Amity & Sorrow by Peggy Riley

Publication Date: April 2013
Categories: Literary, Contemporary Women, Religion

A mother and her daughters drive for days without sleep until they crash their car in rural Oklahoma. The mother, Amaranth, is desperate to get away from someone she’s convinced will follow them wherever they go–her husband. The girls, Amity and Sorrow, can’t imagine what the world holds outside their father’s polygamous compound. 

Rescue comes in the unlikely form of Bradley, a farmer grieving the loss of his wife. At first unwelcoming to these strange, prayerful women, Bradley’s abiding tolerance gets the best of him, and they become a new kind of family. An unforgettable story of belief and redemption, Amity & Sorrow is about the influence of community and learning to stand on your own.

My Thoughts:

A few of my favorite bloggers have had wonderful things to say about this book recently. After reading their reviews I had a feeling that this would be a book I could sink my teeth into. I requested it from Netgalley, was approved, and started reading it immediately. 

I love when I’m right. I did sink into this tale and rarely lifted my eyes from this book until I was finished.

Amity & Sorrow describes a life that I can only imagine. Amaranth’s daughters have been so sheltered that reading their experiences outside of the polygamous cult was like seeing the world through the eyes of much younger children. 

Amity is open to her new experiences. She is eager to learn about this new place she’s found herself in. Sorrow, on the other hand, is extremely disturbed and wants nothing more than to go back to the life she had with her father. 

This story is sometimes disturbing. What was started as an idealized way to live and love devolves into an alarming lifestyle. (The consummation of every new wife is witnessed by all previous wives, etc.)

As the author, Peggy Riley, says in the video below: Amity & Sorrow is a book about God, sex, and farming. How can you resist that? 

Other bloggers thoughts:

That’s What She Read
Words for Worms
BermudaOnion’s Weblog
The Picky Girl
Linus’s Blanket (An interview with Peggy Riley)

22 thoughts on “Amity & Sorrow by Peggy Riley

  1. Amity & Sorrow sounds intriguing! I read a memoir about a polygamous cult before and it was hard to put down. It was called Shattered Dreams.I'll have to keep an eye out for this one.


  2. Currently thinking of requesting this, too. Interesting to hear the description from the author (that God sex farming part), it's made me view it in a slightly different light, as in made me think there might be more to it than I'd thought.


  3. Cults are freaky and fascinating, but I think I prefer reading about them in general – not in fiction form. Amity & Sorrow was good, but it was also just so foreign to me. I just couldn't really get over Amaranth's complicity in what happens to her daughters and the naive belief that she could just put them in school & they'd learn. After not having any real knowledge or reading skills, no way would that work. Just strange.


  4. Your review was one of the ones that prompted me to download this book. I was pre-approved but the topic put me off. I read your review and a few others and just had to read it. I just finished off my thoughts for posting on my blog later today.


  5. I received a galley from the book's UK publisher, Tinder Press, and I… could not get into it. I was kind of lukewarm on the premise, and I ended up putting it down after 90 pages. But I keep seeing such great reviews of it! To each her own, I guess.


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