... a thoughtful, quite serious story with only a few snatches of humor about a young woman seeking to belong, friendship and animal sanctuaries run with good intentions ... quickly evolves into a quintessential Florida novel, utilizing the state’s rural environs, far from beaches or theme parks ... Rogers keeps the story moving with a brisk hand while allowing Jamie’s personality to develop as she becomes devoted to Atlas and the women. Her worries about the refuge devastate her but also give her a strength she didn’t know she had ... ushers in a new talent who knows the quirkiness of the Sunshine State.
After a while, the accumulating evidence that Jamie willfully ignores becomes tedious. It puts the reader so far ahead of the story that Jamie seems determinedly dim rather than what she is: a victim stuck in a cycle of abuse and emotional withholding. Telling the story of how a person gets caught up in such a situation is worthy, but we don’t get enough of a sense of Jamie’s emotional character to understand why she behaves this way. Throughout the book, Jamie remains a mostly blank slate maneuvered around to serve the plot ... Jamie’s playing along is often the only thing driving the story forward, which wilts its momentum like a crisp shirt on a hot day ... Florida Woman’s greatest strength is its sense of place. Rogers has an equal grasp of sun-baked life on the sandy coasts and the humid wilderness of the interior ... Rogers’s affection for Atlas’s animals is also clear ... Jamie’s transformation is so longed-for that it can only feel cathartic, and the story’s conclusion is efficiently set up and threaded together for an ending that’s well-plotted and satisfying, although not exactly plausible or surprising ... I had high hopes for Florida Woman because, well, I am one. Although Rogers finds some tenderhearted balance between the weirdness and wonder of my home state, the promise of this backwoods mystery falls flat in the hands of a flimsy protagonist.
... bewitching ... In the tradition of Carl Hiaasen, Rogers relishes Florida’s oddities and extremes, yet she makes Jamie quietly if quirkily sympathetic, lending the rollicking story a vulnerable heart. Readers will fall in love with this one.