Mary Kay Andrews (MKA) is known for her sweet Southern summertime stories that are filled with slow-moving tides, warm beaches, a mystery, and plenty of romantic drama. “The Homewreckers” brings us to Savannah, with its beautiful avenues and lovely historic homes. We meet Hattie, who works in her late husband’s family construction business with her father-in-law, her best friend Cass, and Cass’s mother, who runs the office. As the story begins, Hattie has poured her life savings into a beautiful old home, hoping to restore it and make a profit. But the historic home needs a much larger than expected infusion of cash to bring it to the point where it will make money, and Hattie is forced to sell at a loss.
Enter smooth-talking Mo, a television producer who is charmed by Savannah and has an idea for a new reality show. Things seem to be turning around for Hattie when she is offered a role in that reality series, which will be filmed right there in Savannah. She just needs to find the perfect house to restore and flip, and the construction company will be made whole because of the deals the network can make on supplies and Hattie’s not-huge salary per episode. But there is much more going on than meets the eye. When she does find a house, it’s on Tybee Island, and it’s a disaster.
First, Hattie must find the money to purchase the property. Then, she has to work with the high-maintenance designer the network insisted on, whom they intend to be a romantic interest that will spice up the show. Trae is handsome and charming, and Hattie begins to sense some chemistry. But the smell of chemistry might be from the arson that threatens the house. Or is it the scent of the decaying carpet in the hundred-year-old house that has been left to decay in the heat and humidity and has actually been condemned?
Throw in a decades-old murder, a deadline that gets tighter and tighter, family secrets that Hattie would rather keep private, and an intrepid dog named Ribsy, and you’ve got a novel that is at times charming, funny, and touching. Let your imagination run wild as Hattie uses items she’s gotten from sales and garbage piles to add unique touches to the restoration. It’s enough to make readers want to emulate MKA herself and start frequenting local resale shops and estate sales to find hidden treasures. We always root for the underdog, and Hattie is certainly that as she fights to complete the project the right way in spite of pressure to just get it done quickly and on time. While she might not have a college degree or a fancy pedigree, Hattie has spunk and a sense of honor. And we are pulling for her to get her happy ending professionally and personally. Solving the murder mystery will just be icing on the cake.
Please note: This review was first posted on Bookreporter.com.