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Miss Dreamsville and the Collier County Women's Literary Society
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Miss Dreamsville and the Collier County Women's Literary Society (Miss Dreamsville #1)

3.54  ·  Rating Details ·  1,743 Ratings  ·  419 Reviews
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
Paperback, 259 pages
Published October 2nd 2012 by Atria Books (first published January 1st 2012)
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Feb 17, 2013 Julie rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction
Despite its promising start, this novel falls very quickly into weak stereotypes and too many platitudes and cliches to list here. My librarian offered it to me as an antidote to some of the heavy books I've been reading lately, suggesting it would be uplifting and light-hearted. This "could" have been a strong novel, and a "rollicking, provocative tale", as the cover promises, but unfortunately Hearth seems to lose her way somewhere on the swamp road, before she ever dreams of meeting the KKK. ...more
Nov 07, 2012 Whitney rated it it was ok
Most of the other ARC readers have nothing but laud for this book, but I disagree with their praise. Amy Hill Hearth has a great concept for what could have been a classic Southern novel here, but it falls flat due to under editing and a desire to capitalize on the new wave of Southern fiction that is sure to follow the success of Stockett's sensational debut, The Help. The characters in Miss Dreamsville often seemed underdeveloped and one dimensional. Most of the book's major reveals into chara ...more
Karen Dautrich
Mar 05, 2013 Karen Dautrich rated it it was ok
I was surprised to find so many rave reviews for a book that I found contrived and trite. My Naples based book club is reading the book, as is every other book club in Naples, and there are many. The title alone guaranteed a commercial success. I just wish the content had not been such a disappointment. Hearth made little effort to paint a picture of time and place with her words. I wanted to experience the early 60's in Naples the way Doris Kearns Goodwin had taken me to her childhood neighborh ...more
Alice Paterra
Nov 14, 2012 Alice Paterra rated it did not like it
It wants to be The Help, and it wants to be the Guernsey Literary and potato pie society, but it isn't either. Poorly written, under-developed characters. Story doesn't hang together. No resolution to real issues. Unrealistic.
Debbie Krenzer
Aug 09, 2015 Debbie Krenzer rated it really liked it
I really thought this was going to be a little bit more humorous that what it actually was. While it did have some humor towards the middle of the book, I still enjoyed this book very much.

There were a lot of secrets going on, a LOT of quirky characters, revenge on an ex (loved it!!), book club meetings, gossip, friendship, loyalty, and sometimes informational. It really held my attention. I thought it was a great story and had a great flow going. I read through it pretty quickly, not that it wa
Feb 18, 2016 Amy rated it it was amazing
I loved this book! What a great read. I completely felt like I was part of this small town group of misfit friends along for the ride during the changing times in their world of the early 1960's. It's a great commentary on the social status and acceptance of the individuals of this time period without being over the top. It was a friendly and inviting read. I wanted to be part of their "movement"/book club. Hearth has a great voice expressed in all her characters and is a wonderful storyteller. ...more
Shelleyrae at Book'd Out
Sep 11, 2015 Shelleyrae at Book'd Out rated it really liked it

In Miss Dreamsville and the Collier County Women's Literary Society, Dora 'Turtle Lady' Witherspoon relates the adventures of six unlikely friends in southern Florida during 1962. Jackie Hart maybe a 'yankee carpetbagger' but dowdy postal worker Dora can't help but admire the seemingly effortless glamour of Collier County's newest resident. Dora, recently divorced and lonely, is flattered when Jackie invites her to the inaugural meeting of the Collier County Women's Literary Society at the town'
This novel is set in Naples, Florida in the 1960's. The style of writing reminded me of the novels by Fannie Flagg in how it pokes fun at Southern customs and traditions and is set in a small town. However, in the midst of the humor, it also takes on serious issues such as the presence and activities of the Ku Klux Klan, obstacles African-American people (called 'colored' people in the novel according to the time period it was set in)faced--especially in the South, and the stereotypes limits wom ...more
Elizabeth of Silver's Reviews
Aug 17, 2012 Elizabeth of Silver's Reviews rated it really liked it
A nostalgic look back to when women stayed home and men went to work.

Jackie Hart and her family moved from Boston to a town in Florida that was definitely old fashioned. You will meet Jackie and you will also meet an unmarried librarian, an unmarried lady who secretly writes sex novels for a publisher in New York, a divorced woman who works in the Post Office, a woman just out of jail for killing her husband, a maid, and an eccentric male. This group met once a week for a book club which they ca
Pam Asberry
Oct 03, 2012 Pam Asberry rated it it was amazing
In Amy Hill Hearth's debut novel, eighty-year old Dora Witherspoon, also known as "The Turtle Lady," shares a story from her past. The year is 1962; the place is southern Florida. Racism is rampant; women are treated as second-class citizens; northerners are eyed with suspicion. Newly divorced at a time when divorce was relatively uncommon and not generally accepted, Dora is working as a clerk at the post office and struggling to find her niche in the small town in which she lives.

