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The Second Mrs. Hockaday

by Susan Rivers

The Second Mrs. Hockaday by Susan Rivers X
The Second Mrs. Hockaday by Susan Rivers
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  • First Published:
    Jan 2017, 272 pages
    Paperback:
    Nov 2017, 288 pages

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There are currently 25 reader reviews for The Second Mrs. Hockaday
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Cariola

Beautifully Written Civil War Story
Placidia was only 17 and not even thinking of marriage when widower Major Gryff Hockaday swept her off her. She had a single day to decide whether to accept his proposal. Only a few days after they married, the major was called back to join his Confederate troops, and Placidia was left to manage the farm, oversee the slaves, and care for Charles, her husband's toddler son. As the situation deteriorates, Placidia finds herself charged with a crime, but she is keeping her secrets.

The novel is told in the form of letters and diary entries. Most of the action takes place in 1864-65, and the early letters are between Placidia and her cousin Mildred, but later sections set in the 1890s focus on how Achilles, the son of Placidia and Gryff, uncovered his parents' secrets and changed the way he thought about them and himself.

I can't say much more without giving away too much. I found the novel held my interest and that the author did a great job of heightening the suspense while slowly revealing the truth. The novel explores the hardships of women left alone to manage while their men are at war, as well as the dark side of slavery, but it also depicts a marriage that, although sorely tried, survives because of love.
Jennifer Shaw

The Second Mrs Hockaday
I really enjoyed this civil war historical drama. I think my group will have plenty to discuss with this book and I plan to order it for my book club. The rich characters and realistic plot kept me engaged and I read it through in one sitting.
Kathleen B. (Las Vegas, NV)

Loved it!
I love historical mysteries most of all and this was one of the best. I think that this was based on a true story in incredible but as is often said true life is stranger than fiction. The letter and diary entries were such a great way to write this novel. When I finally found out who the babies father was I was shocked. How the diary helped heal the Hockaday's was a beautiful healing part for me. I would definitely recommend this to book groups and any one who loves historical mysteries - they'll love it!
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!

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