Miss Dreamsville and the Collier County Women's Literary Society

A Novel

Miss Dreamsville and the Collier County Women's Literary Society

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.

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.
  • Atria Books | 
  • 272 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781451675238 | 
  • October 2012
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Reading Group Guide

This reading group guide for Miss Dreamsville and the Collier County Women's Literary Society includes an introduction, discussion questions, and ideas for enhancing your book club. The suggested questions are intended to help your reading group find new and interesting angles and topics for your discussion. We hope that these ideas will enrich your conversation and increase your enjoyment of the book.


Introduction

When Boston-bred Jackie Hart sweeps into sleepy Collier County like a late-afternoon storm on the Gulf, young divorcee Dora has a feeling her life is about to change. Jackie immediately forms the Collier County Women’s Literary Society, and, for the first time in her life, Dora feels she has found her place in the world. The 1960s is a time of shifting perspectives and dramatic change, and as these changes creep slowly into Collier County, Mark, Dora and her small group of misfit friends band together—helping each other hold onto their dreams and struggle through the complexities and hardships of everyday life united.  

Topics & Questions for Discussion 

1. Discuss the various forms of prejudice that each character is subjected to throughout the novel. Consider not only the racism that exists in Collier County, but also the less overt discrimination—like the doctors’ attitude toward Robbie-Lee’s mother’s chest pain, or the way Dora is tr see more

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About the Author

Amy Hill Hearth
Photograph by Colin M. Lenton

Amy Hill Hearth

Amy Hill Hearth is the author of Miss Dreamsville and the Collier County Women’s Literary Society and Miss Dreamsville and the Lost Heiress of Collier County, in addition to author or coauthor of seven nonfiction books, including Having Our Say: The Delany Sisters’ First 100 Years, the New York Times bestseller-turned-Broadway-play. Hearth, a former writer for The New York Times, began her career as a reporter at a small daily newspaper in Florida, where she met her future husband, Blair (a Collier County native). She is a graduate of the University of Tampa.
 

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