Peggy Riley is a writer, a playwright and now a debut novelist. Her CV includes working as a festival producer, having her fiction broadcast on BBC Radio and even a stint as writer-in-residence at a young offenders’ institute. Her debut novel, Amity and Sorrow, is set far from her home on the North Kent coast, in mysterious and isolated rural America.
The story follows Amaranth, a mother forced to flee from her husband and the polygamous cult that they call their family home for the safety of her daughters, Amity and Sorrow. The girls, just entering their teens, suddenly find themselves in an unsheltered world very different from where they grew up.
Amity and Sorrow is, at heart, a story of what we do with what the world throws at us in the developmental stages of our lives. The differing effects that the ‘real world’ has on the girls; one flourishes in her newfound freedom whereas the other wilts, removed from the sanctity of her home, give insight into the innate differences within people, differences shown in even starker relief by the fact that Amity and Sorrow are sisters.
Peggy Riley’s debut is a confident, poetic book that is sure to raise questions about what it means to protect someone you love when the place you are fleeing from is supposed to be your refuge.