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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 reading The Second Mrs Hocking add to or change your understanding of the events of the Civil War?

Created: 10/23/17

Replies: 18

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

Join Date: 10/15/10

Posts: 1584

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How did reading The Second Mrs Hocking add to or change your understanding of the events of the Civil War?

How did reading The Second Mrs Hocking add to or change your understanding of the events of the Civil War?


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

Join Date: 08/13/14

Posts: 12

RE: How did reading The Second Mrs Hocking add to or change your understanding of the events of the Civil War?

This question is best answered by those who still cling to the moonlight and magnolias of the old south. The Second Mrs Holiday takes place in a brutal south left by soldier husbands for wives to manage. They were bound by the rules made for southern women yet were required to run plantations for absent husbands. Certainly the blinders of romance have been removed to uncover the gritty reality.


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

Join Date: 10/09/14

Posts: 13

RE: How did reading The Second Mrs Hocking add to or change your understanding of the events of the Civil War?

Reading about the hardships faced by all those, free and slave, left behind when the soldiers went off to war, helps us understand that war is terrible, regardless of the reasons for it, and that the innocent are often the most victimized.


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

Join Date: 01/01/16

Posts: 112

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RE: How did reading The Second Mrs Hocking add to or change your understanding of the events of the Civil War?

Years ago I took a history class on the Civil War, my reading of this book did not change my feelings. War is horrible and I know the women left behind suffered in many ways, including rape, not being able to feed their family and losing their homes and sometimes death.


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

Join Date: 01/20/16

Posts: 45

RE: How did reading The Second Mrs Hocking add to or change your understanding of the events of the Civil War?

I think that the role of the women left behind tends to be dismissed in stories about wars. I am amazed by tales that involve how tough these times were for women when all of the strong able bodied men are gone. Cold Mountain certainly showed how rough these times were, as did Gone with the Wind. The Second Mrs. Hockaday shows more detail about a woman brought up to be a lady trying to manage with a skeleton crew at an unfamiliar plantation. Isolation is a large factor. Loyalty of the staff was needed for the plantation owners to make it. Placidia was able to achieve this with some of her servants, but had little time to build affection.

The difficulties of this time period are tough to imagine and are always something of a shock to read about.


Posted Nov. 14, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Gloria

Join Date: 03/11/15

Posts: 56

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RE: How did reading The Second Mrs Hocking add to or change your understanding of the events of the Civil War?

Reading the novel gave me a clearer and deeper understanding of what happens to civilians during wartime. War is truly hell ... for everyone.


Posted Nov. 14, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
joannew

Join Date: 07/08/17

Posts: 2

RE: How did reading The Second Mrs Hocking add to or change your understanding of the events of the Civil War?

It gave me a much more personal, detailed account. The relationship between the landowners and the help was very clearly drawn.


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

Join Date: 02/08/16

Posts: 42

RE: How did reading The Second Mrs Hocking add to or change your understanding of the events of the Civil War?

I hadn't been aware of the extent of devastation that faced those left at home during this time. It hadn't occurred to me too much until I read this book that there was a large population of women left at home unprotected. I'm sure we studied it at some point in school but I never paid too close attention to history.
This book made me think a lot about the hazards of man kind and how greed and corruption are inherent to the nature of man. Many people are able to withstand the darkness of human nature but some others unfortunately thrive in it. Did anyone else find the comments on the nature and the darkness of mankind to be particularly interesting in this novel?


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: How did reading The Second Mrs Hocking add to or change your understanding of the events of the Civil War?

I am not sure that the book changed or added to my understanding of the events of the Civil War as I have read many historical books (fiction and non fiction on the Civil War and have visited many of the Civil War battle sites in the Mid-Atlantic area.

What I did appreciate about this book (especially) in the first half is learning from Placidia as she fared and did her best to survive while the Major was away in a place she did not know and the responsibilities that would be thrust upon her to manage a "farm".

What the book reminded me of is the male-dominated way justice worked - how the Major brought murder charges against his wife and then how he "dropped" the charges and Placidia was released.


Posted Nov. 18, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
gdlenehan

Join Date: 06/22/11

Posts: 28

RE: How did reading The Second Mrs Hocking add to or change your understanding of the events of the Civil War?

I think this book is a beautifully written, timely, piece of historical fiction. So many themes and issues dealt with in the book are still with us today. Someone else mentioned the book Cold Mountain which is equally
well written and moving. I love this book and am recommending it highly.


