would rather suffer the consequences of a sin she had not committed than to ease his unreasonable jealousy. She makes this confession on her deathbed, surrounded by the chaos that Hentz indicates is inflicted by undisciplined and ill-trained slaves.
It would seem that in the interest of supporting the Southern institution of slavery, Hentz was willing to recreate the wild heroine of other stories into a crazed ex-wife whose refusal to give up that freedom once wed has disastrous consequences for her soul.
Though Mrs. Elmwood says in Lovell's Folly that the Sutherlands are "no more responsible" for slavery than someone who "lives near, or in the vicinity of, a volcano," by the end of Bride, Hentz's narrator is warning the North not to interfere lest that volcano should erupt:
We love the North. . . . But, should the burning lava of anarchy and servile war roll over the plains of the South, and bury, under its fiery waves, its social and domestic institutions, it will not suffer alone. (579)
Contemporary critics of Hentz's work were generally encouraging. Though some were wary about her use of sentimentalism, many felt that she balanced "spontaneousness and freedom" with "refinement, delicacy, and poetic imagery" ( Baym127). The Planter's Northern Bride, one contemporary reviewer asserted, maintained the "wisdom of loving the whole country," a view most felt was missing in Stowe's work (quoted in Schillingsburg149). Although some critics felt that the South was portrayed unrealistically, in that Hentz had taken up none of its faults to balance its advantages, most were relieved to have a well-known writer responding to Stowe's overwhelmingly successful novel.
Most recent criticism has focused on Hentz's feminist heroines, her support of slavery, or more generally, her place in the tradition of sentimental novels. Critics by turns find her subversive and conventional, rebellious and complacent.
Lovell's Folly. Cincinnati: Hubbard and Edmands, 1833.
De Lara: or, The Moorish Bride. Tuscaloosa, AL: Wodruff & Olcott, 1843.
Aunt Patty's Scrap Bag. Philadelphia: Carey & Hart, 1846.
The Mob Cap; and Other Tales. Philadelphia: T. B. Peterson, 1848.
Linda; or, The Young Pilot of Belle Creole. Philadelphia: A. Hart, 1850.
Eoline; or, Magnolia Vale. Philadelphia: T. B. Peterson, 1852.
Marcus Warland; or, The Long Moss Spring, a Tale of the South. Philadelphia: A. Hart, 1852.
The Planter's Northern Bride. 2 vols. Philadelphia: Parry & McMillian, 1854.