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AMITY & SORROW is a story about God, sex, and farming. It’s THE LOVELY BONES meets WITNESS: an unforgettable journey into the horrors a true believer can inflict upon his family, and what it is like to live when the end of the world doesn’t come.

In the wake of a suspicious fire, Amaranth gathers her children and flees from the cult where her children were born and raised. Now she is on the run with no one but her barely-teenage daughters, Amity and Sorrow, neither of whom have ever seen the outside world, to help her. After four days of driving without sleep, Amaranth crashes the car, leaving the family stranded at a gas station, unsure of what to do next. Rescue comes in the unlikely form of a downtrodden farmer, a man who offers sanctuary when the women need it most.

AMITY & SORROW is the story of these remarkable women, their lives before the night they fled, and their heartbreaking, hopeful future. Over the course of a season Amaranth will test the limits of her faith, and her daughters will test the limits of her patience. While Amity blossoms in this new world, free from her father’s forbidding rules and ecstatic worship, Sorrow will move heaven and earth trying to get back home… And, meanwhile, the outside world hasn’t forgotten about the fire on the compound.


One of the most exciting books to be published this year
Good Housekeeping
[A] delicately stitched, finely patterned and poetic novel... packed with shock and hope
New York Times
A startlingly original, intelligent and beautiful first novel that I found riveting from page one. I can only wait with great anticipation for what comes next from Peggy Riley
Michael Connelly
'A literary page-turner'
Reader's Digest
'Once in a while a book comes along that can not only grip you but keep you thinking long after the last page. Enter Amity & Sorrow... a stunningly original contemporary classic [with] remarkable characterisation and intense plot. I urge you to read Riley's novel'
'A story about God, Sex and Farming, as two girls do a runner from a cult. It's ace'
'A debut that will haunt and inspire'
'A taut debut, this will appeal to fans of Emma Donoghue's Room'
'An impressive and often pretty harrowing debut novel [with] strength and power'
Daily Mail