The Fixer Upper

( 218 )

Overview

After her boss is caught in a political scandal, fledgling Washington lobbyist Dempsey Jo Killebrew is left broke, unemployed, and homeless. Out of options, she reluctantly accepts her father's offer to help turn Birdsong—the fading Victorian mansion he recently inherited in Guthrie, Georgia—into a real estate cash cow. But Birdsong turns out to be a moldering Pepto-Bismol-pink dump with duct-taped windows, a driveway full of junk, and a grumpy distant relation who's claiming squatter's rights. Stuck in a tiny ...

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Overview

After her boss is caught in a political scandal, fledgling Washington lobbyist Dempsey Jo Killebrew is left broke, unemployed, and homeless. Out of options, she reluctantly accepts her father's offer to help turn Birdsong—the fading Victorian mansion he recently inherited in Guthrie, Georgia—into a real estate cash cow. But Birdsong turns out to be a moldering Pepto-Bismol-pink dump with duct-taped windows, a driveway full of junk, and a grumpy distant relation who's claiming squatter's rights. Stuck in a tiny town where everyone seems to know her business, Dempsey grits her teeth and rolls up her sleeves, and begins her journey back to the last place she ever expected: home.

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  • The Fixer Upper
    The Fixer Upper  

Editorial Reviews

Daytona Beach News-Journal
“A summer read that’s guaranteed to satisfy your thirst for Southern fiction at its best.”
Atlanta Journal-Constitution
“Entirely satisfying, an expert balance of warmth and compassion, terrific supporting characters, a little steamy sex and just enough suspense to keep you from guessing how it will all go down....As ever, Andrews injects a brisk tale with generous doses of her sassy trademark humor.”
Booklist
“Andrews serves up a tempting and satisfying dish.”
Publishers Weekly

Andrews's latest Southern charmer begins with junior lobbyist Dempsey Jo Killebrew in the crosshairs of a political bribery investigation. Suddenly unemployed and the victim of a sleazy smear campaign by her former boss, Dempsey decides to take up her father's offer of flipping a recently inherited family home in Guthrie, Ga. As it turns out, the house needs much more than a fresh coat of paint, and Dempsey's ornery cousin and her dog are squatting there. So it is that the formerly glamorous Dempsey steps into her dead uncle's overalls and chips her manicured nails as she scrubs and sands her way through fixing up the house, quickly finding a renovation groove, fitting in with the locals and embarking on a romance. Meanwhile, the FBI and a pesky reporter come asking questions about the bribery accusations. This authentic tale of cleaning up life's messes and self-discovery is bright, engaging and thoughtful, enlivened by Andrews's quirky characters and lovely backwoods setting. (July)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Library Journal
Arriving just in time for summer beach reading is the most entertaining novel yet from Andrews (Deep Dish). Washington, DC, insider Dempsey Jo Killebrew is surprisingly clueless about her lobbyist boss's less than ethical behavior, even after she finds herself unceremoniously fired and licking her wounds in Guthrie, GA. There she reluctantly undertakes a project of restoring a dilapidated house that her father had recently inherited, hoping to sell it for a profit. Not surprisingly, this project is full of problems. The house's elderly resident isn't one bit anxious to move out, but luckily the charming if eccentric townsfolk include a pretty darn handsome local lawyer who comes to Dempsey's defense when it looks as if she might be in just as much trouble as her backstabbing former boss. Add a couple of FBI agents, a meddling mother, and a dog named Shorty, and readers will find themselves eagerly turning pages to find out how the situation resolves itself. VERDICT Fans of Jennifer Crusie or Susan Elizabeth Phillips will find this a delightful addition to the genre of slightly wacky romance stories. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 3/15/09.]—Margaret Hanes, Warren P.L., MI
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780060837396
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 6/15/2010
  • Pages: 432
  • Sales rank: 124,307
  • Product dimensions: 5.30 (w) x 7.90 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Mary Kay Andrews

Mary Kay Andrews is the author of eleven bestselling novels and ten critically acclaimed mysteries. A former reporter for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, she lives in Atlanta, Georgia.

Biography

In In 2003, a writer named Mary Kay Andrews burst on the book scene with an entertaining, lighthearted confection entitled Savannah Blues. Hailed as a promising debut, the book received positive reviews; but not everyone realized it was actually the work of journalist-turned-novelist Kathy Hogan Trocheck, author of a bestselling mystery series begun in 1990 and featuring ex-cop-turned P.I. Callahan Garrity.

