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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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Discuss The Second Mrs. Hockaday by Susan Rivers:
How did you respond to Achilles' relationship with his cousin Roe?

Created: 10/23/17

Replies: 10

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

Join Date: 10/15/10

Posts: 1485

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How did you respond to Achilles' relationship with his cousin Roe?

How did you respond to Achilles' relationship with his cousin Roe?


Posted Nov. 17, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
rebeccar

Join Date: 03/13/12

Posts: 336

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RE: How did you respond to Achilles' relationship with his cousin Roe?

The entire relationship seemed a bit strange, and I am not quite sure what it added to the book. Clearly, it was character development of some sort, but I did not particularly like it. In past history, the so-called "royal families" have often dabbled in that.


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

Join Date: 02/08/16

Posts: 42

RE: How did you respond to Achilles' relationship with his cousin Roe?

It was not uncommon for second cousins to marry in that time period, I think more than just the royals but the general population even. I thought it was interesting that Achilles abandoned the relationship once he read his mother's diary, as if he needed more strife in his life before he could settle down. I also thought it was interesting that after taking a step back, he seemed to think the relationship was entirely based on his competitive nature and not on true feelings for Roe. I agree with rebeccar though in that I didn't find that it added much to the story line


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: How did you respond to Achilles' relationship with his cousin Roe?

As many others have said, I also was not sure what the purpose of this relationship was to the story. It did not really seem to add except to maybe underscore Achilles's confusion about his life and his feelings facing his future. Perhaps it served to show the shock and life change that the reading of the diary brought about.


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

Join Date: 01/16/12

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RE: How did you respond to Achilles' relationship with his cousin Roe?

It felt incestuous to me. I was uncomfortable


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

Join Date: 02/05/16

Posts: 205

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RE: How did you respond to Achilles' relationship with his cousin Roe?

I always figure if a serious author gives so much space to an aspect of a story, there will be a payoff, some reason for it revealed in time. So while at first I felt distracted by that relationship, and then confused and disappointed by his breaking it off after reading Placidia's diary, I kept looking for the "why." In the end, Achilles explains to Charlie that in reading it, he came to appreciate the depth of connection between his parents, and realize he was at a point with Roe where he had to either go deeper or withdraw. He also makes that decision in the context of finding a purpose in his life due to reading the diary: a commitment to creating a better world, starting with tracking down his uncle Achilles. I think he felt he wasn't ready to take on a life partner when he was making such a change in his life's work. So I'm reconciled to his decision and glad the author didn't take the easy out of a simple romantic relationship at odds with the serious issues she has explored.


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

Join Date: 05/29/15

Posts: 224

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RE: How did you respond to Achilles' relationship with his cousin Roe?

I'm not sure I fully understood that relationship but then times were very different back then.


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

Join Date: 04/12/12

Posts: 213

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RE: How did you respond to Achilles' relationship with his cousin Roe?

I guess the relationship was added to show that Achilles didn't really know what he was about. He was playing with Roe's feelings and Roe was romantic enough to fall for it. In those days, so many marriages were made because women needed to be married in the society so one found a suitable husband, but not necessarily because their was love between the couple. Roe was looking for love. The diary changed Achilles, especially that he found out his uncle was black. It gave him a new purpose. Roe was just a distraction.


Posted Dec. 03, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
jeannew

Join Date: 04/23/11

Posts: 91

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RE: How did you respond to Achilles' relationship with his cousin Roe?

The relationship felt out of place in the book to me too. Usually I just assume it's an author tangent or bad editing. Thank you JLPen77, for making me think about this a little more. Navy Mom also makes some excellent points. I think they're probably right, that Achilles realized he didn't feel as deeply about Roe as his parents felt about each other. At the same time, reading the diary showed him how much he didn't know about his family relationships, so it made for a good time to explore the family and his own feelings.


Posted Dec. 04, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
KateB

Join Date: 02/11/16

Posts: 60

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RE: How did you respond to Achilles' relationship with his cousin Roe?

So interesting to read everyone's thoughts here! I found this relationship irritating as I read it, but came to agree with others that it was a shallow relationship - a fact that he only saw when he learned the truth about his family. While reading the book I found the shift to Achilles story a bit jarring but in the end I thought that this was intentional on the author's part and very effective. The horror of the realities of war are so quickly forgotten. People born when the conflict is over find it hard to grasp what has happened in the past, even so recently. Despite all the terrible times Placidia and the Major faced, their children grew up in peace. It took the diary to show that to Achilles and I thought it was an excellent way to show how awful wartime was by juxtaposing it to life only a few decades later.


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

Join Date: 04/15/12

Posts: 92

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RE: How did you respond to Achilles' relationship with his cousin Roe?

i agree with many others that the relationship was strange. At first, it seemed as though he was as attracted to Roe as she was to him but after reading the diary, there was a major shift in his attitude. I was initially surprised by this change. But it makes some sense that if there was no real depth of feeling on his part that he would terminate the relationship. Sometimes relationships are not lasting. On the whole though, I think that this part of the story was not developed sufficiently. Not sure exactly what was missing but it could have been developed better.


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