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Amity and Sorrow

3.17  ·  Rating details ·  2,710 ratings  ·  559 reviews
In the wake of a suspicious fire, Amaranth gathers her children and flees from the fundamentalist cult in which her children were born and raised. Now she is on the run with only her barely aged teenage daughters, Amity and Sorrow, neither of whom have seen the outside world, to help her. After four days of driving Amaranth crashes the car, leaving the family stranded at a ...more
Hardcover, 284 pages
Published March 28th 2013 by Tinder Press
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Average rating 3.17  · 
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Robin (Saturndoo)
May 28, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013-read
Normally I am drawn into books about the polygamist lifestyle as I find it very interesting. For some reason, this book just didn't satisfy that curiosity. The plot was interesting but the author failed in the delivery as there are many different areas she could have explored. This would have been a much better book if more time was spent on the past lives of these women rather than their boring escape.

The book's pacing was VERY SLOW but then again why hurry when it's going no where. The writing
Diane S ☔
Jan 06, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Cults, members of cults, a mother and her two daughters, a farmer in Oklahoma and his somewhat adopted son, Rust,and an old man, these are the characters that make up this debut novel. I found the writing addictive, this novel taught me more than any other book about the reasons people join cults and the effect that being the member of a polygamous cult has on its people. Amity, who is twelve, is the main narrator and we see the world through her eyes. When her mother takes her and her sister es ...more
Tara Chevrestt
I couldn't stand this book for many reasons.

1. I'm all about STRONG women and this does not contain one. I was expecting the adventure of a group of a women smart enough to up and walk away from a cult and while the mother took her daughters away, she is so brainwashed and dumb and was such an ENABLER all along, turning a blind eye to the most ridiculous of crap (Fields are evil??? WTF?) that I could feel no pity for her.

2. Some should have just offed Sorrow. She's a menace to society and the m
May 22, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
If you're in the mood for a light beach read, this is NOT the book for you. Neither will a reader find much light hearted cheerfulness within these pages. "Amity& Sorrow" is a book about 2 young teenage girls and their mother fleeing from a polygamous community. It is a rather ambitious novel and the writing style does take some getting used to.
In the early stages of reading the book, I was torn between putting the book down and continuing onward. I am happy to say that I chose the latter and b
Apr 21, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Two sisters sit, side by side, in the backseat of an old car. Amity and Sorrow. Their hands are hot and close together. A strip of white fabric loops between them, tying them together, wrist to wrist.

This was a beautifully written debut novel about the ties that bind. It’s a story of God, sex and farming. Amaranth and her two daughters, Amity and Sorrow, flees from a religious sect, where she was the first of 50 wives to Zachariah, a self-proclaimed prophet. They end up in rural Oklahoma, where
Patrice Hoffman
There comes a book that simply makes you think. Amity & Sorrow is definitely the type of book that makes me think about religion, family, mothers, sisters, and home. Peggy Riley has managed to make a beautiful novel from some pretty difficult subjects such as incest, polygamy, cults, and abuse. Riley manages to make this novel not one of sadness or lasciviousness yet still tell the truth in a very insightful, truthful way.

Amaranth and her daughters, Amity and Sorrow, are found by a farmer named
Apr 04, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Read my full review:

My opinion: Although I had liked the general story of this book, I couldn't get past the writing style of this author. Although I do feel it was intentional to fit the storyline, I really couldn't get used to it. There was just something off to it that I can't at this immediate time put my finger on. Now, I have to admit that I have Goodreads friends who loved the writing style which was present in this book.

On a side note: Although I was approved for t
Mar 10, 2013 rated it really liked it
The idea was intriguing, but it was the opening that captured me.

A woman driving, desperate to escape her past, with her two daughters who were much less certain about whether they should go, whether they should leave the only home they had ever known.

Amity & Sorrow HBK dark.inddAfter four days they stopped. Because, and only because, Amaranth crashed the car. She had no money and no idea what to do. A local farmer found them. He noticed their strange dress, their rather old-fashioned manners, b
Amity and Sorrow tells the story of a family growing up in a cult in Utah. There is just one man, Zachariah, the fifty women he takes as wives and the more than twenty children he fathers. Zachariah goes out in search of lost women, promising them a safe haven. They live off the grid so now one really knows what's going on out there.