Her world tur
Aug 07, 2012 Kathy rated it it was amazing
Amy Hill Hearth is a wonderful storyteller. This is a story of friendship. It is a story of a time and a place that are gone forever. It is a story about ordinary people being brave. And a story of love.

Set in early 1960s small town Florida and told by Dora Witherspoon, the Turtle Lady, a young divorcee who is trying to get on with her life and making new friends. It is a story about Southern women, one transplanted Northern woman and a gay man in a time when men were not gay. Sometimes the bra
Sep 15, 2012 Patty rated it really liked it
Miss Williams And The Collier County Literary Society
Amy Hill Hearth

My "in a nutshell summary"...

Naples, Florida as it was in the 60's...when life was restricted and regimented.

My thoughts after reading this book...

OMG...quirky Southern characters, hysterical situations and the rules of the 60's make this an unforgettable novel.

It's based around the residents of a book club that can't really even be called a book club. It is called a salon. The members are the town librarian, a transplanted E
Book Him Danno
I’ve read a few disappointing books lately and was a bit worried about this title, but no need to worry after all….I LOVED IT!!! Get this book and read it...

Yes I loved this book. What a fun, thought-provoking look at life in Florida in the early 60’s. The characters were well written, diverse and interesting to boot. Tracy is a woman to get behind. She is unsatisfied with her life and goes out and changes things for the better. She does this in her own life so she sees no reason not to do it f
Jen C (ReadinginWBL)
Sep 27, 2012 Jen C (ReadinginWBL) rated it really liked it
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 narrate ...more
Jan 01, 2013 Kathy rated it liked it
I enjoyed this book. Even though it is set during a time of change, it is not so much about a particular era as it is about the changing attitudes of people living in those times.

Dora works at the post office, and, so, has a chance to read bits of the interesting magazines that pass through her hands. It's also how she manages to meet Jackie, a Yankee who has moved south with her family, and is a bit at loose ends, since she really doesn't have a good fit with the local society.

Jackie's solution
Amy Hearth
Apr 22, 2013 Amy Hearth rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
"Amy Hill Hearth's first novel is a charming and funny snapshot of life in a tiny Florida town in 1962. It's also a sweet-tart reminder that those good old days weren't so good for everybody." - Colette Bancroft, the Tampa Bay Times

Jacket quotes:
"Amy Hill Hearth's delightful first novel, MISS DREAMSVILLE, 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 BREAK
Nov 20, 2012 C.R. rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
First, a disclaimer: I received this book through Goodreads giveaways.

Miss Dreamville and the Collier County Women's Literary Society by Amy Hearth is an entertaining read. It seems written for the screen, which is its strength and weakness. It is a light read that has a bit of everything. The characters were enjoyable, diverse enough to create a little tension but with enough in common to have a genuine reason to be kind to each other any way. The setting gives it the right elements to feel re
This is a really pleasurable book to read with a nice mix of 1960s Florida, gentle humor and mild drama. The story is compelling and keeps the reader's interest even though it is not always clear what the main storyline is. A group of outsiders in a small Florida town gather together in a reading group and learn more about themselves and one another through their membership in the group. Several of the more important events don't actually involve the reading group directly but become major event ...more
Feb 01, 2015 Tammy rated it really liked it
A group of social misfits join together to form a book club at their small town library. Set in the south in a small town in Florida during the sixties the group is made up of a divorcee, an old maid, a gay man, a Northerner, a young black woman, an ex-con and the librarian with secrets of her own. The way these quite different individuals become friends and end up affecting each other's lives is a lovely tale.
May 03, 2012 Brandy rated it it was amazing
What a story; this gal has an amazing talent!

