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Miss Dreamsville and the Collier County Women's Literary Society: A Novel Paperback – October 2, 2012
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"This first novel is a sweet story of female bonding and southern grit that will remind readers of Fannie Flagg." - Booklist/American Library Association
Amy Hill Hearth's delightful first novel, Miss Dreamville and the Collier County Women's Literary Society is a rollicking, provocative tale about how reading and meeting others who are different can be the most subversive of acts.
—Ruth Pennebaker, author of Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakthrough
"Amy Hill Hearth honors and humanizes people and their wonderful diversities in her debut novel, Miss Dreamsville and the Collier County Women's Literary Society. She astutely weaves pertinent, factual histories into her fictional debut novel. What a laudable book!" –Camille O. Cosby
“Segregation, feminism, gays coming out, interracial dating, it’s all in there, written as it happened in small towns everywhere. And wisdom; you could learn a lot about life from reading this book. Most of all, be daring, be friends, be true to yourself. By the end, I cried and I must say, I wouldn’t mind hearing more about each of the richly painted characters.”
—Patricia Harman author of The Midwife of Hope River, Arms Wide Open: A Midwife’s Journey and The Blue Cotton Gown
Miss Dreamsville‘s cast of characters includes a postmistress, a librarian, a convicted murderer, a northern transplant, a lone African-American girl, and an even lonelier gay man, among others. Set in Naples in the early 1960s, its local color and plot will surprise Florida natives and visitors alike. –Enid Shomer, author of The Twelve Rooms of the Nile
“It’s a fun novel that flies by and makes readers glad Hearth is expanding her own literary horizons.” (The Hearld Sun)
More About the Author
Hearth was born in New England but spent her childhood in South Carolina. She began her career as a newspaper reporter at a small Florida daily paper where she met her husband, a Collier County native, while on assignment.
Top Customer Reviews
Dora, the narrator, but not always the protagonist of this quaint and charming book, is looking back on her life; on a time when an awkward group of women (and one "sweet" man) formed the first ever book club headed up by none other than Jackie Hart. Jackie is the new girl in town, from the North, which might as well be the same as saying she were from Hades as far as these small-towners are concerned. Jackie is progressive, a thinker, and hates to be called a housewife. Finding Collier County just a bit dull, and nothing like her native Boston, Jackie sets out to create culture in a town where the biggest event of the year is a festival celebrating mud.
It isn't long before she gathers together a misfit group of women that all like to read. And it's quite the group: one librarian, one divorcee, one parolee, one sweet man, one "plain Jane," one negro girl (did I mention this book is set in the early sixties before the Civil Rights movement?), and one Yankee "bitch" all gathered together to discuss the literary merits of what books they can actually agree to read.
But, as with book clubs, life becomes a viable piece of discussion matter outside the pages of the text and the odd little group finds themselves knitted closely to one another so that the fabric of their lives becomes one in the same.Read more ›
There are some compelling stories buried in most of the characters. But rather than bring them out with some good writing, several of them were glossed over in chapters of the book that would have perfect for their character development. Some of them were described only briefly in a litany at the end of the book. There was at least one major story line - the librarian's - that was introduced and closed in just one paragraph!
I had hoped I was reading a book to recommend to my book club. But I won't insult them with bringing this one to the table. And I'm certainly glad I didn't spend the extra money to buy that paper book to read on the airplane - it was bad enough that I bought an eBook.
This is one of those books that I am drawn to because of the beautiful cover and the adorable (and absurdly long) title. I was hoping that I loved this book and I was not disappointed. The story is told by Dora looking back into the year 1962 when the feisty Jackie Hart moves to Collier County from Boston. Jackie starts a book club whose members don't quite fit into society for their own reasons (a divorced woman, a convicted murderer, a Yankee, a homosexual, a young black woman who dreams of attending college). Reviewing books becomes a background to the friendships and adventures that originate with the book club ladies (and man). The author does a flawless job with switching back and forth between the point of view of Dora and that of Jackie Hart. One chapter started with Jackie as the narrator and ended with Dora as the narrator. The transition was perfect and absolutely flawless.
This story quaint, quirky, and endlessly entertaining. I loved all of the characters. Being that the story is set in the early 1960s, there is much political and social turmoil over women's rights, "negro" rights, and homosexuality. The author did a fabulous job of treading on the issues lightly by adding humor and personality. I often find the topic of women's rights tiresome because of the "poor me" attitude injected into many stories. This was absolutely not the case in this book.
Because I am a Northerner who is living in the South, it was SO MUCH fun reading about the North/South conflicts and social differences. I loved the comparisons of behavior, politics, fashion, food, etc. It really hit home for me because I love so many things about both the North and the South. Stereotypes often really do ring true.
This was a wonderful, quick read and I highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys reading Southern fiction!!
There is so much humor to be found in this book. We are given, as stated before, a cast of highly unlikely characters who are joined together in what is essentially a women's book club, well except for Robbie-Lee, Naples's only known homosexual. Each of these characters has some pretty interesting mannerisms and traits that constantly kept me laughing out loud. Our main character, Dora, has a tendency for taking in oversized turtles that could grab hold of her at any second and refuse to let go, and even the thought of this makes me laugh. One of the members calls herself Plain Jane and another one is an ex-con who murdered her husband some years before. If you don't catch the drift by now, they are all hilarious! I can just picture them all now, and how I wish I could have been a fly on the wall.
This book is stocked full of historical information and is a great representation of its time. Like I said before, it takes place in the 1960's when the Civil Rights Movement was at its height. Things in the South were a little different from the rest of the nation, and threats of terrorist attack from Russia were rampant as well. I could feel the down home country feel that made up the town of Naples and the Southern twang/dialect used by our narrator matches my own.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Enjoyed the story it had an interesting cast of characters.Characters are not truly fully developed, however you do get a feel for their personalities. Read morePublished 6 days ago by gail litwak
Miss Dreamsville and the Collier County Women’s Literary Society is a step back in time to the 1960’s and a more racially segregated south. Read morePublished 6 days ago by lunarchi
This was a fun read, especially for those of us living on the Gulf Coast of Florida. It was a quick, light read but did touch on topics of race & women's roles in society. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Julia L. Scott
If you're in a blue mood and need something to make your laugh and lighten your spirits pick up this book and curl up in your favorite chair. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Joyce
I was attracted to the book because I'm part of a book club. The characters are all very interesting and for that reason I wanted to know much more about them. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Cape Reader
I enjoyed this and the setting in 1962. An unlikely group of people become friends. It's a quick and enjoyable read. Read morePublished 3 months ago by MomIsReading