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The Second Mrs. Hockaday
At once a love story, a history lesson and a beautifully written tale of...
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This is a story told through letters, inquest reports and diary entries. Why do you think the author chose to tell the story in this way?

Created: 10/23/17

Replies: 23

Posted Oct. 23, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
davinamw

Join Date: 10/15/10

Posts: 1392

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This is a story told through letters, inquest reports and diary entries. Why do you think the author chose to tell the story in this way?

This is a story told through letters, inquest reports and diary entries. Why do you think the author chose to tell the story in this way?


Posted Nov. 13, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Anne C.

Join Date: 10/09/14

Posts: 13

RE: This is a story told through letters, inquest reports and diary entries. Why do you think the author chose to tell the story in this way?

I have to confess I was a little irritated when starting to read the book to see it is written as a series of letters and documents, and that the author uses no quotation marks around conversation. After thinking it might be a chore to read, I found it quickly became fascinating after the first few pages! I can see that the narrative style generates a great deal of suspense and mystery, as the reader tries to understand why Placidia is so reluctant to give details of her life on the Hockaday plantation.


Posted Nov. 13, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Gloria

Join Date: 03/11/15

Posts: 28

RE: This is a story told through letters, inquest reports and diary entries. Why do you think the author chose to tell the story in this way?

I think using letters, inquest reports and diary entries allows the writer to give the reader little bits of information at a time, each coming from a different point of view, which really made for a suspenseful read. Normally I hate when there are no quotation marks, but for some reason it didn't bother me in the least in this book.


Posted Nov. 13, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
irisf

Join Date: 01/16/12

Posts: 97

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RE: This is a story told through letters, inquest reports and diary entries. Why do you think the author chose to tell the story in this way?

In someways it appeared factual with little emotion


Posted Nov. 13, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
laurap

Join Date: 06/19/12

Posts: 180

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RE: This is a story told through letters, inquest reports and diary entries. Why do you think the author chose to tell the story in this way?

Like Gloria, I think the epistolary style allowed the author to control the release of information -- both its detail and its order -- in a way that allowed the story to build with great suspense.


Posted Nov. 13, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Maggie

Join Date: 01/01/16

Posts: 92

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RE: This is a story told through letters, inquest reports and diary entries. Why do you think the author chose to tell the story in this way?

I agree with Gloria that given bits and pieces of information made this a suspenseful novel. I also liked that the author went back and forth to the past and then present time.


Posted Nov. 13, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
ashleighs

Join Date: 11/13/17

Posts: 14

RE: This is a story told through letters, inquest reports and diary entries. Why do you think the author chose to tell the story in this way?

One of my favorite parts of the book was that it was written in this way. Not only did it help in the suspense-building, it also sort of lends the book some mysterious aspects. If you think about it, we only know about the Civil War era based on history books, letters, and other documentation written down at the time. The fun part about the book is that it is written in a similar fashion...but its coming to us from a mostly personal perspective. It gives us a peek into the life of a woman on a farm, in charge of servants, while her husband is away at war. What it must be to read the personal diary or letters of some of the people that lived before us! To experience Placidia's emotion, point of view, and daily life in this manner was a lot of fun for me!


Posted Nov. 15, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
dianeh

Join Date: 08/01/16

Posts: 13

RE: This is a story told through letters, inquest reports and diary entries. Why do you think the author chose to tell the story in this way?

This style of writing is not one that I enjoy. However, as others have stated, it does allow the author to reveal information at a suspense building pace.


Posted Nov. 15, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Carol Rainer

Join Date: 09/03/15

Posts: 40

RE: This is a story told through letters, inquest reports and diary entries. Why do you think the author chose to tell the story in this way?

I enjoyed reading this book the way it was written in the epistolary literary fashion. Bits and pieces here and there contributed to all the threads, woven together, that became this tapestry.


Posted Nov. 15, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Carol Rainer

Join Date: 09/03/15

Posts: 40

RE: This is a story told through letters, inquest reports and diary entries. Why do you think the author chose to tell the story in this way?

I enjoyed reading this book the way it was written in the epistolary literary fashion. Bits and pieces here and there contributed to all the threads, woven together, that became this tapestry.


Posted Nov. 16, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
beverlyj

Join Date: 12/22/11

Posts: 58

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RE: This is a story told through letters, inquest reports and diary entries. Why do you think the author chose to tell the story in this way?

I liked the format more than I thought I would.
But I thought it worked well to give the book a more intimate feel and able to get into the heads of the characters - especially Placidia.
Despite what the outward behaviors were - we knew what the characters were really thinking.

I found this to be a fresh approach to a much told storyline.


Posted Nov. 16, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
hicksmk

Join Date: 10/11/17

Posts: 2

RE: This is a story told through letters, inquest reports and diary entries. Why do you think the author chose to tell the story in this way?

I liked the format of the story being told the way it was , through letters. I especially enjoyed the prose of the times that was used to tell this suspenseful story. It did take me a few letters to get used to the lack of punctuation.


