Spring Fever: A Novel

Spring Fever: A Novel

by Mary Kay Andrews


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First husbands, second chances…

When you think the past is over and done and when you believe you've moved on in life, there's no harm in catching a little spring fever. . . is there?

In bestselling author Mary Kay Andrews's Spring Fever, Annajane Hudgens truly believes she is over her ex-husband, Mason Bayless. They've been divorced for four years, she's engaged to a new, terrific guy, and she's ready to leave the small town where she and Mason had so much history. She is so over Mason that she has absolutely no problem attending his wedding to the beautiful, intelligent, delightful Celia. Celia: the woman everyone in town adores. Everyone, that is, except for Annajane and her lifelong best friend, Pauline "Pokey" Bayless.

But when fate intervenes and the wedding is called to a halt as the bride is literally walking down the aisle, Annajane begins to realize that maybe she's been given a second chance. Maybe everything happens for a reason. And maybe, just maybe, she wants Mason back.

But there are secrets afoot in this small Southern town. Passcoe, North Carolina, is the home of Quixie cherry soda, and the company has been in the Bayless family for generations. Change is on the horizon, however, and even though anyone born in Passcoe is raised on cherry soda and its mascot, Dixie the Quixie Pixie, things are most definitely not going to be the same for long. In the peaceful and shady lanes of Passcoe, Annajane discovers that change can bring out the worst in people and uncover family scandals. And even though there are people determined to keep Annajane from getting what she wants, happiness could be hers for the taking, and the life she once had with Mason in this sleepy little lake town could be in her future. That is, if she can find out what she's really made of and what really matters most to her.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780312642723
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication date: 03/12/2013
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 432
Sales rank: 78,558
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.30(d)

About the Author

MARY KAY ANDREWS is the New York Times bestselling author of Summer Rental, The Fixer Upper, Deep Dish, Blue Christmas, Savannah Breeze, Hissy Fit, Little Bitty Lies, and Savannah Blues. A former journalist for The Atlanta Journal Constitution, she lives in Atlanta, Georgia.

Kathleen McInerney has narrated numerous audiobooks by bestselling authors such as Emily Giffin, Danielle Steel, Jeffrey Stepakoff, Mary Kay Andrews, and Linda Castillo. Her narration of Just One Day by Gayle Forman won an AudioFile Earphones Award.


Atlanta, Georgia

Date of Birth:

July 27, 1954

Place of Birth:

Tampa, Florida


B.A. in newspaper journalism, University of Georgia, 1976

Read an Excerpt




From her seat in the sanctuary of the Church of the Good Shepherd, Annajane Hudgens wondered if there had ever been a more flawless day for a wedding.

Spring had arrived spectacularly early in Passcoe, North Carolina. Only the first week in April, yet the dogwoods and azaleas were already burst into bloom, and the weeping cherry trees lining the walkway to the church trailed fingertips of pale pink onto a blue and white carpet of violets and alyssum.

It was as if the bride, the equally flawless Celia Wakefield, had somehow managed to will perfect weather. Or perhaps she’d specified blue skies and color-coordinated bursts of blooms in one of her famously precise memos. If anybody could do that, Annajane mused, it would be Celia.

Could there be a more beautiful setting? Baylesses had been getting married at the Church of the Good Shepherd for nearly two hundred years. Not in this grand sanctuary, of course. The original church was a quaint, stoop-shouldered gray granite affair, with uneven oak floors, a single Gothic-arched leaded-glass window above the altar, and two rows of ten primitively wrought pine pews built by black laborers from the casket factory in Moore County, twenty minutes down the road.

Annajane could remember sitting beside her best friend, Pokey, in the Bayless family pew after countless Saturday-night sleepovers, back when they were both still in pigtails. By then, Pokey’s grandmother had already started her slow descent into senility, although Annajane had not known that. Miss Pauline, for whom Pokey had been named, seldom spoke, but she was content to sit in church on Sunday mornings and smile and nod to the hymns, dabbing at her cataract-clouded blue eyes with her ever-present handkerchief and patting Annajane’s hand. “She thinks you’re me,” Pokey would whisper, giggling at her grandmother’s confusion and grimacing and holding her nose when Miss Pauline passed gas, which she did frequently.