Trocheck explained in an interview with Reading Group Guides.com the reason for adopting a pseudonym (derived, by the way, from combining the names of her two children): "Because Blues is so different from my Callahan books, I wanted a chance to try for a whole new group of readers, people who like women's fiction, Southern fiction, and still, mysteries. That Mary Kay is a pseudonym for Kathy Hogan Trocheck is not a secret from my fans."

Savannah Blues introduced readers to Eloise "Weezie" Foley, whose marriage to the wealthy Talmadge Evans III suffers a fatal blow when he announces he is in love with someone else. When Talmadge's mistress moves into his Savannah mansion, it's the backyard carriage house for Weezie, who soon begins to devise a plan to get revenge on her cheating hubby. Blues may have been a marked departure from Trocheck's grittier early work, but it was a rousing success on all fronts. Publishers Weekly hailed it as "delightfully breezy, richly atmospheric" and Kirkus reviews called it "pure fun."

Soon, Mary Kay Andrews had assumed a life of her own. A year later, she published Little Bitty Lies, followed in 2005 by the joyfully wacky New York Times bestseller Hissy Fit. Having revisited the world of her irresistible protagonist Weezie Foley twice more in Savannah Breeze and Blue Christmas, Andrews continues to craft her winning brand of witty, Southern-fried fiction -- much to the delight of her many fans.

Good To Know

When Andrews was a journalist at The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, she covered the famous "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil" murder case.

As Kathy Hogan Trocheck, Andrews's mysteries have been nominated for the Edgar, Anthony, Agatha, and Macavity Awards.

When she isn't writing, Mary Kay Andrews lectures and teaches at writing workshops.

A few fun outtakes from our interview with Andrews:

"When I finish writing a book, I always celebrate with my favorite junk foods: Reese's Peanut Butter Cups and Wink grapefruit soda."

"I have no sense of direction and am incapable of reading a map."

"I'm a charter member of the Salty Dog chapter of the Andy Griffith Show Re-run Watchers club."

"I love afternoon naps, junking, reading, cooking with my husband, anything with avocados, English Setters, old movies, anything blue and white. I hate shopping for clothes, cigarette smoke, math, magic, mimes, scary movies, and Star Trek re-runs."

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    1. Also Known As:
      Kathy Hogan Trocheck (real name)
    2. Hometown:
      Atlanta, Georgia
    1. Date of Birth:
      July 27, 1954
    2. Place of Birth:
      Tampa, Florida
    1. Education:
      B.A. in newspaper journalism, University of Georgia, 1976
    2. Website:

Interviews & Essays

Mary Kay's Favorites

Books

REBECCA by Daphne du Maurier
VOID MOON by Michael Connelly
BIG STONE GAP, by Adriana Trigiani
CRAZY FOR YOU by Jennifer Crusie
GET SHORTY by Elmore Leonard


Movies/DVDs
SABRINA (the original with Audrey Hepburn)
CHARADE (again the original with Audrey Hepburn)
WHEN HARRY MET SALLY
AUNTIE MAME (not the gawdawful musical)
THE QUIET MAN


Movie Musicals
CAMELOT
FUNNY GIRL
SOUTH PACIFIC
MY FAIR LADY
WEST SIDE STORY


Decorating Books
SHABBY CHIC by Rachel Ashwell
A HOUSE IN THE SOUTH by Frances Schultz and Paula Wallace
MARY EMMERLING'S BEACH COTTAGES by Mary Emmerling
MARY EMMERLING'S COUNTRY COTTAGE by Mary Emmerling
AN AFFAIR WITH A HOUSE by Bunny Williams


Top Five Renovating Tips
1. An old house needs old doors, hardware and fixtures. Nothing says "new and cheap" faster than a flimsy hollow-core door and bright gold repro brass hardware. Look for solid wood doors and wood frame windows at salvage yards and antique markets. And don't forget to check the "building materials" category on Craigslist. I got all the doors for my beach house off Craigslist-for $5 apiece. Vintage hardware can frequently be found at flea markets, or check online sources like eBay.