Posted Nov. 20, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Rosieglitter

Join Date: 10/16/16

Posts: 27

RE: This is a story told through letters, inquest reports and diary entries. Why do you think the author chose to tell the story in this way?

This style of writing lets the reader know intimately how each letter writer felt in their own words. It also harkens back to the day when letters were written for communication and helped to set the scene and timeframe for the story. I found the letters and reports a little dry at first but got used to this style fairly quickly and actually enjoyed it once I got used to it.


Posted Nov. 20, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
lynneb

Join Date: 08/23/11

Posts: 82

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RE: This is a story told through letters, inquest reports and diary entries. Why do you think the author chose to tell the story in this way?

Ms. Rivers did careful research on the historical background for this story which I highly commend her for. The use of the letters, etc. make this story very real and almost as if she is telling the story of a real person. It definitely made the story come to life for me.


Posted Nov. 20, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
JLPen77

Join Date: 02/05/16

Posts: 164

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RE: This is a story told through letters, inquest reports and diary entries. Why do you think the author chose to tell the story in this way?

As so many have said, this approach gives the writer a plausible, subtle way to build suspenseful curiosity around the central question of what happened that led to a charge of murder, and to give a historical novel a historical "flavor" while engaging us as readers. I think it also gave Susan Rivers a way to achieve what I sense is her deeper purpose, to show us the impact of the system of slavery and Southern white male privilege through a variety of perspectives, across genders and across time. She made the story surprisingly relevant to current events.


Posted Nov. 21, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
pate

Join Date: 03/15/13

Posts: 27

RE: This is a story told through letters, inquest reports and diary entries. Why do you think the author chose to tell the story in this way?

I have always been drawn to books in which a story is told like this. I think it gives authenticity to the story , especially a work of historical fiction(in this case based on a real story)and I feel the author was able to create a certain amount of suspense by slowly revealing things in a unique way.


Posted Nov. 21, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Marcia S

Join Date: 02/08/16

Posts: 108

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RE: This is a story told through letters, inquest reports and diary entries. Why do you think the author chose to tell the story in this way?

I think the reason was to give the story a personal telling. Placidia spoke for herself through the letters and diary. It also allowed her cousin, Millie, to ask questions we would like answered. As a rule, I don't like stories told in this manner. I have to keep checking to see who is responsible for the books narrative in each new section.


Posted Nov. 21, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
dianaps

Join Date: 05/29/15

Posts: 203

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RE: This is a story told through letters, inquest reports and diary entries. Why do you think the author chose to tell the story in this way?

This was not the first book I have read that was mostly letters. To me it created more anticipation, as if I was waiting for the next letter to arrive. I did, however, miss quotation marks.


Posted Nov. 22, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Navy Mom

Join Date: 04/12/12

Posts: 192

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RE: This is a story told through letters, inquest reports and diary entries. Why do you think the author chose to tell the story in this way?

I loved that the story was told through letters, diary, and reports. It added suspense, and it also made it unravel in a very believable way. When things happen to us, we don't always understand everything that is involved. The delivery of this story gave it a very human feeling. It would be how the actual characters would have felt.


Posted Nov. 22, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
arielf

Join Date: 04/22/11

Posts: 34

RE: This is a story told through letters, inquest reports and diary entries. Why do you think the author chose to tell the story in this way?

Having a story told thru letters is not one of my favorite ways of reading books. Thus, it has taken
me longer than normal to read the novel.


Posted Nov. 26, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
LindaB.

Join Date: 06/11/14

Posts: 61

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RE: This is a story told through letters, inquest reports and diary entries. Why do you think the author chose to tell the story in this way?

I like stories that are told in this fashion. It can prevent the story to be bogged down and makes things more clear.


Posted Nov. 28, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
kenanr

Join Date: 02/20/14

Posts: 18

RE: This is a story told through letters, inquest reports and diary entries. Why do you think the author chose to tell the story in this way?

I think it lends an additional layer of gritty realism to this novel. Often Civil War sagas seem sweeping and pastoral. This was dirty and lonely and violent, and probably a more accurate depiction of the experience that most people had during this time. I also believe it allows the author to unveil aspects of the narrative in a more measured and suspenseful fashion - as mentioned before - while keeping the reader interested despite the slower pace. I felt it kept me at arms length from a story that was actually quite intimate and personal - an interesting conceit.


Posted Nov. 28, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
andreab

Join Date: 07/29/14

Posts: 80

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RE: This is a story told through letters, inquest reports and diary entries. Why do you think the author chose to tell the story in this way?

I enjoyed the format because the letters offered a unique way to hear the "writer" speak for themselves. I knew that their stories were told through a filter of what was proper for the times. The inquest reports also helped to set the tone for the time period. I especially liked the letters at the end between Achilles and his aunt. They started out very pleasant but devolved into terse missives as their relationship broke down.


Posted Dec. 06, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
dorothyl

Join Date: 04/15/12

Posts: 89

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RE: This is a story told through letters, inquest reports and diary entries. Why do you think the author chose to tell the story in this way?

I generally do not like this format. At first, it was difficult and confusing for me but after awhile I got into it and realized this was a good form for this novel.


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