When the “new” Church of the Good Shepherd was built in the early ’90s, with reproduction Tiffany stained-glass windows, solid cherry pews, and a custom-built German pipe organ, the old church was renamed the Woodrow Memorial Chapel in memory of Pauline Woodrow, who died in her sleep the year Pokey and Annajane turned fourteen.

Annajane’s own wedding had been held in the chapel, the one concession her new in-laws made to what they considered Annajane’s “quaint” ideas. Since she’d paid for the wedding herself, she’d insisted on having an intimate affair, just family and close friends, fewer than forty people, with Pokey as her only attendant. It had rained the November evening of her nuptials, and at the time she’d considered it wildly romantic that the loud thrum of the rain on the church’s tin roof threatened to drown out the wedding march played on the chapel’s original wheezy pump organ.

Had it been only seven years ago? Sometimes she wasn’t sure any of it had really happened at all, that it wasn’t something she’d just remembered from a long-ago dream.

Today’s affair was nothing like Annajane’s modest wedding. The sanctuary was at capacity—beyond capacity, if you went by the county fire code, which said the church could hold five hundred people. It seemed to Annajane that every living person who had ever known or done business with the Bayless family, or even just sipped a bottle of their Quixie cherry soft drink, had crammed themselves into one of the polished wooden pews beneath the soaring exposed rafters of the imposing Episcopal church.

Annajane felt her eyelids droop now. It was too warm in the church, and the scent of the lilies and roses banking everything that didn’t move was overpowering. She’d had almost no sleep the night before, and not much more sleep the night before that. And, yes, she’d had herself a good stiff drink, Quixie and bourbon on the rocks, back at the house, after she’d finished dressing and before she’d left for the church. She closed her eyes, just for a moment, felt her chin droop to her chest, and the next moment, she felt a sharp elbow dig into her ribs.

Pokey had managed to wedge herself into the pew. “Wake up and slide over!” she ordered.

Annajane’s eyes flew open, and she looked up, just in time to see Sallie Bayless, seated in the front row, two pews ahead of them, turn and shoot Pokey a stern look of warning. Sallie’s gleaming auburn hair shone in the candlelit church. She was sixty-four, but still had the dewy complexion, sparkling brown eyes, and slender figure of a woman twenty years younger. Now, those eyes narrowed as they took in Pokey’s tardy and disheveled appearance.

Pokey gave her mother a grin and a finger wave, and Sallie’s head swiveled back around, eyes front, head held high, the Bayless pearls, a double strand, clasped firmly around her neck.

Annajane offered an apologetic smile to the elderly woman to her right. The woman frowned, but begrudgingly inched aside to allow the new arrival to be seated.

As usual, Pokey Bayless Riggs took no notice of the stir she’d caused. She’d been causing a stir nearly every day of her thirty-five years, and today, her brother’s wedding day, was no different.

The boatneck collar of Pokey’s expensive new red silk jacket had slipped off her right shoulder, exposing a leopard-print bra strap and an unseemly amount of cleavage. Little Clayton was two years old, but Pokey was still struggling to lose her baby weight. She’d managed to pop one of the jacket’s rhinestone buttons, and the tight silk skirt had somehow twisted around so that the zipper was now in the front, rather than on the side. She was bare-legged, which was a scandal in and of itself, but now Annajane noticed that her best friend had ditched the Sallie-mandated sedate dyed-silk slingback pumps in favor of a pair of blinged-out silver flip flops.

Pokey’s thin, poker-straight blond hair had already lost its beauty-salon bounce, and now hung limply on either side of her full pink cheeks. Her lipstick was smeared. But her eyes, her amazing cornflower-blue eyes, glinted with mischief.

