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Hissy Fit    by Mary Kay Andrews Amazon.com order for
Hissy Fit
by Mary Kay Andrews
Order:  USA  Can
Perennial, 2005 (2004)
Hardcover, Softcover, Audio, CD, e-Book
* *   Reviewed by Melissa Parcel

When Keely Murdock catches fiancÚ A.J. Jernigan in a compromising position with her maid of honor at their rehearsal dinner, the wedding is definitely off. Keely throws the most gigantic hissy fit ever, breaking multitudes of glassware and ultimately scratching an obscenity on the door of A.J.'s prized car. Stuck without a ride home after her tantrum, Keely meets Will Mahoney in the parking lot. The new guy in town, Will has purchased the local bra factory as well as a dilapidated antebellum mansion called Mulberry Hill.

Keely just happens to be a well-known interior designer, and Will needs Mulberry Hill renovated and decorated immediately. As word of the called-off wedding spreads throughout their small Georgia community, the interior design business suffers the effects of offending the influential Jernigan family. With work slow, and needing something to keep her mind off her troubles, Keely takes the job - and what a job it is. Will wants the mansion ready in six months, in order to impress Stephanie Scofield, the woman he hopes to marry. The problem is that at this point, Stephanie doesn't even know Will is alive. Can the miracle transformation of Mulberry Hill take place within the allotted time? With hard work and determination it can, but that means Keely can't get sidetracked by the one thing that has haunted her all of her life - the disappearance of her mother twenty-five years before.

The novel gives a hilarious, yet poignant glimpse into the life of a determined young Southern lady. A lesser woman would crumple under the stress and tumult of her life, but Keely takes things in stride and handles them with grace. The inner workings of interior design are brought to life through fascinating descriptions of planning, shopping, and bargaining for period furniture and fixtures. And while the lengths Keely goes to, in order to please Will and help in his quest to woo Stephanie, are funny, they never seem unbelievable.

The parallel storyline of Keely's search for information about her mother adds a bit of mystery, which is Mary Kay Andrews' (aka Kathy Hogan Trocheck's) specialty. The two plotlines move the story at a brisk pace, keeping the reader interested in what will happen next. Though in some ways, this is typical chick lit, in others it's surprisingly deep and meaningful - in particular, Keely's relationship with her father will touch readers' hearts. For a light, entertaining read, Hissy Fit is the perfect choice.

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