2. Vintage light fixtures give a great look-but be sure you factor in the cost of re-wiring them, and finding good-looking shades. Nothing gives a lamp that "granny" look faster than a dingy yellow shade.

3. Before you invest in antique cast-iron claw-foot tubs or sinks, make sure they have proper fittings. Measure drains and faucetspreads and make sure you can find new ones that will fit and function properly. Antique toilets are generally a bad idea-most local codes require low-flow toilets for water conservation.

4. Before re-wiring a house, put together a furniture floor plan. You don't want a heat register under the living room sofa, but you will want outlets on either side of the bed for reading lamps, and for any area that might be used as an office you'll want plenty of grounded plugs. And how about that flat-screen television your husband wants? Plan now for cable locations.

5. Be flexible. A great fireplace surround could become a headboard, as could an old paneled door-turned sideways. And that leaded glass window that had to be removed in the remodel? Why not fit it with mirrors and a hinge and make it into a bathroom medicine cabinet?



My Five Best Junking Finds:

1. Pair of barrel-back armchairs--$30 at an estate sale. They were covered in gold embossed vinyl when I found 'em. But with the legs stained ebony, and a gorgeous blue Ralph Lauren fabric reupholstery, they're perfect by my fireplace.

2. Set of eight antique Wedgewood black and cream transferware plates--$30 at an estate sale. The seller's mother used some of them for cat dishes, others as an ashtray!

3. Vintage landscape oil painting, Tuscany maybe? Or Provence? Who cares! Bought at a "divorce sale"-the ex-husband sold this beautiful painting for $50 because it had belonged to his ex-wife. I spent a small fortune framing it, but it's the basis for a collection of treasured landscape paintings.

4. Wicker settee, Salvation Army find for $25. I'd walked to the store, and had to hoof it back home in a hurry for money and my car.

5. Faux alligator train case-found at a yard sale. When I asked the seller if she'd do better on the price, she replied that she'd give it to me for free-if I could figure out how to open it. Since it had a combination lock like the one on my high school graduation luggage, I twirled the dial to 0-0-0-because I never figured out how to change mine-and sure enough, the lock popped open. Score!
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 218 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(73)

4 Star

(74)

3 Star

(39)

2 Star

(20)

1 Star

(12)

Your Rating:

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 219 Customer Reviews
  • Posted July 5, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Her life may require more fixing up than the house her father has sent her to renovate.

    My Review:

    What a wonderful and intriguing story of a renovation of an old Georgian Mansion called Birdsong and the latest indictment of Dempsey's old boss Alex for allegedly trying to buy his way into an oil company's bill in Washington. Since Dempsey works for Alex as a junior associate lobbyist, she finds herself embattled with this FBI investigation when her boss turns her in to the FBI and claims himself innocent of all charges. He subsequently fires her as a way of making the story stick.

    Since Dempsey can't really work in Washington right now, her father, Mitch, wants her to head down to Georgia to fix up and flip an old house he has inherited from his grandfather. What Dempsey finds there is truly an overgrown money pit, complete with a live in, old lady who insists the house belongs to her.

    The Fixer Upper by Mary Kay Andrews takes you on quite adventure in not only the art of restoring a home where every penny counts and just when you think there isn't anything more than can go wrong, it does! The characters are so believable that you wonder if Birdsong really doesn't exist. This is a fabulous summer read that takes you away and you can completely lose yourself in another life.

    I received The Fixer Upper, compliments of TLC Book Tours and would rate this book a 9 out of 10. There are some sexual scenes between Dempsey and her attorney's son, but they are brief and don't distract from the story.

    For more information on this wonderful book, the author and where to obtain your copy, click on the link below:

    http://tlcbooktours.com/2010/04/mary-kay-andrews-author-of-the-fixer-upper-on-tour-june-2010/

    6 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted September 16, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    I really enjoyed this wonderful novel!

    THE FIXER UPPER is about family and all that entails, heart, humor, love, problems.Needing to redefine herself after her adventure in Washington, DC and getting tangled up in a political scandal, Dempsey is given the opportunity, thanks to Dad, to have her fix up their old family home to sell back in Guthrie, Georgia. There's a lot of exciting drama thereafter concerning a smooth-talking real estate agent, a contractor, a widowed attorney, an FBI agent and so on and so forth. I really enjoyed this wonderful novel!