The story is told from the perspective of Amaranth. She was his first wife, saved by Zachariah when she was just eighteen and already struggling to survive. When Za
Amity & Sorrow opens on a dramatic scene, as a mother, Amaranth, and her two children - teenage Sorrow and twelve-year-old Amity - find themselves stranded in an isolated petrol station. After four days of driving, Amaranth has crashed her car and has no option but to accept help from Bradley, the farmer who owns the surrounding land, and Dust, the boy who works for him. It soon becomes clear that the trio have fled from a cult-like religious community, where Amaranth was the first of fifty 'wiv ...more
Aug 15, 2012 rated it really liked it
Although Amity & Sorrow is a fairly short novel at just 284 pages in the advance paperback edition, it is an intense and at times very difficult story to read. The subject matter is quite harrowing, and a subject that is rarely touched upon in fiction, and the writing is quite unique and distinct - it takes a little while to get used to the style.

Amaranth and her two daughters; Amity and Sorrow are fleeing their home, they have driven across country for four days and the only reason that they ha
Jan 24, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: book-club-pick, 2013
She didn’t know that preparing for the end of the world would make it that much more likely to come.

Amaranth is the first of the fifty wives of the prophet, and mother of two daughters, Amity and Sorrow. Sorrow is the eldest and holds a special place at their temple. She is the oracle, the one who transmits the word of God to the congregation. Amity is the younger sister, less zealous and sweeter tempered, with a gift for healing.

The children don’t go to school, don’t know their address, don’t k
Apr 16, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: literature
The devout and the devilish, they take centre stage in this tale, which characters fit that description would not be hard to surmise once completing this story.
Amity and Sorrow two sisters born into a family that consists of many mothers and one father. This was a really engrossing tale, the narrative has you really in the tale, with the right words usage and just the right sentencing, the author will have you captivated in the uncovering of the bizarre world that the two girls were raised in an
Lyn (Readinghearts)
May 21, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone looking for an interesting story of life after living in a cult.
Recommended to Lyn (Readinghearts) by: Little, Brown and Company through Netgalley
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 spo ...more
Sep 17, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book was interesting, and I am still trying to put all the pieces together. I was interested in reading it because I have a number of other polygamist novels and they always intrigue me. I can honestly say that I got a polygamist perspective, but there were soooooooo many holes in the story that just didn't make sense. Ultimately, the book fell short of its goal!!

Here are some of the problems I found--
I saw no way in which Bradley was mourning the loss of his wife. He was just angry.

Wanda Hartzenberg
Jun 27, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: cult
Amity and Sorrow
Peggy Riley
A Debut novel and an impressive one at that.
I could not resist this book once it became available for review.
The subject matter has always been one that fascinated me.
I loved the story. The pace is fast, the world building genuine and extremely disturbing.
The writing style itself took me some time to get used to but by the end of the book it added to the plot and no longer distracted.
The disturbing life story interspersed with humor was a fascinating read.
Kindle pu
Sarah Beth
I received a copy of this book from Net Galley.

I've read several novels that deal with polygamy and always found them interesting so I was drawn to this novel about a mother and her two teenage daughters who are fleeing from their polygamous compound. Amarenth was one of fifty wives, but decided to flee her husband when she finds proof that her husband is not as honorable and honest as she once thought. Yet her daughters Amity and Sorrow have never known a life outside of polygamy - they cannot
Jennifer Stephens
May 04, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction, reviewed
Amity and Sorrow is quite the unusual novel by Peggy Riley. It opens on the scene of a mother, Amaranth, driving her two daughters, Amity and Sorrow, down an Oklahoma country road. It quickly becomes evident that they are on the run from someone or something. Because the daughters are literally bound to one another via their arms in the backseat, and because the language is evocative of the south, I first assumed this was a story about an escape from slavery. Which it is, I suppose, but not in t ...more
Renita D'Silva
I have mixed feelings about this book. Let me start with what I liked:
1) Peggy Riley's writing is beautiful. Love her style,spare yet stunning-a hard balance to achieve. Really enjoyed the descriptions, the sense of place.

2)The story is very original and compelling, it drew me in from the first page and I wanted to know what happened next.

3)I liked Bradley the farmer, his father the old man and his interactions with Amity and Sorrow, especially with Amity. I adored Dust and Amity. I even under
Sonja Arlow
We are introduced to Amaranth and her two daughters, Amity & Sorrow when they flee from their polygamist cult only to crash their car in the middle of nowhere. The background of these three then slowly unfolds showing disturbing & creepy details about the rules and abuse of cult life.

While the storyline was captivating, the way it was written made me feel completely disconnected with all of the characters. There was just something off about it that I cannot immediately put my finger on.

