Title: THE SECOND MRS. HOCKADAY
Author: SUSAN RIVERS
Type of Book: HARDCOVER
Genre: HISTORICAL FICTION
Length: 272 PAGES
Publisher: ALGONQUIN BOOKS
Release Date: JANUARY 10, 2017
Price: $25.95 USD
Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟
I love that this book is unique in that the story is told entirely through letters, diary entries and court documents. It lends an intimacy and believability to the story that would otherwise be impossible to achieve.
The story is set in South Carolina during and after the American Civil War.
Through letters we learn of how unique a period of history those years were. Marriages were made within days of meeting and men went off to war leaving their young, inexperienced brides at home to tend to properties and farms of which they knew next to nothing as was the case of Major Hockaday and his young bride; Placidia.
But, those trials were nothing when compared to something that the men who went off to war had barely considered; the vulnerability their wives and children to theives, army deserters and rogues of all kinds.
The choice of crafting an entire novel mostly through letters lends itself to revealing the authentic voices of the charcters in the book. In fact, I found myself so immersed in the story that I felt I had been transported back in time to this dark period in America’s history.
This compelling narrative details a time when slavery was slowly (ever so slowly) disappearing as it became apparent that the South were destined to lose the war and to a time when men felt that it was their patriotic duty to fight for their beliefs. It also follows the gradual change in the belief system of the main character – Placidia and how, over time through the education of life unsheltered by her father’s influence and money, her beliefs begin to change.
The story also does a credible job of describing the lives of slaves during that time. Readers cannot help but be drawn in to their plight even while understanding the need of their white owners to have them available as labourers in order for their farms to survive.
THE SECOND MRS HOCKADAY is at heart the story of a couple and their desire to create a life together despite the multitude of hardships they each endure. It is a story of resilience and hope despite the fact that their futures often seemed to be in doubt. In fact, I found the book haunting in it’s intensity and I was literally unable to put it down.
This book is exceptionally well researched and was inspired by a true story. Author Susan Rivers deserves every literary accolade that is sure to be coming her way.
I feel both humbled and blessed that the publisher (Algonquin Books) through Netgalley chose me to be an advance reader of this story and I will not be surprised when this book hits the Bestseller lists upon it’s official release. I also believe that this book will receive an abundance of literary awards upon publication.
I rate this book as 5 out of 5 stars and I highly recommend it to anyone and everyone who loves not only terrific historical fiction, but a truly great read. 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟
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SUSAN RIVERS says “Language is my life.”
Susan began as a playwright, receiving the Julie Harris Playwriting Award and the New York Drama League Award, working as an NEA Writer-in-Residence in San Francisco, and being named as a finalist for the Susan Smith Blackburn Award for British and American Women Playwrights. She is a veteran of the Playwrights Festival at Sundance Institute for the Arts and the Eugene O’Neill Playwrights Conference and has crossed the country working on productions and workshops of her plays.
Fiction became Susan’s focus after starting her family and moving to the Carolinas in 1995. She holds an MFA in Fiction-writing from Queens University of Charlotte in North Carolina and was awarded a Regional Artist Grant from the Arts and Sciences Council there. Since 2009, she and her husband have made their home in a small town in South Carolina, where stray animals and stories are thick on the ground. (None are turned away.)
Susan teaches English at a university in the upstate region of South Carolina and values her daily interactions with bright young men and women.
To learn more about this author visit the following links:
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