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Review: Amity & Sorrow

April 18, 2013

Amity & Sorrow

Amaranth escapes with her two daughters, Sorrow and Amity, from the compound they live on with her polygamist husband (he’s the girls’ father) and his other 49 wives.  She drives as long as she can before exhaustion takes over and she falls asleep and crashes the car into a tree.  Amaranth fears her husband is after them and is desperate to get farther away, Sorrow is desperate to get back to the compound and her father, and Amity rather likes this new world she’s found herself in.

Amity & Sorrow, by Peggy Riley, is kind of hard for me to describe.  It took me a little while to get into the book because it’s rather unsettling but, once I did, I was hooked.  Although the book does describe parts of the life they lived in the compound, it doesn’t go into great detail.  Rather, it focuses on Amaranth’s life before joining up with her husband and the life of Amaranth and her two daughters after their escape.  I have to admit that some of it is chilling and literally caused me to gasp a time or two.

For some reason, I’m fascinated by polygamy and often struggle to understand why some women accept living under conditions like that.  Even though this is a fictional cult, Amaranth’s story gave me some insight into how it could happen.  I don’t want to say too much about it, though, because readers need to discover her story for themselves.

When Amaranth crashes her car on a farmer’s land, he’s not too happy about it, but Amaranth comes to realize he may be her only hope.  Her desperation broke my heart.  Her family and the farmer’s family can help each other if they can get past their fears.   I can’t imagine what it would be like to leave such a secular lifestyle to live in our society but I rooted for Amaranth and her daughters and urged them to make good decisions.  It’s a whole new world for Sorrow and Amity – they’ve been isolated and are uneducated – and they don’t know how to adjust.

Amity & Sorrow is told in a non-linear fashion – the story starts in the present day and flashes back to the past.  It took a little while to get into the rhythm of the writing but I was quickly sucked into the story.  I felt somewhat disjointed as I closed this book, so it’s hard for me to say I loved it, but I certainly appreciated it very much.  I’ve been thinking about it since I finished it and have talked about it a lot, so I think Amity & Sorrow would make a great book club pick.  I recommend this thought provoking book!

Review copy provided by Hachette Books.  I am an Indiebound Affiliate.

Amity & Sorrow blog tour

30 Comments leave one →
  1. April 18, 2013 6:26 am

    It sure does sound like a good choice for bookclubs! Even when I’m not thrilled with books, if they provoke discussions it makes them worth reading!

  2. sandynawrot permalink
    April 18, 2013 6:52 am

    I agree it could be discussable, but I’m not a huge fan of the whole cult plot line. I haven’t decided yet whether I am willing to pursue this one or not, especially when I have such a huge stack waiting for me after my 3.5 week stint with Wind Up Bird!

  3. April 18, 2013 7:17 am

    I was intrigued by the story when it first came in, and your review certainly captures how heartbreaking their journey was. I agree, it would make a good book club selection. Great review!

  4. April 18, 2013 7:32 am

    I get annoyed sometimes why people stay in such relationships forever and have to chide myself that it takes a lot of courage to start anew. Having seen personally (through my orphanage) the results of this kind of life it makes me more angry than anything else.

  5. April 18, 2013 10:23 am

    I’m still not sure I’ll read this one.It sounds riveting but something is keeping me from jumping on board.

  6. April 18, 2013 11:13 am

    I saw your post this morning but had never heard of this author, And then, lo and behold, I saw that she is going to be appearing in my area (Northern California) next Wednesday, the 24th. Based on your recommendation, I would go see her and buy her book. Unfortunately, I can’t make it that night. I will see if she is making more than one appearance.

  7. Literary Feline permalink
    April 18, 2013 11:22 am

    I am so glad you enjoyed this one, Kathy. I have it on my Kindle to read and am looking forward to it. Cults and cult thinking interests me and so this one seems like it will be right up my alley.