Only the
Jun 13, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I had no idea what to expect with AMITY AND SORROW, but I'm so glad I picked it up. Sure, the plot is compelling (who wouldn't want to read about a mother and her two daughters escaped from a crazy religious cult?), but there's so much more to this book. The writing is excellent, the sister dynamics are superb, and the ending will haunt you for days. This is much more than sensationalism.
Cassie Gutman (happybooklovers)
I was particularly drawn to this one by the descriptive copy—anyone who's followed me for a while knows I'm fascinated by cults and the idea of "utopia" and what leads people to choose this life.

As much as I wanted to love this (and I didn't hate it), it overall just fell a bit flat. It was fine, nothing was wrong, and it was a decent read, but I felt as though we jumped between Amaranth (the mother) and Amity and Sorrow too much, and I never understood how each woman/girl felt about the things
Apr 19, 2013 rated it it was amazing
For as long as I can remember, I have always been fascinated by cults. Any kind of cult. Being a born and raised Texan, I think my fascination was fostered by the idea that there were so many different cults popping up in my backyard: Yearning for Zion, Branch Davidians, and Heaven’s Gate (ok, so Heaven’s Gate wasn’t located in Texas, but Marshall Applewhite was the chair of the music department where I went to college and was a Texan). I remember reading and watching programs about the Children ...more
Apr 17, 2013 rated it really liked it
I was very lucky to come across a paperback proof of Amity and Sorrow just a week or so after it had been published. I had already seen a great review of it elsewhere and knew I wanted to read it.
It starts with a car journey. A woman and her two not quite teenage daughters are in the car, they have been driving for four days. The mother Amaranth has taken her daughters to flee – running away from the only life they have ever known. That life was as part of a polygamous cult, Amaranth the first
Big Book Little Book
Mar 12, 2013 rated it really liked it
Caroline for
Copy provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review

This has been one of the hardest reviews to write. I’ve started, deleted and started again. I ignored, re-scheduled and stared at a blank computer screen but enough is enough. I will attempt to express the complicated feeling I have for Amity and Sorrow.

I have to confess that had I not been offered this book to review, If I had simply seen Amity and Sorrow in a book shop, I probably wouldn’t have pic
Aug 26, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: literary
Amaranth is on the run with her two teenage daughters, Amity and Sorrow. Exhausted after driving for days without sleep, she crashes the car, leaving them stranded. Help comes in the begrudging form of a farmer, Bradley, who lets them sleep on his porch despite their weird ways. For she is running from a cult, where she was the first wife among fifty and her daughters have never known anything other than the rule of the Father.

The girls very much reflect their namesakes. Amity, once she has got
Aug 19, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: debut
'She has had to run far and fast to pull herself loose from him, to rip those stitches, but still she can feel how bound she is...'

Amity and Sorrow are sisters, and we meet them as they are on the run with their mother Amaranth, from their home which is now on fire. It was the only place the two of them have ever known; they know nothing of the outside world. Their mother has driven for four days solid in a desperate bid to escape the life she has been living, to take them away from her husband,
Miranda Ruth
Feb 25, 2013 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: contemporary fiction for those with strong stomachs - deals with extreme religious and sexual abuse
Recommended to Miranda Ruth by: Amazon Vine
In an ultra-libertarian society, how do you define right and wrong? It’s a problem that has been addressed frequently in American fiction. When Amaranth and her two teenage daughters flee a fundamentalist cult, they reverse the journey of Steinbeck’s Joads in The Grapes of Wrath and find themselves in the Oklahoma dustbowl, throwing themselves on the mercy of a hardscrabble farming family when, having driven non-stop for days, she crashes her car on their land.

The scene is set for the kind of cl
Lindsay Munroe

“All great journeys are made in faith.” – Amity and Sorry

It is most certainly faith that leads a young mother, Amaranth, to steal her two daughters away from the zealously-religious, polygamist commune that has been her home for the past 20 years. After driving for more than four straight days, exhaustion takes over and a weary Amaranth falls asleep at the wheel, running their car headlong into a tree in the middle of Oklahoma. There, they are saved by a rape farmer n
Sharon Vander Meer
May 22, 2013 rated it really liked it
The fire that sets this story in motion flames through “Amity and Sorrow” in every cleverly crafted scene. It is a dark story about sisters who grew up in what might be considered by some a cult atmosphere. In desperation, their mother Amaranth, snatches them away terrified by escalating threats from outside and unsettling changes from within.

Their flight is interrupted when in utter exhaustion she crashes her car into a tree. Miraculously none of the three are seriously injured, and are rescued
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