Out of all the books I read this summer, my favorite by far has been The Fixer Upper by Mary Kay Andrews. This was the first time I'd read anything by Andrews and I thoroughly enjoyed her southern setting, the easy flow of the story, and her feisty albeit a little naive and idealistic main character Dempsey Jo Killebrew.
At the beginning of the book Dempsey is blindsided, when she is abruptly terminated from her job as a lobbyist. Yes her boss is involved in a major scandal, but what does that have to do with her? How could her boss, company, and coworkers abandon her? Very easily it turns out.
She quickly finds herself on a plane down to Guthrie, Georgia aka another planet compared to DC. Sent by her strict father, who she seem to continuously disappoint, to repair and get the family mansion Birdsong, that he's inherited ready to sell and flip. No one anticipates that Ella Kate, the ancient cantankerous distant relative will still be there. That the fixer upper will need a lot more help than just a little surface repairs. Or that Dempsey will slowly uncover hidden truths about her father's family; reconnect with her mother, and even eventually learn to love and become the protector of Ella Kate.
Because upon arrival, all Dempsey can think of is how fast she can turn the house around, contact her boss Alex, and get back to where Starbucks are on every corner. As she starts to get caught up on returning Birdsong to it's former glory, she finds herself unwilling drawn into wanting to turn Birdsong back into her former glory and not just a quick fix makeover. But it's hard to stay to wrapped up in new tiles for the kitchen when the FBI start calling.
Luckily for Dempsey she's got a set of father and son attorneys helping her out, and it doesn't hurt that the son is pretty handsome and friendly. Not that she's going to be distracted by some small town lawyer. Slowly but surely Dempsey finds herself drawn into small town living, where everyone knows your business, especially when you picture and name has a nasty way of finding itself back into the news. Remember that scandal at the beginning.
Turns out her boss Alex, that admittedly Dempsey had a crush on and was a little stary eyed for, is perfectly comfortable with letting her take the fall. It seems like some rather large charges were made for um...surfing lessons the last time they took the Congressman Licata out. Now it's looks like bribery and Dempsey's the one who set up all the lessons.
So now she's got a house to fix up, an elderly relative to deal with, a promising relationship with Alex, and a possible hefty jail time to think about. Now that the wool has been pulled out of her eyes on Alex, she decides to cooperate with the FBI and take back her life and good name. Her way.
It's a fun and easy read that still tugs on emotions many of us have felt, with some suspense, and a good ol' fashioned triumph of the little guy...oh um, I mean triumph of the good girl that'll leave you cheering. You'll laugh and cry over Dempsey's journey to find where her life really is. It's a good read and fun bit of escapism. Now that I've read The Fixer Upper, I've got the rest of Mary Kay Andrew's books on my to read list.
To preview the book, visit HarperCollin's Browse Inside for The Fixer Upper.
Disclaimer: Thank you to HarperCollins for providing the reviewer's copy. This review reflects my personal opinions and thoughts and were not influenced by the company in any way.