“Busted!” Annajane whispered, not daring to look at her best friend.

“Christ!” Pokey muttered. “This is so not my fault. I couldn’t find a parking spot! The church lot’s full and the whole block is lined with cars on both sides of the street. I had to leave the Land Rover clear down the block in front of the gas station and run all the way here.”

“Aren’t you supposed to be up there with your mom and everybody else in the family?” Annajane asked. “I mean, you are the groom’s only sister.”

“Screw that,” Pokey said swiftly. “I refuse to make nice with that woman. Mason knows I don’t like her. Mama knows it too. I’m taking a moral stand here.”

“Who the hell are all these people anyway?” she asked, glancing around at the packed church and zeroing in on the bride’s side of the aisle. “Not family, right? Since poor lil’ Celia is an orphan, and the only family she could produce is that elderly great aunt staying over at Mama’s house. Did Celia charter a bus or something?”

Annajane shrugged. “You’re apparently the only person in Passcoe who doesn’t think that Celia Wakefield is the best thing since flush toilets and sliced store-bought bread.”

“Don’t give me that. You hate her as much as I do,” Pokey said under her breath.

“Not at all,” Annajane replied. “I’m happy for them.”

“Yippy-fuckin’-skippy,” Pokey drawled. “Happy, happy, happy. It’s fine for you. In less than a week, you’ll pack up your U-Haul and head for Atlanta and your nice new life without even a glance in the rearview mirror. New man, new job, new address. But where does that leave me? Stuck here in stinkin’ Passcoe, with my mama, my evil brother Davis, and good ole Mason and his new bride, Cruella de Vil.”

“Poor, poor Pokey,” Annajane mocked her right back. “Richest girl in town, married to the second richest man in town.”

“Third richest,” Pokey corrected. “Or maybe fourth. Davis and Mason have way more money than Pete, especially since people quit buying furniture made in America.”

“Speaking of, where is Pete?” Annajane asked, craning her neck to look for him. Instead of spotting Pokey’s tall redheaded husband, Pete, her eyes rested on another tardy couple, Bonnie and Matthew Kelsey, hurrying up the right-side aisle of the church.

Bonnie Kelsey’s eyes met Annajane’s. She blushed, and looked away quickly, clutching Matthew’s arm and steering him into a pew as far away from Annajane’s as she could manage in the overcrowded church.

Pokey saw the maneuver for what it was. “Bitch,” she said.

“It’s all right,” Annajane said smoothly. “I mean, what do you expect? Matt and Mason play golf every week. From what I hear, Bonnie and Celia get along like a house afire. Best friends forever! Anyway, Bonnie’s not the only one to sign up for Team Celia. Every woman in this room has been staring daggers at me since I walked into this church. I knew when I agreed to come today that it would be awkward.”

“Awkward?” Pokey laughed bitterly. “It’s freakish, is what it is. Who else but you would agree to show up at her ex-husband’s wedding?”


Copyright © 2012 by Whodunnit, Inc.

Reading Group Guide

1. The book opens with Annajane attending the wedding of her ex-husband. Do you have any exes with whom you have maintained a relationship? Have you ever successfully rekindled a relationship you thought was long dead? Could you attend the wedding of an ex? Discuss potential gift ideas.

2. Annajane was never accepted by Mason's mother, though Sallie seemed to take to Celia right away. How do you explain Sallie's rejection of one and acceptance of the other? What does Sallie have in common with each?

3. Ruth Hudgens made her distaste of the Baylesses clear from when Annajane was a child and first befriended Pokey—even going so far as not to allow Quixie in her house. How did your interpretation of Ruth's ties to the Baylesses evolve over the course of the novel? Have you ever had a friend that your mother didn't approve of? How did you manage the situation?

4. Discuss the significance that the lake house at Cherry Hill held for Annajane and Mason. What parallels do you see between the house and the way it was tended to and Annajane's relationship with Mason?

