Amity and Sorrow-Peggy Riley

Amity and Sorrow
Peggy Riley
Little Brown, Apr 16 2013, $25.99
ISBN: 9780316220880

The First Wife, Amaranth did the unthinkable when she fled with her bound to each other at the wrists daughters (Amity and Sorrow) from her husband Zachariah as he did the one thing she rejected. Four days of no sleep constant driving in fear that her spouse will come for her and their kids as none of his fifty wives ever fled the patriarch. The road escape ends in a crash in Oklahoma on Bradley’s farm.

Grieving the loss of his wife, Bradley allows the strange three females to remain on his failed farm though he cannot understand their odd polygamous belief system. Amaranth feels welcome by the farmer; while Amity enjoys the chance to see the world beyond the confining compound; but suffering with stomach problems. Sorrow misses her home desperately. As the foursome forge a family of sorts, each struggles with a faith that is tested by the others.

Amity and Sorrow is an intriguing look at the effect of a polygamous lifestyle on the next generation. The sisters make the tale as their different reactions to the outside world seems deftly genuine as do the flashbacks to life in the compound. Although the fascinating storyline turns too twisting and complex at times; overwhelming the insightful glimpse at what a family and a community is, readers will appreciate Peggy Riley’s deep character-driven novel.

Harriet Klausner


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