Last Friday night while watching a friend's twins (and being unwilling to fall asleep before she came to pick them up) I cracked open Mary Kay Andrews' "The Fixer Upper" hoping for something light yet interesting enough to hold my attention at after midnight after a full day. Luckily, that is exactly what I found in this book. It captured my attention from the beginning, and held it throughout.
Dempsey Jo Killebrew is a lobbyist in Washington when a scandal breaks out- apparently her boss has been affording special favours to one particular congressman in order to gain favour for an oil company that he is promoting, and Dempsey has been set up to take the fall. This leaves Dempsey broke and jobless so her father offers her a way to lay low while the scandal blows over. He has inherited an old family estate in Guthrie, Georgia that he would like her to fix up so that he can turn around and sell it for a large profit. Feeling that she has no other options she takes her father up on his offer and heads out to Georgia with the hopes of splashing on a new coat of paint and being done with it. What she hasn't bargained for is the fact that the house is pratically falling down around her, that there is a cranky old squatter living in the house who refuses to leave, and that Guthrie brings new meaning to the term "small-town". What she also hasn't bargained for is that she will fall in love with the people who live there, and may possibly find out some things about herself while she brings order to the old house.
If I had to use one word to describe this book it would be "charming". Mary Kay Andrews brings Southern charm to every page of this book. While I wouldn't necessarily call this "chick-lit" I would call it women's fiction. The characters were lovable yet sufficiently flawed, the problems that arose throughout the book were concluded satisfactorily and the ending made me smile. My only problem was with the relationship between Dempsey and Tee, one of the town's lawyers- I felt that their relationship moved very fast yet wasn't fully developed for the reading audience. It left me wanting more from them. I am interested in reading more of Andrews' books, though; she left me wanting more.