Be glad in the Lord and rejoice! Psalm 32:11

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Book Review - Miss Dreamville and the Collier County Women's Literary Society by Amy Hill Hearth

Eighty-year-old Dora, the narrator of a story that began a half century earlier, is bonding with an unlikely set of friends, including Jackie Hart, a restless middle-aged wife and mother from Boston, who gets into all sorts of trouble when her family moves to a small, sleepy town in Collier County, Florida, circa 1962.

With humor and insight the novel chronicles the awkward North-South cultural divide as Jackie, this hapless but charming “Yankee,” looks for some excitement in her life by accepting an opportunity to host a local radio show where she creates a mysterious, late-night persona, “Miss Dreamsville,” and by launching a reading group—the Collier County Women’s Literary Society—thus sending the conservative and racially segregated town into uproar. The only townspeople who venture to join are regarded as outsiders at best—a young gay man, a divorced woman, a poet, and a young black woman who dreams of going to college.

This brilliant fiction debut by Amy Hill Hearth, a New York Times bestselling author, brings to life unforgettable characters who found the one thing that eluded them as individuals:a place in the world. Inspired by a real person, Miss Dreamsville and the Collier County Women’s Literary Society will touch the heart of anyone and everyone who has ever felt like an outsider longing to fit in.

 There have been quite a few books out lately that center around book clubs, so I decided to check a few out.  I first noticed "Miss Dreamville and The Collier County Women's Literary Society" by Amy Hill Hearth on Kathy Patrick's Pulpwood Queen's reading list and I knew that if Kathy recommended it as a great read, then I'd be in for a treat.

And I certainly was!  I was absolutely charmed with this sometimes funny, sometimes poignant story of a bunch of misfits who gather together to share their love of reading and end up sharing friendships that would be put through tests and triumphs galore!

Author Amy Hill Hearth captures the tense atmosphere of the civil-rights era of the early 60s in the South in this quirky but captivating story. Her characters are personable and realistic for the time period, and the plot flows so smoothly, readers will be enthralled from the very beginning to the triumphant ending.

I highly recommend this novel for anyone interested in period fiction, and it would be absolutely perfect for book clubs!

Debut novelist Amy Hill Hearth is a former journalist and the author or coauthor of seven nonfiction books, including Having Our Say: The Delaney Sisters’ First 100 Years, the New York Times bestseller-turned-Broadway play. She met her future husband, Blair, who was raised in Collier County, while she was working as a reporter in Daytona Beach, Florida, in 1983. She is a graduate of the University of Tampa.

Check out her website at www.amyhillhearth.com for more information on her books and her blog.

I purchased this book for my personal collection.


Beth Hoffman said...

I read this book last month and enjoyed it. terrific review, Sharon!

Sharon Galligar Chance said...

Thank you Beth!