  8. April 18, 2013 12:01 pm

    I’ve seen this book in a couple of bookshops and abandoned it for others…perhaps I shouldn’t have. Next time I see it, I’ll pick it up….these storylines interest me.

  9. April 18, 2013 12:42 pm

    This sounds fascinating!

  10. April 18, 2013 2:10 pm

    Wonderful review! This sounds like a great book for book clubs, or for individual readers, like me! 🙂

  11. April 18, 2013 2:36 pm

    I wouldn’t have thought that polygamist cults would fascinate me…but then I got hooked on Big Love on TV…and then it ended.

    As much as I would hate that lifestyle, I could also understand those who embrace it.

    Escape must make such a suspenseful story….and I am definitely adding this one to my list.

  12. April 18, 2013 3:22 pm

    I’m fascinated by the subject matter, but not sure my distracted mind could handle the jumping around.

  13. zibilee permalink
    April 18, 2013 3:27 pm

    I am so hooked on this one now, and haven’t had much time to read it in the last couple of days, but am hoping to finish it tonight. I also can’t stop talking about it, and thinking about it. I feel so sorry for the little family, especially Amity. I don’t really like Sorrow that much because she is mean, like I told you before, but she is also really damaged. The whole thing fascinates me. I think it’s a great book, and it is keeping me on tenterhooks. I could talk about this one all day, so I will stop here!! Excellent and very provocative review today!!

  14. Patty permalink
    April 18, 2013 4:03 pm

    It does sound so intense. I have it for review so I will hit it soon…

  15. April 18, 2013 4:08 pm

    Sounds like an emotional and suspenseful book. You’re right, I think it would make a great discussion for book clubs.

  16. April 18, 2013 5:42 pm

    I have this book on my Kindle, and wasn’t sure how I’d like it. After reading your review I want to get to it asap!

  17. April 18, 2013 7:00 pm

    I’m usually interested in this subject matter also. Sounds like one I should add to my list!

  18. April 18, 2013 7:09 pm

    49 wives! That’s making me cringe. I’m fascinated by polygamy too and this sounds like one I should read.

  19. April 18, 2013 7:22 pm

    I do plan to read this one — thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  20. April 18, 2013 7:35 pm

    I too am fascinated by the polygamist life style. This one sounds very interesting and thought provoking!!!

  21. therelentlessreader permalink
    April 18, 2013 7:37 pm

    I recently finished this one myself. It was definitely a page turner for me. I didn’t want to put it down. The lifestyle fascinates me. Very compelling read 🙂

  22. April 18, 2013 10:19 pm

    I was tempted by this book, but for the moment, am going to pass on it and get some of the ones sitting on my stack read. If there would be a three month hold on new releases, I’d get caught up!!

  23. April 19, 2013 6:01 am

    I agree that it’d be a good book club choice.

  24. April 19, 2013 11:42 am

    Oh! I wasn’t sure about this one, but I think your review intrigued me just enough to finally convince me. I want to read it now!

  25. April 19, 2013 6:24 pm

    After reading your review, I can’t wait to read this one.

  26. April 20, 2013 9:43 pm

    I have the opposite reaction to books about polygamy!

  27. April 21, 2013 4:23 pm

    This book’s cover has caught my attention before, but yours is the first review I’ve read of it. It sounds fascinating! I honk books that are nonlinear, and hard to describe, must be counted among my favorites.

  28. swright9 permalink
    April 22, 2013 10:45 pm

    I guess polygamy makes me shudder and gives me the creeps, not sure about reading about it. I feel sorry for many of these women, caught in this situation. Run! sounds good to me.

  29. bookingmama permalink
    April 25, 2013 9:01 pm

    I enjoyed this one… if you can call it that. I found it so disturbing on quite a few levels, but it was also hopeful (if that makes sense.)

  30. April 27, 2013 8:54 pm

    I have this eBook and look forward to it. It looks interesting.

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