5. Annajane assumed that Mason had been unfaithful once she discovered the mix tape in his car. In your gut did you feel she was correct in this assumption or did you think she jumped to conclusions? Discuss the ways that their first marriage fell apart and how it could have been different. Who was at fault and how?

6. Mason and Davis are quite different despite being brothers close in age. How do you account for their different personalities and approaches to life and business? Does each man get what he deserves?

7. Do you think Glenn redeemed himself as a husband and a father? In the end, were you sympathetic to him as a person? Why or why not?

8. Quixie's survival as a family-owned company was in peril at certain points in the novel. Would you have been tempted to sell? How does Quixie exemplify our current economic issues? Discuss examples of the struggles faced by local businesses and the responsibilities that companies have to their employees and the towns where they are based.

9. What were Celia's motivations when it came to Quixie? To the Bayless men? Imagine and discuss Celia's future with Davis and the rest of the Bayless family.

10. What role does Sophie play in Mason and Annajane's relationship and how does her role evolve as the novel develops? If you were in Annajane's shoes, how do you think you would have reacted to Sophie at first? Sophie's favorite book is Runaway Bunny. What parallels do you see between that children's book and Sophie's own life? Mason and Annajane's relationship?

Customer Reviews

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Spring Fever 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 154 reviews.
quaintinns More than 1 year ago
"The BEST!!! I have read all Mary Kay Andrews; books and this was awesome! Loved the setting in Passcoe, NC with Quixie Cherry Soda (which were fictitious names for (Salisbury, NC and Cheerwine). Having spent a great deal of my childhood in Salisbury, NC and LakeHideaway - brought back a lot of fun memories. Started and completed it over the weekend as you cannot put it down! A must read.. The New York Times bestselling author of Summer Rental (which I also loved set in Tybee Island, SC) delivers her delicious new escapist novel about small towns, old flames, and deep secrets. Mary Kay will always keep you laughing!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have read all of this author's previous books and in my opinion this was the best one. The characters are so intriguing all of them. It was so interesting to see the character's transformations from begining to end. The story had several twists & turns and kept my interest. I had no idea where it was headed. Great look into southern culture. The book has everything, romance, humor, drama & more! You'll be sorry if you miss this book!
sand7s More than 1 year ago
One of the best beach books i read. would recommend.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I've read most ofMKA's books and I love her southern way of story telling. This book was true to her southern style. Her stories are like dessert. Delightful! And they are as refreshingly satisfying as my Moma's sweet tea on a hot summer day. I enjoyed the story and highly recomend all her books. I know I'll never pass one up! Love the humor she wraps around the pages. Y'all just have to try them all!
Lindsie More than 1 year ago
I have always been a huge fan of Mary Kay Andrew’s books. They all have the right ingredients; mystery, an evil villain, a love story, and something that the characters need to overcome. In this book, we meet some amazing characters that are very easy to fall in love with. Readers will find themselves rooting for Mason and Annajane, and booing against Cecelia and sometimes Sallie. All in all, readers who are fans of MKA and any other chick lit books should get their hands on this book! A++
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Was looking for a new book to read to start my summer... Loved it!!! Read it in 3 days!!! Story, characters, twists and turns, OhMy!!! Will be reading other books by MKA, can't wait to start the next.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have read everythign i can from Mary Kay Andrews. She is such a great writer and her stories are always such a fun read. This is the last book that I have read of hers and possibly my favorite. It has a great story line complete with every changing friendships, new love, mystery, crime, and a magical setting.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Have read all her books. Loved them all.
raleighreaderCM More than 1 year ago
I have read Mary Kay Andrews as long as she has been creating her wonderful stories about Southern ladies and how they handle impossible situations with Style and class. spring fever has a wonderful conclusion that feels so nice to remember after the book has ended.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
MKA is one of my favorite authors and her books have kept me entertained through some longs hours. This is one of my favorites.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
One of her best. Much like her first which were so funny. She needs to write more like this
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Another great read by Mary Kay Andrews