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

Join Date: 10/16/16

Posts: 36

RE: How did reading The Second Mrs Hocking add to or change your understanding of the events of the Civil War?

I had never thought very much about the women left behind when the men left home to fight in the Civil war. They had an extremely hard job of running the farm and maintaining order and rapport with their servants. Rape, starvation, exhaustion and fear became part of their lives. To bring this story to modern times, the spouses of our current soldiers serving overseas deserve our respect and gratitude for keeping the home fires burning while our service members are away.


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 reading The Second Mrs Hocking add to or change your understanding of the events of the Civil War?

I have not read any Civil War fiction in some time but this story seems so much more intimate and personal than most of what I have read prior. I was very appreciative of the historical background given by Ms. Rivers and so I have a better understanding of what was real in the lives of the women who struggled to survive in the South when their husbands were away in battle.


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

Join Date: 02/05/16

Posts: 229

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RE: How did reading The Second Mrs Hocking add to or change your understanding of the events of the Civil War?

It didn't change, but definitely added to, my understanding. As a Northerner, and a former student and teacher of history, I'd say my "default setting" (and America's, in general) was to focus more on the experience of soldiers, on battles and President Lincoln, and the politics that led up to it. Only recently have we begun to look deeper, in popular culture (books and movies, etc.) at the experience of slavery for those enslaved, and the experience of survival for those in the South who weren't soldiers-- obviously much worse than for families up North, since these states were not in the "war zone." I don't count "Gone With the Wind," which romanticizes the domestic struggle at Tara as much as it does the relationship between Scarlett and Rhett, blames everything on the Union Army, and largely ignores the role played by Southern men out of uniform as opportunists, marauders, cheats and rapists who took advantage of Southern women, white as well as black. Rivers opened my eyes to that reality. Like Achilles, I'm inclined to see the real evil of the South--and not only of the South, for sure -- is "men like Nolan Oglesby, and all the people like him, who never question their motives or doubt their desires...what they take so freely for themselves comes always at great cost to others." Rich white male privilege.


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

Join Date: 01/16/12

Posts: 100

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RE: How did reading The Second Mrs Hocking add to or change your understanding of the events of the Civil War?

It has been through literature that I've come to realize the difficulty that those at home suffer in times of war. We are told about the battles of those fighting but the adversity at home is not appreciated. In the case of The Second Mrs Hockaday, I found myself to be naive. I wouldn't have thought that union soldiers were so brutal as I still thought of this as a brother against brother conflict. I also never appreciated that the women who were brought up as southern bells found themselves in a position of having to run large plantations without any prior knowledge of how to accomplish this.


Posted Nov. 20, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
flute4u

Join Date: 08/14/13

Posts: 30

RE: How did reading The Second Mrs Hocking add to or change your understanding of the events of the Civil War?

The deprivations and struggles of women and children living on the fringes of battlefields have only begun to be told as more women writers engage their stories. Several books have informed my knowledge of the Civil War including Cold Mountain, Across Five Aprils and Gone with the Wind. They provide a stark contrast to the glamorization of the war provided by writers like Jeff Shaara who wrote Gods and Generals.


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

Join Date: 02/08/16

Posts: 169

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RE: How did reading The Second Mrs Hocking add to or change your understanding of the events of the Civil War?

Many put down "Gone With the Wind", but it too showed the struggles and grit of the women left behind. So often, the men in the war are glorified, but the women also deserve recognition for the horrors they endured. I've read enough other books on the realities of the Civil War that this seemed true to what had been revealed to me before.


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

Join Date: 05/29/15

Posts: 256

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RE: How did reading The Second Mrs Hocking add to or change your understanding of the events of the Civil War?

The Civil War is one of my favorite subjects. I have read tons of fiction and non-fiction about it. I enjoyed this book immensely and feel like Susan Rivers did her homework.


Posted Nov. 29, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
joannev

Join Date: 04/14/11

Posts: 22

RE: How did reading The Second Mrs Hocking add to or change your understanding of the events of the Civil War?

I realized just how much the women of the South (and North too probably) suffered in this conflict and how important they were in trying to keep things running while the men were gone - they had no status, no protection and some were victims - I think in many ways it was as difficult a time for women as for the men who fought - for those men who didn't go to war and took advantage, this book just added to what I already had read before.


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 reading The Second Mrs Hocking add to or change your understanding of the events of the Civil War?

I never thought about the women left behind that much except for my reading of Gone with the Wind. This book made me more aware of the struggles of these women. I imagine it was difficult for the women in the North too but they may have faced other challenges.


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