Hi Book Lover ~~
I live in Oklahoma, so the setting for Flower in the Hills (Missouri) is very near where I live – but is it Ozark? Or Ozarks with an S?
We say “the Ozark Hills,” but we travel to “the Ozarks.” Confusing, right? Sometimes use the S — sometimes leave it off!
Town Name Anomalies
Many anomalies (inconsistencies) exist in place names in America. We haven’t time to travel down that road, at least not very far. How about just one? In Oklahoma there’s a town named Miami. That’s easy. Everyone’s heard of the coastal city of Miami, FL. But not so fast; the town in OK is pronounced “Mi-a-muh” not “Mi-a-me.” So there you go.
How Many Square Miles?
The Ozark hills are situated in SE Missouri, and NE Arkansas and cover nearly 47,000 square miles. Yep. It’s that big!
I’ve visited the Ozarks often and the hills there are beautiful (as Latina learns in this story). The area at one time was filled with stereotypes of barefoot hillbillies, moonshine stills, rutted backwoods roads, and rickety cabins perched on the side of a rocky hill.
Ever Been to Silver Dollar City?
Nowadays you travel on smooth highways that wind through the hills, and you enjoy such places such as the theme park, Silver Dollar City, and the resort town of Branson, which is filled with Las-Vegas-caliber shows and concerts.
Latina’s summer visit rests somewhere between those two time eras. (Definitely before theme parks and super highways.) She arrives in the town of Zell’s Bush with her own preconceived thoughts, ideas, and perceptions.
Have you ever had that happen? You have ideas about people, or a place, only to learn, to your surprise, that you were totally off? Latina encounters surprise after surprise during her summer in the Ozark Hills – surprises that change her life forever.
Because Flower in the Hills takes place a generation or so ago, you read about a few things that are quite different from today. We’ll take a closer look at those in the next few blog posts.
Until then, keep on reading!
PS: Any town-name anomalies in the area where you live? If so, share in the comments below.