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Fun story! Nasty villians, strong heros! Not at all heavy, but a great distraction!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really like it
Darlene28 More than 1 year ago
I really like this novel. Spring Fever is different than what you usually expect from Mary Kay Andrews!!!I love her sence of humor but it wasn't really apparent in this book but it didn't take away from the story at all. I really loved Spring Fever!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Essy breezy summer read!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
MKA has delivered again. Sweet story, wonderful ending. Anxious for her next book!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love MKA books! Once again she delivers a great read. I didn't see the twist this book took. Highly recommend this book. A great beach read.
Cecita More than 1 year ago
I picked this up looking for some light summer read. Well, I read it in a day! I was so taken with the storyline, I had to know what was going to happene!! Highly Recommend!
Izzyshizzle More than 1 year ago
This was a fun read! Perfect for a relaxing summer escape. Loved it!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
LOVE this book!!! Loved the characters and as with all of her books, I didn't want it to end.... I have read all of her books numerous times and will be adding this one to my re-read list! :)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Love all Mary Kay Andrews books.
SharonR53 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Annajane Hudgens finds herself in a church pew, sitting next to her ex-sister in law and best friend, and watching her ex-husband, Mason, about to be remarried. She notices that he is looking decidedly nervous and ready to bolt and as the bride steps off, Annajane is about to jump out of the pew and stop the ceremony when Mason¿s daughter, the adorable Sophie, gets taken ill. Mason and Annajane end up going to the ER with Sophie and leaving the diminutive but dastardly bride, Celia to follow later.This episode sets the tone for the book to follow. Ms. Andrews has written a story of two people who love each other but couldn¿t get the timing right from the beginning of the relationship. Mason is the heir to the Quixie soda empire and Annajane is the girl who works for the company and happens to be his sister¿s friend. They come together and apart and eventually marry but it doesn¿t last due to job pressures, immaturity and the possibility of cheating on Mason¿s part. After the divorce, Annajane¿s suspicions seem to be confirmed when Mason has a daughter after a one night stand. Now, 5 years later she is engaged and ready to leave town, her job at Quixie and Mason for good. The aborted wedding brings her to her senses and she realizes she still has feelings for Mason.Although the plot is a tried and true romance plot, it gets a nice treatment in this book. Annajane and Mason are friends and co- workers who were able to put the past behind them until Celia arrives on the scene. The wedding becomes the pivotal moment for both exes to reevaluate what they want out of life and how they are going to get it. Mason is a nice guy who is trying to save his family business. Annajane is a strong woman who wants a family and the life she sees her best friend, Pokey, living- one with a loving husband. Annajane and Mason have to work hard and really talk about their past mistakes to put their relationship back together again. The villains of the story; Celia, Mason¿s mother, and his brother Davis, all play a part in helping keep the exes apart but lose out in the long run.I really enjoyed this book. Ms. Andrews always shows us a slice of Southern life and tradition in a quirky but loving way and this book is no exception. There are a few moments that are a little darker than she normally has in her books but they fit into the story very well. Spring Fever is another good book from an always enjoyable writer.
cinnamonowl on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I was so excited to receive this galley from NetGalley. I love Mary Kay Andrews, her books are always so entertaining with great characters, and of course the setting in the south - a weakness.Annajane had been madly in love with Mason for it seems her whole life. She stays clear of him for five years, after a short attempt at a marriage. But when she attends his wedding to Celia, a business wonder, she realizes she is definitely not over Mason, although she herself is engaged. Thankfully, Mason's young daughter Sophie starts throwing up at the altar and the wedding has to be postponed, leaving time for Annajane and Mason to reconnect and explore their feelings. Their divorce had been messy and without closure, and after five years apart, start to talk about what really happened. This book actually made me anxious - I wanted Annjane and Mason to get together so badly, and Celia was a perfect villain. There is much history in their lives and so much hidden behind the scenes, and it all starts to slowly come undone, one twist at a time. I enjoyed every discovery, and simply loved this book!(less)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago