Thursday, September 27, 2012

Book Review: Miss Dreamsville and the Collier County Women’s Literary Society by Amy Hill Hearth

13547429 Title: Miss Dreamsville and the Collier County Women’s Literary Society

Author: Amy Hill Hearth (
author website)

: Atria Books; Original edition (October 2, 2012)

ISBN 10: 1451675232

Pages: 272 pages

Format Read: NetGalley provided by the publisher

About the Book: (from

A brilliant debut novel from a New York Times bestselling author about a transplanted wife from Boston who arrives in Florida in the 1960s, starts a literary salon, and shakes up the status quo.

In 1962, Jackie Hart moved to Naples, Florida, from Boston with her husband and children. Wanting something personally fulfilling to do with her time, she starts a reading club and anonymously hosts a radio show, calling herself Miss Dreamsville. 

The racially segregated town falls in love with Miss Dreamsville, but doesn’t know what to make of Jackie, who welcomes everyone into her book club, including a woman who did prison time for allegedly killing her husband, a man of questionable sexual preference, a young divorcee, as well as a black woman.

Setting: Florida, 1962

hearth About the Author: Amy Hill Hearth (pronounced "HARTH") is a New York Times bestselling author and Peabody Award-winning writer who specializes in stories about the lives of women. She is the author or co-author of seven nonfiction books, including the oral history HAVING OUR SAY: THE DELANY SISTERS' FIRST 100 YEARS, a New York Times bestseller for 113 weeks which was adapted to the Broadway stage and an award-winning television film. Amy Hill Hearth attended the University of Tampa, graduating with a BA in creative writing in 1982. She worked as a reporting in the 1980s in Florida. She met her future husband, Blair, who was raised in Collier County, while reporting in Florida.

Her first novel, Miss Dreamsville and The Collier County Women’s Literary Society, is inspired by her mother-in-law, Jacqueline B Heart, who did create a radio show called Miss Dreamsville in Naples, Florida. This novel is set in Florida, 1962. Amy Hill Hearth moved to South Carolina in 1965 as a six year old child. This contributed to her understanding of the Deep South during that era.

My favorite tidbit about Amy Hill Hearth is that she and a childhood friend rescued turtles trying to cross the road as children. Amy still rescues turtles today, where ever she is.

Related Media: Amy Hill Hearth Reads from her book, Miss Dreamsville and the Collier County Women’s Literary Society

My Review:   Miss Dreamsville and The Collier County Women’s Literary Society is a novel which touches on issues such as racism, homophobia and feminism in a heart warming and humorous way.   Though these issues are heavy this story is entertaining and evokes real emotions about the various characters.  Jackie a housewife from Boston and her family move to the Deep South in the racial charged 1960s.   Jackie starts this controversial Literary Society when moving to Collier County.  This novel is narrated by Dora, one of the lovable misfits that make up the Literary Society.    Each member of the Literary Society bring something different to the table during a time in history when different was not a valued attribute.

The members of the Literary Society are colorful and lovable.  I can’t even chose a favorite character as I loved them all.  I especially would love to see a movie made of this book just so I can see Dolores, the alligator hunter.  My image of her in my mind is pretty entertaining!!  The Literary Society is a group of people who are different, but develop a real friendship despite their differences.  Change is possible when people look beyond their difference and find their common ground.  For this group one common ground discovered was reading/books.    Jackie, the Literary Society originator had good intentions and wanted to change the injustices she saw in her new home, Naples. She didn’t always approach the issues in the best manner and was not always successful, but her intentions were good.

After this group has an incident with the Ku Klux Klan, it looks like all was for naught.   Can things really change??  But everything turns around for the group and the ending is very satisfying.  The group leaves a lasting impression on Naples, Florida.  I loved the ending!
Miss Dreamsville and The Collier County Women’s Literary Society is a debut novel by Amy Hill Hearth and will be available for purchase on October 2, 2012.  If you enjoyed The Help by Kathryn Stockett, you will love Miss Dreamsville and the Collier County Women’s Literary Society.  The characters really make the story!!

My Rating: 4 – I really liked Miss Dreamsville and the Collier County Women’s Literary Society – The story flowed well and the characters were wonderful!   I still smile thinking of the image in my head of each character.  A wonderful debut novel that kept me up a few nights later than a girl who needs to get to work on time should stay up!

My Rating Scale: 1 – didn’t like it; 2 – it was ok; 3 – liked it; 4 – really liked it; 5 – it was amazing

Other  Bloggers Reviews:

A Chick Who Reads
Silver’s Reviews
The Book Garden
Mysteries Etc

Happy Reading!

**Disclosure – Advance copy received from NetGalley in exchange for a fair review.

1 comment:

  1. This one sounds like my kind of read. I just wish I didn't have such a!big TBR list!