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted August 10, 2009

    A Summer Read and nothing more

    I have been a fan of Ms Andrews from her first book to this recent publication.While this one wasn't bad I missed the atmosphere background I have come to enjoy. Being a displaced southerner her books were bits of home that were memory provoking and amusingly spot on in detail. I look forward to the next book. Her heroines while very twenty-first century still leave a hint of honeysuckle behind.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 23, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Needs some fixing up...

    Good for escapism, clever book cover, a bit touching & romantic but needs some fixing up...

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 23, 2010

    "Empty Literary Calories"

    This is how one of the characters describes a book she is reading and it can be applied here. It is not a condemnation of the book, just an explanation. It was an easy-breezy, fairly predictable read, which I thoroughly enjoyed. If you are looking to expand your horizons or stretch your imagination, look elsewhere. But if you are looking for a relaxing read, this book fills the bill.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 18, 2010

    Loved the Story...Sad when it ended!

    I really got into this book! I could not put it down! the characters were very likeable but i do wish there was more about Dempsey and Tee. I loved them as acouple and was very disappointed with the way the story ended. I wish she would of written more about dempsey and Tee and what happens for them in the futre! Overall i liked the story!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 5, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Really Good!

    Mary Kay Andrews does not disappoint! Another charming story - I was sad to see it end!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 4, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    The Fixer Upper by Mary Kay Andrews

    Dempsey Killibrew has worked as a lobbyist for a very short time when a political scandal breaks and she finds herself without a job, broke and homeless. Her father comes up with the perfect solution, he has just inherited a house in Gurthrie, Georgia, that the lawyer assures him that with a TLC the house will sell for much more than it's current appraisal. He convinces Dempsey to get out of Washington and head to Georgia to give the house a good cleaning and a little paint and he'd split the profits with her.

    Well when Dempsey get to the small town and sees the house she knows it a much bigger job than she ever imagined, plus she has inherited a 79 year old "mean old lady" and her dog as part of the deal. She also realizes that small town life is much different from anything she has ever experienced. Everyone knows everything about everybody.

    She rolls up her sleeves and gets to work trying to return the house to the beautiful home it once was only to have the FBI come calling trying to pin the whole Washington scandal on her. We see a totally new Dempsey emerge as the story continues.

    The was a very enjoyable story as are all of Mary Kay Andrews sagas. It's the kind of story that even after the last page is read you want to know more, after the crisis is over what happens to all the characters. You become so involved in the story, the family feels so real.

    http://dollycas.blogspot.com/

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 23, 2009

    The Fixer Upper by Mary Kay Andrews

    I thoroughly enjoyed this book, as I have almost all of this author's! Funny and engaging and thoughtful too. She just doesn't write fast enough--- I am ready for the next book!!!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 17, 2009

    Mary Kay Andrews rocks!

    Living in the South, I love Mary Kay Andrews' style and her characters are people I can identify with. Her books are always more entertaining than the latest movie and are always my first choice for a trip read. Her Savannah books are my favorite so far. I love these characters and hate for each story to end!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 4, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Great Read..

    I love the character, Dempsey Jo Killebrew and her family. I was looking for a good read with a "southern flare" and this book was the ticket.

    The main character, Dempsey loses her job and winds up in a political scandal. Her Dad gives her a chance to escape to a home he inherits called "Birdsong". She arrives to find out that an old lady is living there and does not want Dempsey to be there. They form a bond in the end and Dempsey also finds love... it's a great read.

    I love Mary Kay Andrews. She is a great author....

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 1, 2009

    What a great beach read!!! This book captured my attention and was full of romance, humor and characters that seemed to be so real, I had to remind myself that they were not!

    I loved this book. Hats off to Mary Kay Andrews and her phenomenal writing style. This book kept my attention and allowed me to escape into a great read.

    Andrews captured the dialogue of her characters precisely and each and every character came alive as you read. The main character was so believable as were the supporting characters.

    Her plot was so believable with real life and I identified with the main character's trials and tribulations.

    Please read this book and be prepared not to be able to put it down for long. It is that spellbinding.

    I am anxiously awaiting her next book.

