Adelicia, is a clever and brilliant heroine, whose powerful and willful spirit leads her through both triumph and sorrow, through perils and conflict, yet leaves her with the drive to meet the unexpected with force and the will to endure and to overcome.
Against all odds, all obstacles, she breaks with tradition, accomplishing what she sets out to do. And although her encounters with grief, disfavor and adversity are of the deepest kind, she never surrenders to what Fate tosses her way, nor allows herself to become its victim.
She is a gentle, loving mother and a woman of great sensitivity with a deeply hidden need for security, setting the stage for a public image as one of selfish-ambition, while her private image remains one of self-preservation.
After the death of her first husband, she is reportedly the wealthiest woman in 19th century America. With shrewd business acumen, Adelicia accumulates greater wealth and ultimately ships the last load of cotton to leave New Orleans’ wartime port. The cotton is mysteriously hauled from her Louisiana plantations on Union wagons pulled by Union mules, however, under Confederate guard. She takes payment in gold, only, and is wealthier after the Civil War than before.
Adelicia’s life is marked with moments of triumph such as when she succeeds in breaking her first husband’s will, when she manages to manipulate both Union and Confederate armies in order to preserve, then to smuggle her cotton crop to England, and when she is presented at the courts of both Queen Victoria and of Napoleon III, and is ultimately wooed by the Emperor.
“Her quest was set on what she considered rightfully hers. Anything that complicated or diverted that quest was of no interest.”
Adelicia, a woman of culture and breeding, and great determination, finds her quest a noble one, a conviction that throughout her life allows her grasp to reach for what is beyond.
By her mid-thirties, she has been tagged, “worldly,” by Nashville’s society, whose acceptance and approval she seeks. When asked about her extravagance, however, she replies, “My dear, extravagance is when one cannot afford it. I have never been extravagant.”