The story is told from Dora Witherspoon’s perspective. Dora works in the small post office in town. But the story is really about the newcomer, Jackie Hart, who puts together a literary society that accepts the town’s misfits, and in doing so, makes a place where all these different characters can fit in.
Brought together by a love of reading come Jackie, a transplant from Boston; Dora, a young divorcee; Mrs. Bailey White, a convicted murderer; Priscilla, a young black woman; Jane, a secret writer; Miss Lansbury, a librarian; and Robbie-Lee, a gay man.
They decide at the first meeting to read anything that makes them think about issues of the day. As they open their minds to new ideas, they also open their hearts to each other.
Taking place in the 1960s, the book also deals with environmental issues, women’s issues, and race issues. The serious topics aren’t addressed heavy-handedly, but just enough to show the conflicts in town and provide some jumping off points for a good book discussion. Book discussion questions are included in the back of the book I checked out.
Several people recommended this book to me, and I see the appeal. The issues are meaty, but the characters are likeable and the novel is conversational, not preachy. It has a bit of the flavor found in The Help.
Check the WRL catalog for Miss Dreamsville and the Collier County Women’s Literary Society