Wednesday, April 23, 2014
Miss Dreamsville 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.
Miss Dreamsville and the Collier County Women’s Literary Society is my favorite kind of novel. It combines wit and wisdom in a lively and credible tale of friendship and bonding with the perfect touch of humor. I could identify with every single character in this book in one way or another. This was a first for me. The story is narrated in first person and set in South Florida in the ‘60s, a time of great social and political challenge in America. The author, Amy Hill Hearth, uses her special literary technique to bring her characters to life both individually and collectively. “There’s an old southern saying that if you’re worried about your weight, your clothes, or getting old, then you don’t have any real problems,” is just one of many gems shared with the reader through the main character, a common-sense, kind and simple woman searching for her own individuality. Each character is portrayed as multi-dimensional as every live human being is in reality. Unique analogies are effectively used with humor throughout the book, as in, “There was a miserable silence, like when you’re at the dentist and you’re waiting for the novocaine to work.”
Miss Dreamsville and the Collier County Women’s Literary Society is a delightful and smooth read. I highly recommend it, and think it would appeal most to women, especially those who enjoy an escape from routine through good fiction.
Length: 272 Pages
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Thanks for visiting. Rose & Rochelle