Amity & Sorrow: A Novel - Peggy Riley

Release Date - April 2013

Peggy Riley
Hachette Book Group

Book Review by Tracy Farnsworth

Amity and Sorrow are sisters, teens who find their lives uprooted when their mother, Amaranth, takes them on the run. Amaranth drives for days, rarely stopping, because she knows her husband will hot on their trail. Amity and Sorrow have their own feelings on the issue too. Neither has ever been outside their home or away from their family, a compound where their father has dozens of wives.

Eventually, they wind up on Bradley's farm. While he's not thrilled to have them with him at first, soon they form a kind of family of their own. However, Amaranth is certain that if they don't keep running, her husband will find them. She's torn between staying where she's starting to feel comfortable or staying on the run forever.

I wasn't sure what to expect of Amity & Sorrow, but I really enjoyed it. It's a sad tale, yet also inspiring. As the girls and their mother work through layers of uncertainty, shame, and anger, the reader gets to watch them mature, become a little more comfortable in their surroundings, and also realize that life outside the compound is a wildly new experience.

There are a few secrets along the way,, some surprising and others really aren't surprising at all. As the plot worked towards the conclusion, I found myself going from not really liking Bradley, the grumpy man who takes them in, to really liking his character. Soon, I was rooting that he and Amaranth could form some kind of bond allowing the girls to stay on the farm and help him out.

This isn't a long story, it's under 300 pages, but it definitely is satisfying.


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