Saturday, June 25, 2011

Star Audio Book Review - The Fixer-Upper by Mary Kay Andrews; Read by Isabel Keating

The Fixer-Upper was the first book I read and listened to by Mary Kay Andrews and it really exceeded my expectations. When the story began, narrator Isabel Keating introduces readers to its leading heroine, Dempsey Jo Killebrew. Living in DC, working as a lobbyist for a prominent and very influential man, Alex Hodder, Dempsey finds herself front and center in a political scandal that she swears she knows nothing about. Immediately, her entire life is thrown into total upheaval. She loses her job, her apartment and pretty much everything that identifies her in DC and to top it off, her boss won’t talk to her to even give her so much as a clue as to what it going on.

Nearing 30, Dempsey swallows her pride and hops on a plane to Miami to ask her father, Mitch for a loan. While he doesn’t agree to give her money, he does make an interesting proposition to Dempsey. Apparently, his Uncle Norbert from Guthrie, Georgia had just passed and left Mitch his huge farm house, called Birdsong, and whatever land it’s on; but the catch is, the house is in no kind of condition to live in or even sell just yet. If Dempsey is willing to go up to Guthrie, fix up the old house and put it on the market, Mitch is willing to split – 50/50 – any of the profits that she can garner from the sale. Left with virtually no options, Dempsey goes back to DC to pack up her apartment and heads down to the lil’ town of Guthrie, Georgia.

In Guthrie, Dempsey is met with surprise after surprise. First, to say the farm house is in disarray is a vast understatement; but before she can even enter Birdsong to assess the damages, she comes face to face with an old, cynical and very protective woman, currently living in Birdsong – and she wants nothing to do with Dempsey and she certainly doesn’t want her living in the house with her. Dempsey heads off to the lawyer’s office to find out just what’s going on where she learns that the woman is a distant cousin, Ella Kate who took care of Norbert during his last few years. She has got nothing but hate in her body for the Killebrews. With all bad news, there’s got to be something good – and it takes the form of a Mr. Carter T. Berryhill, or “T” for short. He is a gorgeous, young lawyer, working with his father, a local Guthrie man and the romantic tension that sparks between him and Dempsey is more than palpable. As if Dempsey didn’t already have a long road ahead and ample work cut out for her, the FBI trail her to the farm house in Guthrie and they aren’t leaving until she’s willing to talk to them. Will one too many distractions keep Dempsey from finishing her project or more importantly, rebuilding her life?

A beautifully narrated story, fast-paced and exciting with each passing minute, Isabel Keating kept listeners tuning into every word. She performed as the strong yet na├»ve Dempsey born and raised a city girl, and then masked her voice as the small town country old lady Ella Kate and then again transformed herself into the sweet, sultry and very southern gentleman Carter T Berryhill; The characters couldn’t have been more different in age, sex, ethnicity and culture and I was vastly impressed by Isabel Keating’s ability to alter the intonation of her voice over and over again in this story, from the bad guys in DC politics to those born in the south of Georgia-born to Dempsey’s California glam-hippie mother and her father’s Hispanic wife.

Overall, The Fixer-Upper was supremely entertaining, with elements of drama, romance, action and humor, there’s a little something for everyone. If you like a good chick it novel with a little mystery, political scandal and southern charm, this might just be the audio book for you.


Mary Kay Andrews latest release is Summer Rental and it is available in stores everywhere. For more information on these books or any of her others, visit her site at
Rating 4/5

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