The book begins with Dora, now 80, reminiscing about her past and when she was a 30 year old divorcee. She told a story of how she became friends with a Yankee, an ex-murderer, a young African American girl, a poetry writer, a librarian, and Robbie-Lee. It was Jackie, who formed the Collier County Women's Literary Society because she needed something to do other than being a housewife. The newly formed group of misfits would not only become reading bu
Jan 03, 2015 Heather rated it it was amazing
Shelves: southern
i desperately needed something to read as I traveled, and quickly ran into the newsstand at the Savannah Airport and grabbed this book. I had never heard of the book, nor did I immediately recognize the author's name. I am a sucker for Southern fiction, though, so figured I would give this book a whirl. I am so glad I did! I very quickly was absorbed in 1962 Collier County, and loved the quirky characters. There is not a "hot button" issue from that time period that Amy Hill Hearth did not maste ...more
Nov 15, 2012 Jane rated it liked it
I vacillated on the rating for this one. It was, in some ways, a fun, quick read about some enjoyable characters. It had its amusing moments. But instead of letting the story and the characters deliver the message naturally--one of the wonderful things about The Help, for example--this author seemed to want to hit you over the head with her messages, detracting from the story. I think this is partially due to the fact that much of the character development seemed rushed and one-dimensional. It m ...more
Jun 30, 2013 Mo rated it liked it
Shelves: chick-lit, 2013, w-mcl
None of the characters seemed to speak with their own “voice”. When a character is well written, you can open the book to a random page and immediately know which character is speaking because there is that certain something that is distinctive only to them. Jackie was the most identifiable, but the others all seemed interchangeable. And I am not talking about content, I am talking about vocabulary, expression, parlance, patois…. Based on their language, I would never even be able to tell that t ...more
Mar 23, 2015 Sheila rated it it was amazing
I enjoyed this book. It was fun. I laughed. I cringed. Jackie and her family move to Naples, Florida from Boston. She is a fish out of water. She also creates the Collier County Women's Literary Society. The members are the outcasts of the community but they create friendships that are lasting and strong. They are there for each other and provide support none of them had ever had. I loved the strength of these friendships and how they changed the lives of those in the group and those in their fa ...more
Kris - My Novelesque Life

(I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review).

Dora takes us back to 1963 in Florida when a Yankee family moves in and Jackie Hart the 40 year old housewife is looking to be anything but a homemaker. When a notice goes up for people to join Jackie for a literary society it seemed to draw out the misfits - Mrs. Baily White (recently paroled from prison for murdering her husband), Robbie Lee (a gay man still in the closet), Miss. Lansbury (the spinster librarian), Plai
Jul 21, 2014 Peacejanz rated it it was amazing
A light reading with a lot of slaps in the face showing the racism, homophobia, sexism, elitism, and fear of the Klan in the 1960s South. The book seems to be a quick scan of Naples, Florida before outsiders flocked to Florida. But it is not -- it is a story of seven people who came together by accident and who all felt as if they were outsiders - a divorced woman, a convicted murderer, a gay man with an alligator hunting mother, a quiet woman who wrote sex articles, a Negro maid among white peo ...more
Jan 06, 2015 Holly rated it liked it
I think it is basically a good story but the character development was a little disappointing. "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
Jun 12, 2014 Jennybug rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book about a very unlikely group of people who join a book group and become friends. Jackie's character was just fabulous and so much fun to imagine.

Pg 77 "When you read, you fill in all the blank spaces yourself, using your own imagination. When you see a movie, someone else has chosen what you will see."

Pg 133 "Ted, you know what? You have a college degree in business administration. You were a lieutenant in the Army. I have all the confidence in the world that if you pu
Renee Babcock
Mar 15, 2014 Renee Babcock rated it really liked it
My family moved to South Florida in 1972, a decade after the events of Miss Dreamsville. We lived in Miami, but we spent a lot of time in Collier County because I had three older siblings who lived in the Cape Coral/Ft. Myers area, just up the road from Naples. Even though Alligator Alley was the quickest route from our house to Cape Coral, my dad always preferred to drive US 41, the Tamiami Trail, which took us through the Everglades and a Miccosuki reservation, through Naples to Cape Coral.

Jan Polep
Nov 19, 2012 Jan Polep rated it it was ok
Picture this...1960's Naples' book discussion club full of quirky characters including one "Northerner"...a recipe for mild humor and a fast pass at social issues in a segregated Florida town, but it could have been so much more. As a former library worker and current library trustee, I did love the line that the Naples library trustees were okay with the club meeting at the library... as long as they didn't read any books about Lincoln!
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Amy is a New York Times Bestselling Author and an ALA "Notable Book" and Peabody Award Winner. She began her career as a daily newspaper reporter in Florida in the 1980s. Her first book, the New York Times Bestseller, HAVING OUR SAY: THE DELANY SISTERS' FIRST 100 YEARS, spawned a Broadway play and film. Amy wrote six more nonfiction books before trying her hand at fiction. In 2012, Simon & Sch ...more
More about Amy Hill Hearth...

Other Books in the Series

Miss Dreamsville (2 books)
  • Miss Dreamsville and the Lost Heiress of Collier County

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“...Mama used to say that when you don't know what to do, do nothing. She meant you can try too hard to solve a problem. If you give it a little time, the answer might just come to you plain as day.” 4 likes
“ person can come along and change your life, and that being a misfit, as I was, doesn't mean you won't find friends and your place in the world.” 3 likes
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