Award-winning playwright Susan Rivers makes a singularly impressive debut with her accomplished novel, The Second Mrs. Hockaday about a teenage bride who must do whatever it takes to survive during the Civil War. Through a narrative that unfolds in letters, diary entries, and inquest reports, The Second Mrs. Hockaday vividly brings to life the story of seventeen-year-old Placidia, who marries a Confederate soldier in haste and is, only days later, left alone to care for his two-year-old child, manage his slaves, and run and defend his isolated three-hundred-acre farm in rural South Carolina. In a starred review, Booklist calls the novel a "white-knuckle tale of survival" and raves, “With language evocative of the South 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.”
Inspired by a true incident, this saga 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.