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Miss Dreamsville and the Collier County Women's Literary Society: A Novel Paperback – October 2, 2012


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Atria Books (October 2, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1451675232
  • ISBN-13: 978-1451675238
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.4 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (74 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #94,011 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Naples, Florida, was nothing but a tiny backwater in the 1960s. Dora Witherspoon, called the Turtle Lady for her tendency to rescue injured snapping turtles, is resigned to being back in town. The scandal of her divorce is soon eclipsed by the arrival of Jackie Hart, a middle-aged, fabulous, and dissatisfied Boston housewife. With the help of the town librarian, Jackie forms the Collier County Women’s Literary Society. The reading group (or salon, as she insists) attracts the town misfits: Plain Jane, a spinster with a secret career; Robbie-Lee Simpson, the town’s only gay man; Miss Bailey White, fresh out of prison for killing her husband; and Priscilla Harmon, a young African American maid with dreams of higher education. Jackie stirs up more than just literary discussion as she adjusts to southern ways, running afoul of her husband’s boss and the local Klan chapter. The so-called misfits of the town are good company, although a few very early revelations eliminate some much-needed tension. This first novel is a sweet story of female bonding and southern grit that will remind readers of Fannie Flagg. --Susan Maguire

Review

"Sometimes, an exceptional writer finds an exceptional premise, and the result is a truly exceptional book. Such is the case with 'Miss Dreamsville'...The writing is brilliant, especially the dialogue through which the characters are defined." - Philip K. Jason/Southern Literary Review

"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

Amy Hill Hearth is a New York Times, USA Today, Publisher's Weekly, Los Angeles Times, and Washington Post Bestselling Author. Her first book, HAVING OUR SAY: THE DELANY SISTERS' FIRST 100 YEARS, was on the New York Times nonfiction list for more than two years, and was adapted to the Broadway stage and an award-winning television film. Her first novel, MISS DREAMSVILLE AND THE COLLIER COUNTY WOMEN'S LITERARY SOCIETY, was published by Atria/Simon and Schuster on Oct. 2, 2012.

SOUTHERN LITERARY REVIEW of MISS DREAMSVILLE:
"One can feel the immense joy of Amy Hill Hearth's engagement in her first novel. It radiates through every scene and through every page. Sometimes, an exceptional writer finds an exceptional premise, and the result is a truly exceptional book. Such is the case with Miss Dreamsville....The writing is brilliant, especially the dialogue through which the characters are defined. -
Philip K. Jason, Southern Literary Review, Nov. 14, 2012

MISS DREAMSVILLE is the November 2012 selection of Simon and Schuster's Book Club and the January 2013 Main Selection of the Pulpwood Queens of East Texas, the largest "meeting and discussing" book club in the world with more than 550 chapters. MISS DREAMSVILLE has been chosen, also, for the May 2013 edition of "Reader's Digest Select Editions."

Book Clubs: To set up a Skype or conference call chat, send an email to amyhillhearth@yahoo.com or contact the publisher.

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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See all 74 customer reviews
The characters were well written, diverse and interesting to boot.
Book Him Danno
This was a wonderful, quick read and I highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys reading Southern fiction!!
Paula R March
This book's characters drew me in and the story made me laugh out loud.
Avid Reader

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By C. McGowan on January 20, 2013
Format: Paperback
Miss Dreamsville and the Collier County Women's Literary Society by Amy Hill Hearth was a pleasant surprise. I picked up this book in the airport, the cover drew me in (I'm a sucker for a matte cover with good, nostalgic artwork) and started reading it right away. The story unfolds in the swamps of Florida where alligator hunting women and Yankees mingle in comfortable uncomfortableness.

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.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Robin Gaither on November 27, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I first saw this book on a shelf in an airport bookstore and the cover and the first few pages I read made we want to buy it for my Kindle. So good for the cover designer! After the first few chapters - which held a lot of promise for a good read - the story line began to deteriorate. Before I was halfway through the book, not only did I know what was going to happen, I was disappointed in how what happened was written.

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.
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By David on May 15, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This story was very cute. Because I live in the area is was especially interesting. It was a fast read and I wanted to continue reading it whenever I had a chance to read.
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By C Mauro on May 4, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A light and quick read about people in the "small town" of Naples, Florida during a time when prejudiced was ripe in the south. There was racial prejudice, but also religious, gender, sexual and geographic prejudice. An unlikely group of women and one man form a "book club" which evolves into a group who explores sensitive issues and gross injustices. This book could make you laugh but more importantly, make you think.
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By Susan Bruce-Feinsod on February 16, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Fast, light story about a Northern interloper in a Southern town during the 1960's. Written better than most, with no wasted words.
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By Parrish MacDonald on February 13, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I loved this book and it held my interest throughout. Quirky characters and set in an interesting place (Naples, FL) in 1960s. I'm planning on recommending it to my book group to read. Lots of fodder for a great book discussion!
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Everyone in our book club loved this book. Wonderful diverse characters that will stay with you. You won't regret selecting this book.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I had such a great time reading this book! Amy Hill Hearth seems to have met all her characters in person. She made me laugh so many times as I read this book. I highly recommend it!
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