Coverart for item
The Resource The second Mrs. Hockaday : a novel, Susan Rivers

The second Mrs. Hockaday : a novel, Susan Rivers

Label
The second Mrs. Hockaday : a novel
Title
The second Mrs. Hockaday
Title remainder
a novel
Statement of responsibility
Susan Rivers
Creator
Author
Subject
Genre
Language
eng
Summary
"The Civil War South comes to vivid life in this electrifying story of a woman's plight and a legacy of deceit that echoes for generations. 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? To what extremes can war and violence push a woman who is left to fend for herself? Told through letters, court inquests, and journal entries, this saga, inspired by a true incident, 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. 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"--
Storyline
Pace
Tone
Writing style
Character
Award
LibraryReads Favorites, 2017
Review
  • /* Starred Review */ How did southern women on isolated farms survive the Civil War? In her debut novel, Rivers brings the stark realities of history to life through the story of a privileged teenager who weds in haste. Only two days after marrying Placidia, Confederate Major Hockaday is called to war, leaving his young wife alone to run the farm in Holland County, South Carolina; care for his two-year-old son, Charlie; and manage the slaves—none of which she’s equipped to do. Early in the narrative, told from multiple perspectives, we learn that Placidia becomes pregnant long after the major’s departure, that the baby dies, and that she goes to jail for killing the child. The mystery of what happens spins out in a white-knuckle tale of survival, told through letters, court records, and, toward the book’s end, Placidia’s diary, found 30 years later. With language evocative of the South (“craggy as a shagbark stump”) and taut, almost unbearable suspense, dramatized by characters readers will swear they know, this galvanizing historical portrait of courage, determination, and abiding love mesmerizes and shocks. Similar in tone and descriptive flow to Charles Frazier’s Cold Mountain (1997) and with the compelling narratives found in Robert Hicks’ The Widow of the South (2005). -- Baker, Jen (Reviewed 7/1/2016) (Booklist, vol 112, number 21, p42)
  • Placidia is seventeen when she marries Major Hockaday, an older man and recent widower with a child. After he is recalled to service in the Civil War, she must manage his farm and take care of his son and all with little help. When he returns, it is to find that she has given birth, and said to have murdered the child. Told in journal entries, letters, and court documents, we learn about her life and the answers to this puzzling and horrifically charged event. A dark book that highlights the amazing strength so many of these women had to develop. -- Diane Scholl, Batavia Public Library, Batavia, IL. (LibraryReads, January 2017)
  • Based on true events, Rivers’s epistolary historical novel is a stirring Civil War–era version of The Scarlet Letter. Placidia Fincher is 17 when she marries Confederate Major Gryffth Hockaday in April 1863, after knowing him for just a handful of hours. Two days after their wedding, Gryffth is called to fight again, and he doesn’t return from the war to his South Carolina farm for nearly two years. When he does, he discovers that during his absence, his wife had carried another man’s child, who was born and died of mysterious causes right before Gryffth’s return. To protect the innocent parties close to her, Placidia refuses to give up any information about the incident, even after a heartbroken Gryffth orders a court hearing for infanticide. She bears all of the weight of this secret, until her diary falls into the wrong hands. Told through gripping, suspenseful letters, court documents, and diary entries, Rivers’s story spans three decades to show the rippling effects of buried secrets, when the Hockadays and future generations must learn to overcome the damage this secret and the war have done to all the families involved. Agent: Susan Ginsburg, Writers House. (Jan.) --Staff (Reviewed 10/03/2016) (Publishers Weekly, vol 263, issue 40, p)
  • Diary entries and letters form the basis of this novel about one woman’s experiences during the Civil War.Placidia Fincher is 17 when she marries Gryffth Hockaday, an enigmatic major in the Confederate army. She spends two days as his wife before his redeployment, when she's left to run his estate and care for his child by an earlier marriage. It’s at least two years before they see each other again, and in that time, Placidia bears a child, and the child dies. The circumstances of the child’s birth and death are unknown in the community but much remarked upon, mainly because Maj. Hockaday could not have been the father. When he finally returns from war, he accuses his young wife of adultery and murder. This is the first novel by Rivers, an award-winning playwright, and it’s a remarkable one. She takes a collage approach to her storytelling, advancing the narrative through letters between Placidia and a cousin, diary entries, and more letters, written decades later, which finally uncover the truth of Placidia’s circumstances. Rivers is adept at doling out information in teaspoon-sized increments, which makes the book hard to put down. And while the Civil War–era language can seem stiff in the early chapters, Rivers seems to smooth out her syntax as the book goes along. There are moments of loveliness amid the struggles and hardships of war, and Rivers is able to depict scenes of horror without exploiting her characters or manipulating her readers. If this book is any indicator, Rivers is a promising talent and an adroit storyteller. Hopefully, this won’t be her only foray into fiction. A compulsively readable work that takes on the legacy of slavery in the United States, the struggles specific to women, and the possibilities for empathy and forgiveness.(Kirkus Reviews, October 15, 2016)
Assigning source
Provided by publisher
http://library.link/vocab/ext/novelist/bookUI
10546096
Cataloging source
PUL
http://library.link/vocab/creatorDate
1954-
http://library.link/vocab/creatorName
Rivers, Susan
Dewey number
813/.6
Index
no index present
LC call number
PS3618.I859
LC item number
S43 2017
Literary form
fiction
Nature of contents
bibliography
http://library.link/vocab/resourcePreferred
True
http://library.link/vocab/subjectName
  • American Civil War (1861-1865)
  • Adultery
  • Married women
  • Fugitive slaves
  • South Carolina
  • FICTION
  • FICTION
  • FICTION
  • Adultery
  • Fugitive slaves
  • Married women
  • South Carolina
  • Fugitive slaves
Label
The second Mrs. Hockaday : a novel, Susan Rivers
Instantiates
Publication
Copyright
Note
Subtitle from cover
Bibliography note
Includes bibliographical references
Carrier category
volume
Carrier category code
  • nc
Carrier MARC source
rdacarrier
Content category
text
Content type code
  • txt
Content type MARC source
rdacontent
Dimensions
22 cm
Edition
First edition.
Extent
264 pages
Isbn
9781616205812
Lccn
2016007696
Media category
unmediated
Media MARC source
rdamedia
Media type code
  • n
System control number
(OCoLC)933272432
Label
The second Mrs. Hockaday : a novel, Susan Rivers
Publication
Copyright
Note
Subtitle from cover
Bibliography note
Includes bibliographical references
Carrier category
volume
Carrier category code
  • nc
Carrier MARC source
rdacarrier
Content category
text
Content type code
  • txt
Content type MARC source
rdacontent
Dimensions
22 cm
Edition
First edition.
Extent
264 pages
Isbn
9781616205812
Lccn
2016007696
Media category
unmediated
Media MARC source
rdamedia
Media type code
  • n
System control number
(OCoLC)933272432

Library Locations

    • A. Mitchell Powell Jr. BranchBorrow it
      25 Hospital Road, Newnan, GA, 30263, US
      33.387732 -84.816797

Library Links

Processing Feedback ...