Synopses & Reviews
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.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved."
TAUT, ALMOST UNBEARABLE SUSPENSE . . . This galvanizing historical portrait of courage, determination, and abiding love mesmerizes and shocks. Booklist (starred review)
All I had known for certain when I came around the hen house that first evening in July and saw my husband trudging into the yard after lifetimes spent away from us, a borrowed bag in his hand and the shadow of grief on his face, was that he had to be protected at all costs from knowing what had happened in his absence. I did not believe he could survive it.
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 conjures the era with uncanny immediacy. Amid the desperation of wartime, Placidia sees the social order of her Southern homeland unravel as her views on race and family are transformed. 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 that generation--and the next--began to see their world anew."