Reading Matters

Rivers unable to eat, sleep while writing riveting Civil War novel

Susan Rivers, the woman who says she was unable “to eat, sleep or think productively about anything but the beloved,” will be on hand to read from and discuss the beloved – her new novel, “The Second Mrs. Hockaday” – at two events this week.

At 7 p.m. on Wednesday, she’ll be Park Road Books, 4139 Park Road, Park Road Shopping Center, Charlotte.

At noon on Thursday, she’ll be at Main Street Books, 126 S. Main St., Davidson.

Set in Upstate South Carolina during the Civil War, the novel is the taut and thrilling tale of a young woman left to run her husband’s farm and care for his child while he, Major Hockaday, is off fighting on the battlefields of Virginia.

The story turns on two events: Placidia’s pregnancy – there’s no chance the Major could have fathered the baby – and the baby’s death. Who is the father? How does the baby die?

Threaded throughout the novel are other riveting events based on Rivers’ intensive research in original sources, biographies and county histories.

A former Charlottean, Rivers is a California native who now lives in Blacksburg, S.C. She earned her MFA in fiction at Queens University in Charlotte.

The events are free, and you’re invited.