Wednesday, January 11, 2017
THE SECOND MRS. HOCKADAY by Susan Rivers
A stunning debut! Susan Rivers has done what many may have deemed impossible -
she has given us a mesmerizing story that comes to terms with the legacy of slavery in the United
States, the struggles only endured by women, and the immutable power of love.
The Second Mrs. Hockaday is the story of 17-year-old Placidia, a well brought up young
woman who quickly marries a Confederate soldier, Major Gryffith Hockaday. She is told by her father that the soldier has an untarnished reputation and he wants her to be cared for when he is gone. Repeating her vows with faith in their shared future Placidia is challenged when but a few days later her husband must return to service in the Civil War and she is left alone to care for Charlie, his two-year-old child. She must also manage his slaves and oversee and defend his 300 hundred acre farm in rural South Carolina.
The years ahead hold a terrifying tale of survival as she battles crop failures, inclement weather, caring for the livestock, disloyal slaves, isolation, thievery, and the unthinkable. Just the task of putting up enough food to last a winter seemed insurmountable. There were those who knew when a woman was alone during wartime and
would take every advantage of her.
Two years pass and when her husband returns he brings a case against Placidia, accusing her of giving birth to a child and murdering the baby in his absence. What happened to Placidia in the time she was left to take care of herself is told in a series of diary-like entries.
Rivers is an accomplished writer and has successfully, beautifully captured the challenges and courage of Southern women without their husbands during the Civil War. She says she was inspired by actual events from 1865 which she found in her local library. Whatever the case, Rivers has given us a mesmerizing story of courage, determination and love.
Don’t miss it!