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The Fixer Upper    by Mary Kay Andrews order for
Fixer Upper
by Mary Kay Andrews
Order:  USA  Can
Harper, 2009 (2009)
Hardcover, CD, e-Book

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* *   Reviewed by Joan Burton

The Fixer Upper is a novel about family and the ties that bind. The main character, Dempsey Jo Killebrew, works in Washington, D.C., as a lobbyist. Being very naive, she gets involved in a political scandal involving her boss and a few local politicians. Her boss knowingly took advantage of her generous heart and vulnerability, and now she is jobless, broke, and on the local news daily. Her father offers her a proposition she can't refuse. Move down to Guthrie, Georgia and restore Birdsong, the family home left to him after the death of his uncle. Her father wants Birdsong ready to be put on the market to sell in a few months. By this time the scandal will have died down and she can return to her life in Washington.

Dempsey agrees only because she has no other job offers. Guthrie is a small Southern town in the middle of nowhere. She is shocked to find there are no fashion outlets, and no Starbucks, and is wondering why she agreed to do this project. Birdsong has seen better days and upon arriving she finds an old cranky woman and her small feisty dog living in the house. Apparently she is related to the Killebrews and has no plans to vacate. Dempsey is committed to her agreement with her father and she starts work on the house. She finds the work soothing and satisfying and feels life has more to offer than the ratrace up North. She immediately begins to make friends around town and enjoys the laid back lifestyle.

Dempsey is welcomed to town by Carter Berryhill and his son Tee, a father and son legal team handling the estate for Birdsong. She meets a local real estate agent, Jimmy Maynard, who loves all women and enjoys painting houses. She soon has help from a local contractor, Bobby Livsey, who sees the best in Birdsong and helps in the restoration. Two FBI agents soon come into Guthrie looking for Dempsey and asking questions about her involvement in the political scandal. Dempsey's life in Washington is catching up with her in Guthrie, Georgia - but being on the outside now and looking in, she can see where she went wrong and she works with the FBI agents to clear her name and trap the people responsible.

The Fixer Upper is a novel of quirky Southern characters, oozing charm and old South values. As Dempsey rebuilds Birdsong, her life is also rebuilt, and she finds help, friendship, and love where she least expects it.

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