Patricia W. (Homewood, AL)
One of the best Historical Fictions
"The Second Mrs. Hockaday" is one of the best historical fiction novels I have read. I was caught up with the characters and the description of life during that time of the Civil War at the very beginning. Susan Rivers used her research to make her book interesting and engaging. It was hard to put down once started.
While Placidia was young, her strength and endurance was amazing. She was as much a soldier as the Major, defending their livelihood and their future against nature and human nature.
Any reader should feel lucky at the chance to read such a promising author. She is an asset to her craft.
Gretchen M. (Martinsburg, WV)
Strong female character
This book held my attention due to the format (told in a series of letters) and the fact that it presented another new Civil War storyline. I loved the strength of Placidia who was a teenager swept up in a marriage to an officer whom she comes to love and for whom she makes an enormous sacrifice that costs her reputation and family.
Linda L. (Pickerington, OH)
Historical fiction at it's best!
Bravo! A wide spectrum of unforgettable characters populate this story of the Civil War. Skillfully written, this is not light reading. Using only letters and diary entries, The Second Mrs. Hockaday haunted my thoughts for many days. Even though the story moves back and forth chronologically, the careful reader is able to follow the unraveling mystery. The diary entries and letters are heart wrenching and provide an unexpectedly intimate look at this period of American history. Thoroughly researched and wonderfully written, I would recommend this to book clubs, history buffs, and any serious readers looking for a challenging story. One of the best books I have read in a long time!
Laurie H. (Stuart, FL)
Book Club 2017
This book was interesting and complex - I liked how the story unfolded slowly. There are many themes that would spark such great discussion amongst a group. The story is both strong and heartbreaking at the same time. I feel so lucky to be a woman of this day and age--women at that time were tested and disregarded but still remained optimistic. A definite book club recommendation for 2017.
Rebecca L. (Ocean City, NJ)
Compelling and Engaging ..
This was a novel that has become my favorite in the genre of historical fiction. The setting was during the time of the Civil War and the Reconstruction Era where the plot revolved around romance and marriage, love and loss - with a twist of mystery. Well-researched history was intermingled perfectly with fictional lives. As Placidia Hockaday was left to fend for herself while her husband, Major Gryffth, was fighting in the war, The reader was totally involved in the pace of the novel and the characters. I began to feel like a voyeur in their lives and found it difficult to detach myself from the characters. What happened to Placidia as she struggled to be a resilient woman during a time where only the strong survived during adversity, pathos, tragedy, suffering, and war? What was that tragic secret that she must carry? How did she handle the scandal? How did the Major react? Who was culpable? Choices, motives and outcomes were so cleverly addressed that just when I thought I had the answers, this author kept you reading compulsively forward. Susan Rivers is a master story-teller and a talented writer of prose that is lyrical yet thought-provoking, There were messages within the novel that were apropos to that time period but they are just as relevant today and resonated loudly. Even through bad times, the human spirit wants to survive and love. This novel would be an excellent and unforgettable choice for a Book Club! I read this book in two days and then read it a second time. I will be watching for the next book that Susan Rivers writes!
Pamela F. (Sun City West, AZ)
Loved this book!
The writing in this book was so colorful and exquisite. I truly felt I was right there with the characters. I enjoy epistolatory narratives, so this was another aspect of the book I loved. Things were revealed slowly...but it didn't drag and I never figured out the truth until it was revealed. This book will become one of the gifts I give in 2017 when it is published!
Lucy Jay (Albany, NY)
The use of written correspondence and diary entries to tell the story gave the reader an intimate view of the characters' lives as they struggled through such a terrible time. There was as much pain and suffering back home as on the battlefield. A fast read for me... needed to know what actually happened that fateful night. Very thoroughly researched. I highly recommend this book for historical fiction lovers.