Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication Date: 6/9/2015
My Rating: 4 Stars
Blueprints, the new novel from bestselling author Barbara Delinsky, is the story of two strong women, Caroline MacAfee, a skilled carpenter, and her daughter Jamie, a talented architect. The day after her 56th birthday, Caroline is told the network wants Jamie to replace her as the host on Gut It!, their family-based home construction TV show. The resulting rift couldn’t come at a worse time.
For Jamie, life changes overnight when, soon after learning of the host shift, her father and his new wife die in a car accident that orphans their two-year-old son. Accustomed to organization and planning, she is now grappling with a toddler who misses his parents, a fiancé who doesn’t want the child, a staggering new attraction, and a work challenge that, if botched, could undermine the future of both MacAfee Homes and Gut It!
For Caroline, hosting Gut It! is part of her identity. Facing its loss, she feels betrayed by her daughter and old in the eyes of the world. When her ex-husband dies, she is thrust into the role of caregiver to his aging father. And then there’s Dean, a long-time friend, whose efforts to seduce her awaken desires that have been dormant for so long that she feels foreign to herself.
Who am I? Both women ask, as the blueprints they've built their lives around suddenly need revising. While loyalties shift, decisions hover, and new relationships tempt, their challenge comes not only in remaking themselves, but in rebuilding their relationship with each other.
About the Author
I was born and raised in suburban Boston. My mother’s death, when I was eight, was the defining event of a childhood that was otherwise ordinary. I took piano lessons and flute lessons. I took ballroom dancing lessons. I went to summer camp through my fifteenth year (in Maine, which explains the setting of so many of my stories), then spent my sixteenth summer learning to type and to drive (two skills that have served me better than all of my other high school courses combined). I earned a B.A. in Psychology at Tufts University and an M.A. in Sociology at Boston College. The motivation behind the M.A. was sheer greed. My husband was just starting law school. We needed the money. Following graduate school, I worked as a researcher with the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, and as a photographer and reporter for the Belmont Herald. I did the newspaper work after my first son was born. Since I was heavily into taking pictures of him, I worked for the paper to support that habit. Initially, I wrote only in a secondary capacity, to provide copy for the pictures I took. In time, I realized that I was better at writing than photography. I used both skills doing volunteer work for hospital groups, and have served on the Board of Directors of the Friends of the Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center and on the MGH’s Women’s Cancer Advisory Board. I became an actual writer by fluke. My twins were four when, by chance, I happened on a newspaper article profiling three female writers. Intrigued, I spent three months researching, plotting, and writing my own book - and it sold. My niche? I write about the emotional crises that we face in our lives. Readers identify with my characters. They know them. They are them. I'm an everyday woman writing about everyday people facing not-so-everyday challenges. Website Twitter
A special thank you to St. Martin's Press and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review. "Stunning front cover!" A long-time fan of Barbara Delinsky, once again delivers a winning women's fiction drama with BLUEPRINTS. A realistic contemporary portrayal of the many challenges and complexities, faced by women of ages from 20’s to 60’s; of today’s modern world relationships--from professional, personal, family, and motherhood mixed with humor and some tantalizing sexy distractions. Gut it! A local television production, a home renovation series headlined by women—specifically the women of MacAfee Homes. The show was not touted by high drama nor celebrity antics, just real work by real people with whom an audience of real women identified. However, when the director decides the program needs a facelift to attract a younger demographic, family allegiances are put to the test. Caroline MacAfee is a skilled carpenter, her daughter Jamie, a talented architect and together they have been the faces of Gut It. Jamie MacAfee is twenty-nine and pretty much financially independent. Her parents are divorced and Caroline was not just her mother, but her best friends. Roy, her dad had moved on not once more, but twice. Jamie did not care for his second wife and his third wife, Jessica was close to Jamie’s age with a young son, and she had become a friend. All the family happened to be employed by MacAfee homes (so a lot of input). Caroline age fifty-six had always taken pride in her work and the audience loved her. However, when she is told the network wants her daughter to replace her as host, the day after her birthday, she is devastated. Can you imagine what this does to your ego? The show wants to target a younger demographic, aiming for the twenty-five to forty-year old range. This news places Jamie in an awkward situation, since her mom built the show, and now they think her mom is too old. She was simply being rewarded for her age at the expense of her mother, who was being punished for hers. At age fifty-six she looks great; however, for television, it means over-the-hill. She is allowed to stay on the show, just not in the limelight. The fallout causes a strain between mother and daughter, and soon after comes the accident of Roy MacAfee, CEO of MacAfee Homes, and his young wife (father and ex-husband). Now Jamie is confronted with the role as guardian of her two year old half-brother, Tad and her fiancé, Brad is less than thrilled with the news. So there is drama all the way around for these two women with much more . . . As Caroline is four years away from age sixty (been there, not a pretty thought);however, not everyone thinks she is over-the-hill, and may be time for "Stella to get her groove back". :) Carolina has always felt passion for work and her daughter, but a man, like Dean—could be the worst or possibly the best! Loved this part... I really enjoyed the story, from the stunning front cover, which grabbed me, as well as the design concept, and the older woman--a fantastic topic as many of us baby boomers are facing this today with our careers, as opportunities do not come along for the over 55-65 age range as often as in our younger years. Fans of highly-charged women’s topics, women’s fiction, family dynamics, romance, chick-lit and lovers of HGTV, home remodeling, architecture, design, Wendy Wax’s Ten Beach Road home renovation series, and Mary Kay Andrews’ books will enjoy Barbara’s storytelling with her in depth research into the architecture and design business. An engaging and fun beach read of love, life, aging, competition, loyalty, motherhood and reinvention.