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When you discover that a novel you’re reading is based on actual events, it’s icing on the cake. It’s especially compelling when set in a time and at a place that tugs at you. I found this to be true of new release, The Second Mrs Hockaday, by Susan River.
Set during the Civil War in South Carolina, new 16 year old bride, Placidia Hockaday, is left to manage her husband’s farm and raise his infant son for two years while he’s away fighting for the Confederacy. She bears a child during his absence, the child dies suspiciously, and she refuses to explain the circumstances. Truth lies in her journal entry, discovered much later, and not before she’s arrested and tried. The brutal and unjust culture of the times gives the story its richness and sadness. Love and goodness gives it its power. -- Susan, Redbery Books Cable, Wisconsin
— From Staff Picks
T.H.U.R.S. Book Club selection, July 2018, Redbery Books, Cable, WI.
— From T.H.U.R.S. Book Club
When Major Gryffth Hockaday is called to the front lines of the Civil War, his new bride is left to care for her husband’s three-hundred-acre farm and infant son. Placidia, a mere teenager herself living far from her family and completely unprepared to run a farm or raise a child, must endure the darkest days of the war on her own. By the time Major Hockaday returns two years later, Placidia is bound for jail, accused of having borne a child in his absence and murdering it. What really transpired in the two years he was away?
A love story, a story of racial divide, and a story of the South as it fell in the war, The Second Mrs. Hockaday reveals how this generation—and the next—began to see their world anew.
About the Author
Susan Rivers began her writing career as a playwright, receiving the Julie Harris Playwriting Award and the New York Drama League Award, working as an NEA Writer-in-Residence in San Francisco, and being named as a finalist for the Susan Smith Blackburn Award for British and American Women Playwrights. Her debut novel, The Second Mrs. Hockaday, was a People Magazine "Best New Books Pick" and a Woman's Day "Editor's Desk Pick" in 2017, as well as an Indie Next pick, Library Reads, Winter OKRA Pick and WNBA Great Group Reads 2018 Selection. The novel was a finalist for the Center for Fiction's First Novel Prize 2017 and for the Southern Book Prize 2018. Rivers lives with her husband in a former cotton-mill town in upstate South Carolina.