Sunday, March 3, 2013

Miss Dreamsville and the Collier County Women's Literary Society

Title:Miss Dreamsville and the Collier County Women's Literary Society Author: Amy Hall Hearth Publisher: Atria Pages: 234

I borrowed this book from my local public library.

From Amazon:
Eighty-year-old Dora, the narrator of a story that began a half century earlier, is bonding with an unlikely set of friends, including Jackie Hart, a restless middle-aged wife and mother from Boston, who gets into all sorts of trouble when her family moves to a small, sleepy town in Collier County, Florida, circa 1962.
With humor and insight the novel chronicles the awkward North-South cultural divide as Jackie, this hapless but charming “Yankee,” looks for some excitement in her life by accepting an opportunity to host a local radio show where she creates a mysterious, late-night persona, “Miss Dreamsville,” and by launching a reading group—the Collier County Women’s Literary Society—thus sending the conservative and racially segregated town into uproar. The only townspeople who venture to join are regarded as outsiders at best—a young gay man, a divorced woman, a poet, and a young black woman who dreams of going to college.

This brilliant fiction debut by Amy Hill Hearth, a New York Times bestselling author, brings to life unforgettable characters who found the one thing that eluded them as individuals:a place in the world. Inspired by a real person, Miss Dreamsville and the Collier County Women’s Literary Society will touch the heart of anyone and everyone who has ever felt like an outsider longing to fit in.

Dora Witherspoon won me over on the first page. An intelligent and caring divorcee', she whiles away her days in a small town post office.  When glamorous Jackie, newly arrived from Boston, starts a reading group, Dora can't wait to attend. She and the other members of the group are largely outcasts in this small southern town. Slowly they develop a friendship that bonds them together when tragedy strikes. 
I enjoyed this book. It realistically portrays life in a small southern town, as well as how northerners are perceived in the south. A fish out of water, Jackie has no idea how her northern ways and words are interpreted by others in Collier County. The price she pays for this is a heavy price to pay, but is enlightening for all in the end. 
Hearth's writing style is easy and enjoyable. This book isn't weighted down by endless detail. She gets to the point and tells her story in an easy-going style. I look forward to reading more of her work.


  1. Since I am from Florida myself, I enjoy books set down here in the South. I had seen this one before and was interested in it but now that I've read your review I am adding it to my Goodreads TBR so I don't forget about it! Happy reading.


  2. Sounds like a good read.