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‘The Second Mrs. Hockaday’ Tells The Story Of Sacrifice, Bravery And Love During The Civil War

An image of the book cover 'The Second Mrs. Hockaday'
Algonquin Books

In the summer of 2014, writer Susan Rivers was busy researching historical documents in her local library when she came across something interesting. It was an inquest from 1865 about a young woman who was accused of giving birth to a child and murdering the infant while her husband was away fighting for the Confederacy.

The story inspired Rivers to write her debut novel, “The Second Mrs. Hockaday” (Algonquin Books/2017). The book tells the story of PlacidiaHockaday, a teenage bride who is accused of the same crime but maintains a courageous silence throughout the accusations.

Host Frank Stasio talks with Rivers about shaping historical narratives into fiction and how Rivers’ work as an award-winning playwright helped her with the novel. Rivers reads tonight at 7 p.m. at Scuppernong Books in Greensboro, Friday at 5 p.m. at the Country Bookshop in Southern Pines and Saturday at 11 a.m. at McIntyre’s Books in Pittsboro.

Charlie Shelton-Ormond is a podcast producer for WUNC. His fascination for audio storytelling and radio journalism began as a broadcast major at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He began his career as a reporter for Carolina Connection, UNC’s student-led radio news show, where Charlie’s work won multiple Hearst Journalism Awards.
Longtime NPR correspondent Frank Stasio was named permanent host of The State of Things in June 2006. A native of Buffalo, Frank has been in radio since the age of 19. He began his public radio career at WOI in Ames, Iowa, where he was a magazine show anchor and the station's News Director.
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