Adelicia is not a biography, but an historical fiction based on Adelicia’s life and historical events of the time. Twenty-one, self-willed and ambitious, Adelicia steps into the Nashville of 1838, as it is making its transition from frontier town to enterprising city. After her first husband’s death, she arguably becomes the wealthiest woman in America. However, her wealth offers little protection from the sufferings of the human heart, and Adelicia has her share. She endures the premature deaths of her first two husbands, as well as those of six of her ten children.
Structurally, Adelicia’s story unfolds in five parts revealing the most legendary aspects of her life:
Part I 1838-1846, recounts the drama of the young woman in her twenties, her marriage to Isaac Franklin, his death, the losses of three of her four children, and the unprecedented contesting of Isaac’s will, from the Supreme Court in Tennessee to the Supreme Court in Louisiana.
Part III 1863-1864, presents her as a mature main-chancer, traveling through major battlefields, befriending the influential of both North and South and daringly shipping her cotton crop from New Orleans’ war-time port to England.
Part IV 1864, finds Adelicia returning to a war-torn Nashville, shockingly discovering that Union General Thomas Wood is occupying Belle Monte.
Part V 1864-67, introduces the dismayed, yet, undaunted heroine traveling to Europe, where in Paris, she is hosted by the Countess Eugenie and Napoleon III. After continuing her post-war tour, she returns to Nashville, rebuilding and establishing herself as doyenne of a city that is both repelled and mesmerized by her.
Adelicia’s breaking with tradition and triumphantly overcoming, urges her rich and compelling story to incite and inspire readers of today, much as she intrigued her contemporaries, and the press who followed her about Paris.
Adelicia’s universal and timeless appeal is driven by the enthralling adventures of the unconventional and compelling heroine, and the numerous subplots that keep both dialogue and narrative active.
One-half of the novel recounts the onset of the Civil War in 1861, through to its close in 1865, and the beginnings of Reconstruction. Much of the Civil War material in these chapters was obtained through journals, court depositions and logs kept by both Federal and Confederate Governments.
Part II 1847-1863, hurls the reader full force into the maturing business woman in her early thirties and forties, her second marriage to Joseph Acklen, receiving her inheritance from Franklin, the deaths of three more children, the onset of the Civil War and Acklen’s death.
Adelicia’s Belle Monte stands majestic in the heart of Nashville, as does Fairvue Plantation in Gallatin Tennessee. The West Feliciana plantations are presently the grounds of the Louisiana State Penitentiary, Angola, the name given the property by her second husband, Col. Joseph Acklen.