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jenn

Murder by Death

I read cozy and historical mysteries, a bit of Paranormal/UF, and to mix it up, I read science and gardening books on occasion.

Miss Dreamsville and the Lost Heiress of Collier County

Miss Dreamsville and the Lost Heiress of Collier County: A Novel - Amy Hill Hearth

The sequel to Miss Dreamsville and the Collier County Women's Literary Society and I enjoyed every page of it.  It wasn't quite as solid as the first book, but this was a trip back home for me and I'm sure that went a long way towards filling in any gaps.

 

The books don't have to be read in order; each stands on it's own just fine, but the first book ended with Dora, the MC, off to learn more about her late mother and her people, and ...the Lost Heiress reveals what she discovered.  There were supporting characters too that we didn't learn as much about, and this book fills in those blanks and gives us a surprise twist in the characters' lives.

 

I'm not sure about the strength of the plot; Dora's summons to come home felt contrived, especially towards the end when we learn that the key to everything was knowingly held in one of the character's hands (so to speak) all along.  The author didn't sell the character's reluctance at all, so the whole thing ended up feeling like a tempest in a teacup and anticlimactic to boot.

 

But oh, the setting.  She nailed the setting.  I'm just - just - old enough to remember the Everglades before they fenced in Alligator Alley; when it was just highway 41 (not Interstate 75) and daddy would have to periodically pull the car over to move a gator off the road. Amy Hill Hearth absolutely nailed this old Florida and you can practically smell the swamp wafting off the pages.  I'm pretty sure she nailed the awful parts too; the racism against the Seminoles and the blacks and the migrant workers.  The bone deep distrust of yankees.  The battle between development and conservation.  I'm oh-so-blessed not to have been raised in that Florida (well, I heard enough about yankees, it's true and I'm pretty sure the conservationists lost), but it's a sobering reminder of just how blessed I was and just how shamefully slow Floridians were to evolve with the times.

 

I'll be reading this book and the first one again any time I'm feeling homesick and I'll be looking for more from this author.