Second Mrs. Hockaday (Rivers)

Discussion Questions
We'll add publisher questions if and when they're available; in the meantime, consider using our LitLovers talking points for The Second Mrs. Hockaday...then take off on your own:

1. The Second Mrs. Hockaday is told through letters and diary entries. Did you find this method of storytelling engaging or confusing or off-putting? Is the format sufficient in fleshing out the characters...or does it lead to rather sketchy or thin character development? What about the change in time frames between later generations?

2. What do we learn of Placidia and Millie through their correspondence. What do their letters reveal about themselves, personally, and especially about southern life for women during the Civil War? What do you think of Placidia? Do you sense a touch of Scarlett O'Hara in her...or not?

3. Why is Placidia so evasive in response to Millie's questions?

4. What role does Achilles Fincher Hockaday play? His nine-page letter doesn't make an appearance until Part 2 and readers have no clue as to who he is. Were you confused?

5. What do you think of Major Hockaday? One reviewer described him as Bronte-esque, i.e., Mr. Rochester or Heathcliff, perhaps. Do you see any resemblance?

6. Mystery stories ratchet up suspense by withholding information, releasing it bit by bit—until the big revelation at the end. Does Susan Rivers keep you in the dark? Is this story a page-turner? Were you surprised when you got to the end? Or had you figured out what happened beforehand?

7. Talk about the outfall of the buried secret on fututre generations. How do Placidia's offsprings come to grips with the damage left in the wake of the scandal—and the war?

(Questions by LitLovers. Please feel free to use them, online or off, with attribution. Thanks.)

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