Miss Dreamsville and the Collier County Women's Literary Society
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Miss Dreamsville and the Collier County Women's Literary Society

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3.56 of 5 stars 3.56  ·  rating details  ·  998 ratings  ·  294 reviews
Synopsis from publisher:
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 st...more
Paperback, 272 pages
Published October 2nd 2012 by Atria Books
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Julie
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
Whitney
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
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
Amy
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
Elizabeth of Silver's Reviews
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...more
Pam Asberry
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...more
Kathy
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...more
Patty
Miss Williams And The Collier County Literary Society
by
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...more
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...more
Jen C (ReadinginWBL)
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
Kathy
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...more
Amy Hearth
Apr 22, 2013 Amy Hearth rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  (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...more
Linda Cohen
While you must have a little of suspension of disbelief for this book I must say I enjoyed the heck out of it and read it in one day.

Simple & heartwarming story of a northern woman, Jackie, ending up in 1960's Florida with her family because of her husbands job and how she changes herself and the people around her.

Jackie forms a literary group/salon that ends up with all the misfits in town joining. So, you have your divorced woman, single woman, closet homosexual, black woman who is a maid...more
C.R.
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...more
Suzanne
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
Brandy
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...more
Heather
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
Jane
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
Addison Public
An unlikely group comes together in a small Florida town to form a Literary Society. Set in Naples, Florida before the building boom, the Society is composed of a divorced woman, an “un-open” gay man, an elderly woman just released from a 30 year jail term for killing her husband, a librarian with hidden aspirations, a female writer who hides her real identity, and a young black woman who is a maid by day but who also has hidden dreams. Brought together by Jackie, a Northerner from Boston who ha...more
Nidah (SleepDreamWrite)
This was going to be a 3.5 stars but I changed it to a 4 stars. This one was good, and at times really good. What caught my eye was well, new family moves in town, wife starts a book club to get to know the community. Keyword: book club. The only ones that join are those are considered outsiders.

My favorite in the group being Robbie-Lee and Priscilla. The others I liked, but if I had to choose if would be those two. Oh and adorable Judd. Even Jackie, though at times she gets a little too headst...more
Renee Babcock
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.

De...more
Jan Polep
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!
Ann
What a delightful well written story. I so love the members of the Collier County Women's Literary Society. Amy Hill Hearth brought the old Florida alive with her story set in the early sixties. Jackie should have been my favorite character and I loved her, but I think I had to say Robbie Lee and Priscilla stole my heart. And of course there was the turtle lady. You'll just have to read the book!
Michelle Huntsinger
What a wonderful story and an eye opening look at Florida in the 60's-- you knew it was the South and that there was segregation, but this story really brought it to the forefront. Even though it's fiction, you find out that the klan was found in Northern states-- a scary prospect and one i'm glad to not have lived through.

I highly recommend this book and give it 5 stars.
Melissa Rochelle
This is very much a Southern tale right in line with Fannie Flagg and Rebecca Wells. It reminded me just how much I love Southern reads.

This isn't a perfect book, more of a 3.5 stars than simply 3 or 4 - hard to swallow truths seemed to be a little glossed over at times. But I still enjoyed it and would love to visit with these characters again.
Marsella Johnson
Dora is the narrator of this wonderful book. She is eighty years old and looking way back to 1962, when a unlikely group of people converge in a small back water town in the south. This is Ms. Hearth's first try at fiction (she wrote "Having Our Say" the Delaney Sisters' First Hundred Years")and she has a great career in front of her. I eagerly anticipate more from her. Take a sleepy backwater town at the dawn of the civil rights movement and throw in the beginnings of the women's movement and y...more
Renea Winchester
A charming story. Amy Hill Hearth creates characters that are so genuine they pull up a chair and invite you to join their group. Readers of all ages are transported to Florida, before it was developed, to a small down filled with true "characters." This book is a delight. Highly recommended for book clubs.
Jen
A light piece of southern fiction about a group of outsiders in a Florida town who form a book club. I was a bit disappointed in this book...cardboard characters, predictable, etc. The book was compared to Fannie Flagg...I didn't find it anywhere near Fannie Flagg's southern fiction quality.
Kristen Britt
I was fortunate to get an advanced copy of this book, and I loved it! A touching an funny read about a group of misfits who are trying to find a place to belong. All the characters felt real to me and I could see a little of me in all of them. Highly recommended.
Emily
I thought this book was just fantastic! It made me happy to read it, sad it was over and excited to recommend to others. Maybe you won't agree but I felt like it was a mash up of The Help and Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. Such a happy read.
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New York Times Bestselling Author; ALA "Notable Book" and Peabody Award Winner. Novelist, Nonfiction Author, Journalist. Born in New England, Amy Hill Hearth spent her childhood in the Arcadia Lakes section of Columbia, South Carolina where she was an avid reader, tree climber, raft builder (inspired by Huck Finn) and turtle rescuer. A graduate of the University of Tampa, Amy began her writing car...more
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“...one 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
“...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.” 2 likes
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