavior of some of the main characters, became less strange and more -- normal, for want of a better word.  All in all, I found this book, its characters, and what it had to say about the psychology of a cult interesting. It showed me various sides of a question that fascinates me, and took me on a journey that I was glad to take. I thank Little, Brown and Company for the opportunity to read and review it.
reececo331 More than 1 year ago
Two sisters, and their mother escape the aftermath of a raid on their compound. Their mother has come to the realization that their father has betrayed their beliefs, made new rules that made little to no since, and may have abused her oldest daughter. She must save the girls from his diabolical plans. She must escape his influence and power. But just physically leaving has not created peace for her, can she really save her children?
ReadersFavorite More than 1 year ago
Reviewed by Kim Heimbuch for Readers' Favorite Amaranth and her two teenage daughters were staring death in the face as her polygamist husband pledged to take them into the heavens while federal agents waited outside to take action. With her daughters, she flees as far away as she can to escape the horrors and nightmares of the life she has known. Barely knowing how to drive, and with nothing to their name but the items in the trunk, and nowhere to go, Amaranth soon finds herself wrapping the car around the only tree in sight. They are stranded at a rundown gas station, hungry, and the two young girls are utterly terrified. Can Amaranth make a new life for them here in this forsaken place? How do you convince your teenage daughters everything they have been taught is a lie and that their father is not the man they have been lead to believe he is?  Amity and Sorrow is an emotional roller coaster through a life filled with mental anguish, lies, and abuse that provides a way out, and had me questioning what happens when those you love don’t want out and will try and find their way back at all costs, even at the expense of other lives? Author Peggy Riley fills Amity and Sorrow with such defined personalities, sparing no detail, and had me needing to know chapter after chapter what was to come. Amity and Sorrow will leave you on the edge of your seat with suspense as an entire new reality comes crashing down. My only question is when will the next book be coming out?
DubaiReader1 More than 1 year ago
An excellent Book Club choice. This was an interesting read because the author managed to evoke a kind of surreal atmosphere, not in the way of fantasy, but effectively depicting the strangeness of a world not previously experienced. Amity and Sorrow are teenage sisters who have been raised in a religious commune and know nothing of the world outside, they cannot read and have lived all their lives in a polygamous cult with strict rules. When a suspicious fire drives their mother to escape from the commune with her two daughters, the sisters find themselves in an alien world. After four days of driving, Amaranth, their mother, crashes the car into a tree and they are all stranded in an isolated farm, with a brusque farmer and his elderly dad. The book follows their reactions to their new surroundings. Each of them behaves differently, but they all feel a strong pull to the 'family' that they have left. Flashbacks provide the reader with an insight into life in the cult, where one husband has taken fifty wives. The children run wild, with many mothers. There are various rituals, such as winding their chests with cloth, and spinning, which supposedly brings the women closer to each other. But there are darker goings on behind the surface. A fascinating read, with a really weird feel as the girls and their mother adjust. Not quite five stars though because I found it a bit confusing at times. This is a book that would make an excellent book group read, as there are some parts that are left in the air and I'd really like to know what others thought.....
RebeccaScaglione More than 1 year ago
Amity & Sorrow by Peggy Riley seems to have mixed reviews, even from my trusted blogger friends. But I'm not mixed about my feelings in the least.  This book was amazing!  Dark and full of desperation and sadness, for sure. Amity & Sorrow is a story about two sisters, Amity, age 12, and Sorrow, older, but unsure of her exact age, who escape with their mother Amaranth from a dangerous polygamous cult. Amaranth, first wife of fifty wives, decides it's time to escape when she realizes a few hard truths. Amity and Sorrow have a difficult time adjusting to life in the "real world" outside of the cult, and Sorrow resists wholeheartedly. This story is about the cult, sexual perversions (but not graphic), sorrow, and trying to create a new life in a world with many unknowns. I don't think this book is for everyone.  It's dark, creepy, depressing.  But it's a unique book and very interesting, if you can handle the hopelessness it induces. Thanks for reading, Rebecca @ Love at First Book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Odd story. Complex characters. Deep subject. Religious views of a cult explored. Insanity shown. Overall different.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The_Book_Wheel_Blog More than 1 year ago
Decent A few months ago, Amity & Sorrow by Peggy Riley made the book blogger rounds and it was a big hit. I tried to snag a copy of it on NetGalley but missed the deadline and was lucky enough to have Leah in my life, who sent me her paperback copy. Now that I’ve read it, I’m not quite sure how it got to be so popular. Don’t get me wrong – the book is good and I didn’t dislike it. I finished it within 36 hours so it obviously has its redeeming qualities. For one, the story is interesting (a mother and her two daughters fleeing a polygamist compound is automatically intriguing). And two, the ending was unexpected. Unfortunately, the experience was a bit fuzzy. I don’t know if it was the writing style or lack of character development that kept me at an arms length from the story, but I was unable to connect with it.¿ ¿Part of the problem, for me, was that I went into the book thinking it was more about the polygamist culture than it was. Because the book starts off when the women flee the compound, I should have known that their lifestyle was hindsight and not the main focus. But based on other reviews that I had read, I thought that it was going to be more in-depth. Despite my underwhelming response to this book, I am looking forward to reading some non-fiction books written by wives that have left their polygamist cultures. Maybe that is what I was looking for without fully realizing it until the end of Amity & Sorrow. So before you decide whether to read this book, check out some other reviews!
Nicnac63 More than 1 year ago
I couldn’t get through this book. It is too intense. That’s not to say it wasn’t beautifully written, powerful, and memorable. It just isn’t my type of reading. I won’t lower my rating, however, due to personal subject  preferences. From what I read, it is a lyrical, commanding book.
Cadia More than 1 year ago
Interesting , but a very depressing book . Because the book is a subject that I find interesting I read all of the book , otherwise I would have walked away...
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I found this book boring and depressing. I wanted to yell,"Wake up, don't you see what is happening" to the characters.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The only reason I read this book was I payed for it. I hate wasting money. It never got better as it went along.