The Second Mrs. Hockaday

Susan Rivers. Algonquin, $25.95 (256p) ISBN 978-1-61620-581-2
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.)
Reviewed on: 10/03/2016
Release date: 01/01/2017
Compact Disc - 978-1-68168-204-4
Paperback - 288 pages - 978-1-61620-736-6
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