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Miss Dreamsville and the Collier County Women's Literary Society: A Novel

"Sometimes, an exceptional writer finds an exceptional premise, and the result is a truly exceptional book. Such is the case with 'Miss Dreamsville'...The writing is brilliant, especially the dialogue through which the characters are defined." - Philip K. Jason, Southern Literary Review



Miss Dreamsville and the Collier County Women's Literary Soceity is the first of two historical novels set in 1960s Florida about a middle-aged wife and mother from the North who upsets the status quo when she and her family move to a small, Southern town. 


Some people are surprised to learn that I am a successful novelist as well as the author of nonfiction books (Having Our Say: The Delany Sisters’ First 100 Years; Strong Medicine Speaks: A Native American Elder Has Her Say; Streetcar to Justice: How Elizabeth Jennings Won the Right to Ride in New York).

I didn't set out to write a novel. I was taking a break from my nonfiction book projects and deadlines. Just for fun, I began working on a short story, which I had never tried before. The more I wrote, the more I loved my characters and plot, and I thought, Could this be a novel? I kept writing, telling no one. When I finished a first, full draft, I showed it to my agent. It sold immediately. 


I'm not sure what this means except that we are all capable of surprising ourselves. Sometimes good things happen when we don't over-plan.

The novel, a paperback original, was the October 2012 book club pick for Simon & Schuster; a Reader's Digest Select Edition; and the January 2013 selection of the Pulpwood Queens, an international book club with more than 700 chapters. It has been translated into Portuguese and published in Brazil. It has also been published in Finland, Hungary and the Czech Republic, and it was selected by Library Journal (the American Library Association) in an article recommending novels about book clubs.  

"You may already know Hearth's name - the former journalist wrote the nonfiction book Having Our Say: The Delany Sisters' First 100 Years which was a bestseller and play. Miss Dreamsville is Hearth's first novel, and her fictional storytelling is just as captivating." - Dawn Baumgartner Vaughan, The Durham (N.C.) Sun

"Miss Dreamsville and the Collier County Women's Literary Society was a surprise. Segregation, feminism, gays coming out, inter-racial dating, it's all in there, written as it happened in small towns everywhere. And wisdom; you could learn a lot about life from reading this book. Most of all, be daring, be friends, be true to yourself. By the end, I cried and I must say, I wouldn't mind hearing more about each of the richly painted characters."- Patricia Harman, author of the novel, The Midwife of Hope River