Miss Dreamsville and the Collier County Women's Literary Society
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.
Read an Excerpt
My name is Dora Witherspoon but most folks know me as the Turtle Lady. A long time ago, I rescued a snapping turtle the size of a truck tire from the middle of Highway 41, a move deemed so foolish it became local legend. I can’t say I’m partial to it, but here in the South, nicknames stick like bottomland mud.
I’d like to tell you a story from my younger days. I’ve been a storyteller my whole life, but I wasn’t ready to tell this one until now. It happened fifty years ago—in 1962. Parts of it are hard for me to share, but the fact is that I’m old now—eighty years of age, if you... see more
Hear an Excerpt
Reading Group Guide
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 treated for being divorc see more