A love story, a story of racial divide, and a story of the South as it fell in the war, The Second Mrs. Hockaday reveals how this generation - and the next - began to see their world anew.
When Major Gryffth Hockaday is called to the front lines of the Civil War, his new bride is left to care for her husband's three-hundred-acre farm and infant son. Placidia, a mere teenager herself living far from her family and completely unprepared to run a farm or raise a child, must endure the darkest days of the war on her own. By the time Major Hockaday returns two years later, Placidia is bound for jail, accused of having borne a child in his absence and murdering it. What really transpired in the two years he was away?
Inspired by a true incident, this saga unfolds with gripping intensity, conjuring the era with uncanny immediacy. Amid the desperation of wartime, Placidia sees the social order of her Southern homeland unravel. As she comes to understand how her own history is linked to one runaway slave, her perspective on race and family are upended.
3982 Glenn Springs Road,
GLENN SPRINGS, SOUTH CAROLINA
September 29, 1865
Dear Millie, Dr. Gordon knew my father when they were students at South Carolina College. He did not realize whose daughter I was when he performed the examination of my baby's remains; that is how I am assured of his objectivity, a rare attribute in local people of my acquaintance. While the extent of decomposition prevented a conclusive cause of death, the doctor reports that the child did not suffer trauma, and while drowning or suffocation cannot be entirely ruled out, he concludes that he most likely died of exposure. It was not the doctor's opinion that I exposed the baby intentionally that accusation comes from the magistrate. The doctor asked to speak to me, however, after examining the remains, and that is when we discovered our connection. I learned what an empathetic man he is (also rare). When Dr. Gordon's son was fighting at Second Manassas, his young wife, unbeknownst to her ...
Told in haunting and moving prose through journal entries and correspondence, this story based on actual events tells of a newly married young woman left home alone with just the servants and her husband's infant son after her officer husband is called back to fight for the Confederacy. Returning home years later, he finds his wife has been accused of a horrible crime of which she will not speak. It's at once a love story, a history lesson and a beautifully written tale of forgiveness.
(Reviewed by BookBrowse First Impression Reviewers).
Full Review (813 words).
In The Second Mrs. Hockaday, Susan Rivers' historical novel about the Civil War, Mr. Hockaday says to his new wife: "... there's an Armory in Holland Crossroads. A market hall in Traveler's Joy. In Charleston it's the Sugar House. It's where servants are sent to be corrected." This novel, of course, like all historical novels, is based on true events and Rivers did her research for it using a number of documents. One document is an 1838 article written by a slave who was detained for three months in the Sugar House, a part of the Charleston city jail, located in South Carolina. The article, titled "Recollections of a Runaway Slave", was published in an abolitionist newspaper based in Maine, the Advocate of Freedom.
The Sugar House ...
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