The Fixer Upper LP: A Novel

( 4 )

Overview

After her boss in a high-powered Washington public relations firm is caught in a political scandal, fledgling lobbyist Dempsey Jo Killebrew is left almost broke, unemployed, and homeless. Out of options, she reluctantly accepts her father's offer to help refurbish Birdsong, the old family place he recently inherited in Guthrie, Georgia.

But, oh, is Dempsey in for a surprise when she arrives in Guthrie. "Bird Droppings" would more aptly describe the moldering Pepto Bismol-pink ...

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Overview

After her boss in a high-powered Washington public relations firm is caught in a political scandal, fledgling lobbyist Dempsey Jo Killebrew is left almost broke, unemployed, and homeless. Out of options, she reluctantly accepts her father's offer to help refurbish Birdsong, the old family place he recently inherited in Guthrie, Georgia.

But, oh, is Dempsey in for a surprise when she arrives in Guthrie. "Bird Droppings" would more aptly describe the moldering Pepto Bismol-pink dump with duct-taped windows and a driveway full of junk. There's also a murderously grumpy old lady, one of Dempsey's distant relations, who has claimed squatter's rights and isn't moving out. Ever.

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.

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  • The Fixer Upper
    The Fixer Upper  

Editorial Reviews

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.”
Daytona Beach News-Journal
“A summer read that’s guaranteed to satisfy your thirst for Southern fiction at its best.”
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: 9780061774959
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 6/23/2009
  • Edition description: Large Print
  • Pages: 688
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 1.40 (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 4.5
( 4 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 8, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Hoddergate

    What a fun book. I happened upon Mary Kay Andrews when I spotted Savannah Blues on the community book shelf at work and have been a fan ever since.

    My friend just borrowed this book and read it at one sitting. Different from the other Andrews books in that it starts off with in DC rather than the south and involves a political scandel. One of my favorite MKA books.

    Can't wait for the next book.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 25, 2013

    Love this book, very funny and who would have thought decorating

    Love this book, very funny and who would have thought decorating could be so interesting. Just Loved It......

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

    Posted June 29, 2013

    I finished this book last night and I have to say it is one of t

    I finished this book last night and I have to say it is one of the best books I have read in months.  I found myself thinking about Dempsey and Ella Kate during the day, even when I wasn't reading it.  It is light, and moves along at a nice clip.  I loved how the author transitioned Dempsey into southern life slowly, and unwittingly. My only disappointment was the ending was a bit abrupt.  I look forward to reading more from Mary Kay Andrews.  

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  • Posted June 14, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    This book is a light and fast read with lots of quirky characte


    This book is a light and fast read with lots of quirky characters and southern charm. The audio version is hilarious. Isabelle Keaton does a wonderful job of capturing the character's personality and making them come alive. I don't think I could read the book now without hearing her version of Ella Kate's voice.
    If you are a fan of Southern Chick Lit and in the mood for something fun and entertaining this should be a good fit. It isn't a deep and profound read that will change your life but it is FUN. The audio version has laugh out loud moments so take caution if you are listening while at the gym, I speak from experience, you'll get some looks.
    You can read my full review on Gin's Book Notes.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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