Amity & Sorrow by Peggy Riley – Book Review

Amity & Sorrow by Peggy Riley

Amity & Sorrow propels readers through the collision of a lonely farmer and a woman on the run from a failed communal experiment—her fearful and reluctant teenage daughters in tow. Riley deftly explores the bonds and boundaries of love, faith, and responsibility when passionate and well-intentioned ideals stray far from their origins in this emotionally fraught debut. – Me (from Bloggers Recommend)

This was an intriguing and challenging read, and I commend Peggy Riley for the way she used the girls’ (Amity and Sorrow) oddities to convey the sheltered lives they lead in their compound with 50 wives/mothers and countless children. I wouldn’t want to be Amaranth as she tries to unravel how she and her husband went so wrong – when all they wanted was to create an environment of love and acceptance – or her daughters who are so sheltered as to be both in danger, and dangerous to themselves and others. There is a richness here and so, so many levels to this story. It was even hard to place it in a time period because their isolation was so complete, that there was barely a context for it. Anyone interested in women’s issues, religions, cults and superb storytelling won’t want to miss this layered and impressive debut.

Peggy Riley stopped by the blog for an Out of Twenty. Check it out for more on these characters, her research and this novel.

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  1. I have to admit it doesn’t call to me because it seems so disturbing and dark but everyone loves it, so I guess I need to trust you all.

    1. It is really good Sandy. Though it is difficult reading for sure, it is hopeful as well. For the most part all are making a new start, or trying. And they are all so deeply characterized. Riley didn’t shy away from how “other” they were, and I would read thinking, “Man, this is really weird.” But I just had to keep going.

  2. I bought it! Now I just have to find the time to read it. I’m in a dark and twisty book mood so I should move this one up the list.