Review

The Fixer Upper

by Mary Kay Andrews

THE FIXER UPPER is a novel with heart, and its heart is all
about family. The book stars Dempsey Jo Killebrew, a young and
naïve Washington, D.C. lobbyist who unwittingly gets tangled
up in a political scandal and thrown under the bus by her
attractive and powerful boss. Fired from her job, caught in the
political news spotlight and lacking in prospects, her father
offers her a project to keep her busy and maintain a roof over her
head: move to Guthrie, Georgia, and fix up Birdsong, the old family
home to ready it for sale.

Given the lack of other likely options, Dempsey agrees, and
finds herself in a small backwoods town with no Starbucks and an
old, falling-apart house that is going to need far more than a
quick cleanup and a coat of paint. Stranger still is the old woman
squatting in Birdsong, a decidedly unfriendly relative who would
just as soon see Dempsey head right back where she came from. But
our heroine is not about to quit and run, and she slowly starts
making some connections in her new hometown, including a father-son
legal team, the town flirt/real estate agent, and a couple of FBI
agents. As she starts to put the remains of Birdsong --- and her
life --- back together, she discovers that relationships and family
ties can bloom in the most unlikely places.

With THE FIXER UPPER, author Mary Kay Andrews has created an
engaging read with a host of crazy characters befitting their
classic southern setting. The heroine (and her love interest) is
thoroughly likable, but the real stars of this novel are the
supporting players, including Jimmy Maynard, the smooth-talking
real estate agent who holds a secret talent for wooing women AND
painting houses; Bobby Livesey, the sweet contractor who helps
Dempsey realize the possibilities Birdsong might hold in its old
bones; Carter Berryhill, the widowed lawyer who first extends the
hand of friendship in Guthrie; and Allgood and Harrell, the FBI
agents who track down Dempsey in the small Georgia town in the
hopes of forcing her to help them snare her former boss. They all
bring Guthrie to life, and readers will keep hoping for more and
more glimpses of them as Dempsey’s drama unfolds.

Andrews has a firm grasp on her subject matter and an obvious
love for the characters she creates. True to Andrews’s
natural Southern hospitality (and love for cooking), there are even
a few tasty-looking recipes thrown in to round things out.

As Dempsey’s Washington, D.C. struggles threaten to catch
up with her in small-town Georgia, she finds that life is giving
her an opportunity to rethink what she knows, including how she
defines herself, the ties that bind her to her family, and the
things that matter in life. Perfect for a long weekend on the
beach, THE FIXER UPPER is as satisfying as a cold glass of sweet
tea on a hot summer day.

Reviewed by Lourdes Orive on January 22, 2011

The Fixer Upper
by Mary Kay Andrews

  • Publication Date: June 23, 2009
  • Genres: Fiction
  • Hardcover: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Harper
  • ISBN-10: 0060837381
  • ISBN-13: 9780060837389