I can’t get enough of Southern fiction. Not just because it’s my genre of choice, but because I find it a lot easier to relate to their lives and stories than with other types of writing. Give me kudzu, sweet tea, and the resolve of a good Southern woman and I feel right at home. My mom (or should I say, Mama) stumbled across this book on her travels in North Georgia and was attracted to the story’s central location in a sleepy town outside of Atlanta (much like the one she and my dad are currently living in). She passed it on to me and I was eager to read it.
What is it about?
After a legal investigation explodes around the lobbyist firm where she works in Washington D.C., Dempsey escapes the swelling drama by accepting an invitation to flip her father’s old family home in Guthrie, Georgia. Upon arrival, however, Dempsey finds the house (called Birdsong) is nearly in a state of disrepair and the townsfolk seem to have a vendetta against her family. As Dempsey dives headfirst into the daunting task of restoring Birdsong to its original glory, the legal battle in D.C. turns ugly. Her old boss pins his scandal on her and Dempsey finds herself facing possible jail time. But with the help of her close family and a few new friends, Dempsey rolls up her sleeves to take on both challenges and manages to find herself on the road to resolution.
So…what did you think??
This book combined three of the things I love most in this world: A good story, home remodeling/decor, and food. Dempsey Jo Killebrew, the book’s main character, was likable and tough, even as she battled a legal escapade and the daunting job of remodeling her family’s old Victorian home.
Some people might get bored with the details of the home restoration aspects of the novel, but I go on multi-day HGTV binges at least two or three times a month, so that part of the story was right up my alley. Andrews brilliantly brought in the food element by including several delicious recipes from each of her main characters in the back of the book (what a GREAT marketing idea!). The recipes matched the characters’ personalities and in some cases were even mentioned in the story.
Did it teach you anything as a writer?
As an author, every book I read is not just for fun, it’s also for inspiration. In that respect, what I took away from this book was the amount of research the showed through the restoration process. Just knowing the names and styles of so many different architectural details almost made this book feel like an informational text (but not in a boring way!). I could tell that Andrews was passionate about home restoration and decor (which I learned from her website is one of her personal hobbies) which made me feel like I was connecting with her the author as much as the character she created. She even included a few tips in the back of the book for tackling some of the projects that Dempsey did.
Cut to the chase, should I read it?
I would definitely recommend this read, especially if you have an interest in home improvement. It’s great for a quick summer read in the pool or on vacation, but be warned–you’ll put it down and immediately start looking for rooms to redecorate!