Monday, 24 February 2014

Amity and Sorrow - Peggy Riley

I was reminded of several American cult group deaths whilst reading this: the Jamestown massacre when the leader persuaded his followers to drink poison; the WACO massacre when the police were perhaps far too heavy handed; and another cult where the leader again persuaded his followers to commit suicide because the space ship  from their planet was coming to "take them home".

Those all happened in real life, and this book is a fiction.  However, one is quickly persuaded that there are characters out there actually larger than life, able to brainwash, if you like, those weaker souls who are looking for a saviour, looking for love in their lives, looking, just looking.

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Amaranth was one of  those - the first of 50 wives of a charismatic man who was able to persuade all of them that he was their father, their husband, their God.  Her two daughters with him, Amity and Sorrow of the title, are disturbed children, even before finding themselves on the run from a fire in a car driven by their mother.  With various step backs to the time in the cult, this is much more the story of how a cult can keep hold of some people even when it seems obvious that they should be turning their backs for ever.

Written in a terse style, this one had me turning the pages fast.    Can't say "enjoyed" due to the subject matter, but a great read.  This is a first novel - let's hope she writes more.