Amity and Sorrow is an outstanding novel by debut author Peggy Riley. It is a book that I have not stopped thinking about days after finishing and one which I will be recommending to everyone I know.
The novel opens with Amaranth and her two daughters frantically fleeing from their home after a huge fire, which we are led to believe may have started under suspicious circumstances. Amaranth crashes the car and the trio are stranded at a gas station. We soon find out that she has been driving for almost four days solid in order to attempt to escape her husband and a strange religious cult to which they had belonged.
The novel jumps back between Amaranth's life before she had children and the present day. This is very effective as it allows the reader to get to know Amaranth and also helps explain some of the decisions that she has made. Amity and Sorrow; her two daughters will push her faith and love to the limits, causing Amaranth to question everything she has ever believed in. Amity and Sorrow could not be more different, Amity is willing to embrace change and different cultures, whilst Sorrow seems headstrong and stuck in the past. She believes that only life inside the cult is worth living. As the story progresses, we see how each character changes and adapts to their new surroundings. However, at the back of her mind Amaranth knows that people will not just forget about the fire.
This book is mesmering, un-putdownable and terrifying in places. For me, what truly stands out is Riley's beautiful style of writing – every scene, setting or conversation is vividly brought to life and I found myself completely hooked from the very first page. I eagerly await Riley's next book.
Thank you to Tinder Press for sending me a copy to review.