Spring break has been filled with some amazing time spent reading. I've tried to work on ARCs that are piling up, but also wanted to read from my library stack. The Second Mrs. Hockaday is a book that has holds on it which means I can't renew it, so I either needed to read it quickly, or take it back and put a hold on it for the future.
On Saturday night at 10 PM I chose to read it. And I was finished by 9 AM the next day.
This novel rang two of my bells immediately: it's an epistolary novel, something I love, and it's historical fiction.
Told in letters mostly written by Placidia and her cousin, we find out that Placidia has given birth to an illegitimate child while her husband was away fighting in the Civil War. When he discovers this upon his return, he immediately has her arrested. As she awaits trial she writes to her cousin, still unwilling to speak of what happened while her husband was gone.
Later, her son comes across a journal that his mother kept during the war, which details the events of the years his father was gone. As he reads, he comes to know his parents in a different light, and talks with his mother's cousin about the events that occurred before he was born.
Rivers slowly reveals what happened during this time in the letters and journal Placidia kept. I found myself racing to then end, curious to find out the parentage of the illegitimate child myself.
This is a fast read that is easy to get into. I love historical fiction, but am not always interested in Civil War era books. This book, however, was a winner for me. I enjoyed every minute of reading and was sad to see it end.