The Second Mrs. Hockaday: A Novel
Placidia Fincher becomes The Second Mrs. Hockaday when she is only seventeen and after meeting her new husband the day before. The Civil War is going on, and her husband serves in the Confederate Army. His first wife has just died, leaving a small child for Placidia to raise. After only two days of marriage, her husband is called back to his regiment, and she is left alone to care for a child that is not hers and their farm, with only some servants to help her. Her husband returns two years later to find his wife has had a child and it died. He immediately asks for an inquest to try to figure out how is wife could have committed such a crime in his absence.
In her research, Susan Rivers came upon a case like this, and this story is her fictionalization of that account. It is told through letters and diary entries, giving it a more intimate feel, as if you are seeing a side to this story you wouldn’t normally get to if you had just heard about the crime. Placidia comes across as a very strong woman who has to grow up quite quickly. I can’t imagine being that young and being isolated with so much responsibility and in a time of war. Things turn out differently than you might expect. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and could not put it down.