Friday, March 1, 2013

Miss Dreamsville and the Collier County Women's Literary Society

Author: Amy Hill Hearth
Genre: Literary Fiction

5 Stars
In 1962, Jackie Hart moves with her family from Boston to Naples, Florida.  Feeling like a fish out of water, she wants to do something to fill her days other than just 'be a housewife'.  She decides to start a 'literary salon'.  Soon after, she hosts a late-night radio show, calling herself Miss Dreamsville.
Her literary salon is made up of a group of misfits, who have their own problems to deal with, but look forward to their weekly meetings to discuss books and other subjects.  What soon happens, though, is it becomes more of 'other subjects', and as they find themselves becoming closer to each other, they realize that they, themselves are changing as people.
I found this book amazing and riveting.  It is about the coming of age of six people - all adults - in 1963 Florida. Each one of them, Dora, Miss Lansbury, Priscilla, Robbie-Lee, Mrs. Bailey-White, and especially Jackie, have been stuck in their own past and their own limitations and are finding their paths in life.

Jackie, a northerner from Boston, moves to Naples, Florida in 1962 with her family and feels totally alienated there, since life is so different from what she has known.  Her husband is busy with his job, and her kids are old enough to be concerned with their own lives.  So, soon after her arrival she starts a literary salon - hence the title. The only people who join are misfits in their own way, who soon realize they are not only discussing books, they're discussing life.
Jackie has a startling effect on people, especially those in her little circle, and they begin to open up to each other. They learn how to think about their own lives and the limitations they have set for themselves,and, the most important thing of all - they learn of each other's pain and secrets and the healing that comes with trusting another person. Highly recommended.

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