After a political scandal, fledgling lobbyist Dempsey Jo Killebrew is left almost broke, unemployed, and homeless. She reluctantly accepts to refurbish Birdsong, the old family place in Guthrie, Georgia. But, oh, is Dempsey in for a surprise. "Bird Droppings" would more aptly describe the moldering Pepto Bismol - pink dump. There's also a murderously grumpy old lady who has claimed squatter's rights and isn't moving out. Ever.
Furthermore, everyone in Guthrie seems to know Dempsey's business, from a smooth-talking real-estate agent to a cute former lawyer who owns the local newspaper. It wouldn't be so bad if it weren't for the pesky FBI agents who show up on Dempsey's doorstep, hoping to pry information about her ex-boss from her. All Dempsey can do is roll up her sleeves and get to work. And before long, what started as a job of necessity somehow becomes a labor of love and, ultimately, a journey that takes her to a place she never expected - back home again.
©2009 Whodunnit, Inc.; (P)2009 HarperCollins Publishers
In fact, I love it so much I've bought it three times -- first as a paperback, then as an audible book, then again as a paperback, after I loaned out my first copy then never got it back. No problem: if any leisure reading is worth buying three times, this one is.
"Mary Kay Andrews" is Kathy Hogan Trocheck when she's at home -- I got hooked on her after hearing her interviewed on a Canadian radio station while driving home from Vancouver BC late one night, and was impressed with her versatility as a writer, publishing in several different genres. I'd never read any of her numerous books -- 17 novels, 10 of them mysteries -- but this one is my favorite. First of all, I like make-overs, whether it's hairstyles, makeup, dresses or houses. There are several "I got fired, but inherited an old house, so I may as well fix it up" books -- see the "Orchard Mysteries" series by Sheila Connolly, also available on Audible, not to mention a whole fixer-upper series by Sarah Graves. They're all good -- but there's more "meat" in this one than most, since there's a parallel story running about how protagonist Dempsey Killebrew got taken by a clever lobbyist boss in Washington, and found herself on the front pages of the Washington Post, hung out to dry for her boss's misdeeds. And then there's Ella Kate, the irascible 80-year old termagant who's been squatting in the house, adding an extra layer of interesting oddball Southern characters who populate Guthrie, Georgia, the wide spot in the road where "Birdsong", the dilapidated mansion, sits.
Lots of things get "fixed up" in "The Fixer Upper" -- not just the house, but just about everyone involved. And if you've been putting off doing some painting, tiling or floor refinishing yourself, it works as an inspiration, too. After listening to "Jimmy" - a real estate agent who paints houses for fun -- wax lyrical about the ethereal grace involved in applying a new coat of paint to an old room, I called a painter and set about doing some 'fix-it' work myself.
Good book. But I guess I said that.
There are times in my life when I cannot give a story my full attention and/or I do not have the energy to emotionally invest myself in its characters; but I still want to be entertained and I don't want to settle for mediocre writing. If you know what I am talking about and are looking for a book to fit that bill, this is a good choice.
In one form or another, we've met all of these characters before. We know the querulous old woman really has a heart of gold. We know the handsome male protagonist will always be there when the heroine needs him. And we know the heroine will, eventually, find happiness in a town full of off-beat but charming locals. We know all of this and that's what makes this book so great. You know what to expect when you pick it up and you're not disappointed when you put it down. With its clear prose and enjoyable narration, if you're looking to escape into the familiar, I think you will welcome this addition to your listening library.
Ella Kate made me laugh out loud while driving! Great story and love the way Mary Andrews creatively weaves in design and entrepreneurship in her books!
I got into listening to audio books while traveling and now have found them a source of comfort day & night! Robyn Carr is my Fav
Great story, my first by Mary Andrews, so glad I found a Southern story teller. Can't wait to read another.
The story line was interesting, and the characters well developed and just plain entertaining. I love the South! And the narrator made it come alive.
I loved Ella Kate
Former Waitress, Chargeback clerk, Clown, Florist owner, Clergy. Love series, humor, twists, history, mysteries, not into witches/bondage.
No really. A one time read for me.
Lovely charactors, that were a little larger than life. A lot of action reaction between charactors. The story line was interesting enough to keep me tuning in.
Don't want to give it a way. Many really made me laugh out loud.
In large piece. But you really want to savor the charactors.
Romantic, mysterious with a life of true crime.
The lead character is very cute and friendly but it quickly turns into being cute to the extent of blind innocence. I loved the details of the remodel but I could have done without the predictable romantic plot. I enjoy Mary Kay Andrews ability to make a person fall in love with the town and people in her book. Ella Kate was just unlikeable enough to keep her from becoming a cliché.
This book is similar to Hissy Fit, also by Mary Kay Andrews, in that it's renovation with personal drama and love.
Pretty much any narrator would have been better, but I love Moira Driscoll with these southern tales! Isabel Keating makes the surrounding characters sound like bumbling idiots instead of the likeable people you can tell the author intended to paint them as. Her voice works well for the main character but always falls very short where supporting cast is concerned. Isabel Keating has a tendency to sound blunt, rude or angry. Not my favorite.
If you thought the politics in DC were bad, clearly you've never lived in small town!
This was a good story with some interesting twists. The narrator managed all of the characters beautifully. It was a bit predictable, but a really fun book.
GREAT FUN FANTASTICVTHER IS NOT ONE PLACE
ALL OF IT
GROUCHY OLD LADY
I WOULD LIKE THESE CHARACTERS IN MORE BOOKS ALSO, A SEREIS OF THESE CHARACTERS, I LOVE THIS AUTHOR/.
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