Book Review: Amity And Sorrow

Amity And Sorrow CoverBook: Amity & Sorrow: A Novel by Peggy Riley

Published April 2013 by Little, Brown And Company|Pages: 249

Series: None

Genre: Adult Fiction

Goodreads|Peggy Riley’s Website

A Note: Amity & Sorrow is an e-galley from netgalley.com, which has not influenced my review in any way

Summary: 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.

I was really intrigued by Amity & Sorrow, but it turned out to be an okay read.

I like the whole concept of the novel.  2 girls who grew up in a cult, and unable to imagine a life outside of that, and seeing them try to make sense of a world different than the one they grew up in…definitely intriguing, but it was also hard to get into this world.  I liked the traditional-ness of everything…but they world they left had just enough similarities to the one they found made it less interesting because there wasn’t enough of a contrast.

One thing I was trying to figure out was the timeline.  It felt like it was happening in present time…but something about the rural setting made it seem like it was happening in times past.

The narration didn’t work for me- it seemed like it alternated between Amity and Amaranth.  We see Sorrow through their eyes, although there were times when it felt like we just saw Sorrow.  It always took a couple pages to adjust to whoever was narrating, because there wasn’t anything to indicate that there were several narrators in terms of chapter headings.

I did like the flashbacks of Amaranth’s past, and I wish we saw more of her life in the cult and what drew her to it.  They all had intriguing stories, especially Sorrow and Amity.  Sorrow because of her role as Oracle, and Amity because things seem to be all about Sorrow.  As interesting as the characters seemed to be, nothing really stood out to me, and while interesting, they weren’t as interesting as they could have been.

Also, while it’s a fairly straightforward story, something about Amity & Sorrow seems jumbled and confusing.  I did want a little bit more about their lives before leaving because as it is, it was hard to care about their life after when I didn’t know much about their life before.  Being able to see how different their lives really were before and after would have made the novel a little more interesting for me.

Final Thoughts:

I don’t have much to say about Amity & Sorrow.  I liked the concept, and found that there’s a lot of potential for the characters.  For me, it was hard to connect with the characters, and I wanted them to be a little more developed.  Amity & Sorrow just wasn’t the book for me.  Amity & Sorrow gets 2 stars.

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