    Enjoy and be sure to have some southern iced tea, some chicken salad and chocolate in any form and enjoy.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 8, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    SATISFYING SUMMER LISTENING

    Dish, and now An experienced stage actress and Tony nominee Isabel Keating has given voice to several stories by Mary Kay Andrews - Hissy Fit, Deep The Fixer Upper. For this reader/listener Keating is the Andrews voice, perfectly capturing the sounds of the South. Of her Hissy Fit narration I wrote that it was a fun, thoroughly enjoyable listening experience. I said ditto for Deep Dish, and repeat my approbation here - The Fixer Upper is another winner.

    Heroine Dempsey Jo Killebrew is more than out on a limb in this story - she's out of a job after her boss, a lobbyist, lets her take the blame for what has turned into a political scandal. What's a girl to do? When her father asks her to come to the old family home in Guthrie, Georgia in order to fix it up she accepts. After all, it will be a roof over her head which she is without at the present time.

    "Fix it up" is certainly a misnomer as there's more wrong with the house than she imagined, and she continues to find more things amiss than were initially apparent. As if repairs weren't enough there's also an elderly distant relative in residence who refuses to move. She'd be busy enough without government agents who keep dropping by to ask about her former boss, and the distraction presented by a really good looking newspaper owner.

    As is her wont Andrews laces her tale with plentiful doses of humor, and while we know that all will be better than well in the end that does not detract from the journey. Enjoy!

    - Gail Cooke

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 3, 2014

    Needs a Sequel

    I loved everything about this book except the ending. I was involved in Dempsey's new life, and I wanted to know what happens next for her and the other characters. At least give us an epilogue. Please!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 25, 2014

    Adorable characters

    I loved this story

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  • Posted December 22, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Mary Kay Andrews comes through with another winner! If you are

    Mary Kay Andrews comes through with another winner! If you are looking for the perfect after Christmas read! Check out The Fixer Upper!
    Synopsis:
    Dempsey and her friends are watching the television at the bar. The news does not look good. She watches her boss Alex Hodder on the screen with Congressman Licata. The headline Law firm brides congressman for vote. After seeing this Dempsey suddenly finds herself without a job and under investigation. Her father comes up with the perfect solution. He would like her to renovate an old house that he inherited Songbird in Guthrie Georgia. There is one little catch it comes with something else. Will Dempsey be able to renovate Songbird? Will the little surprise that comes with the house keep her from moving forward? Will she help the FBI?
    My Thoughts:
    Another great read novel by Mary Kay Andrews! I first saw this novel when Mary Kay Andrews was on tour and met Mary Kay for the first time. I listened to this novel and it was narrated very well. The story has great humor and plot.
    One aspect of Mary Kay Andrew’s writing is the setting. The setting for this story is Georgetown and Guthrie Georgia. The only thing I can tell you about where Guthrie is that it is close to Griffin Georgia. For those of you who don’t know Georgia area well it is near Macon. She is very descriptive about what you can expect if you happen to visit the area.
    Let me introduce you to Birdsong the house mentioned in the novel. I am not very handy myself but I found myself wanting to know more about the house’s renovation. I also was interested in the other stories within the plot such as Ella Kate, and what would eventually happen to her.
    The reader will not be disappointed! By Jencey Gortney/Writer's Corner

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 17, 2013

    I would expect more

    I would expect more from an established author. The characters were completely undeveloped, the plot line anorexic, and the writing abysmal. I would have gotten more enjoyment lighting my $8 on fire and watching it burn. I would have given zero stars if that was an option.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 16, 2013

    Hmmm, where's the ending?

    I normally like her books but this one I didn't really care for.i can't stand the cliff hanger endings in her books. Leaves you with a lot of questions

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  • Posted August 22, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Fun summer read!

    Dempsey shows us when we get a hiccup in life that you can always bounce back. It may not be what are where we end up but it's an adventure that makes you take a ride into a new chapter of your life. She shows us that she's charming, tough, snarky, smart, and quit whited.
    I couldn't choose my favorite character between Ella Kate, the unpleasant squatter or Dempsey's zany mom. They both were very entertaining.
    Andrew's again makes the character's come alive in her writing.
    I've enjoyed reading Summer Breeze, Savannah Blues, and Summer Rental.

    Thank you for sharing "Southern Charm" in your novels. I long to live in the South and reading novels set in the south brings me home every time.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 20, 2013

    So good

    Loved the whole thing, so fun and enjoyable!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 219 Customer Reviews

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