Blueprints by Barbara Delinsky
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Caroline MacAfee is a divorced carpenter; one who has kept her last name because she is still part of the well-known MacAfee family, which owns MacAfee Homes, a popular business in their town. Caroline is also host of the popular TV show "Gut It" (think something on DIY or HGTV) - that is until she's told she's too old to host the show the day after her 56th birthday. The network wants a new host: Caroline's 29-year-old daughter, Jamie MacAfee, an architect with the family company. Pushing for the change is Caroline's ex-husband, Roy, and her ex-father-in-law, Theo. The news rattles Caroline and upsets the foundation of her happy mother/daughter relationship with Jamie.
But everyone's life is further upended when Roy and his new wife die suddenly on a stormy night, leaving MacAfee Homes without its charismatic marketing lead and Jamie to deal with sudden guardianship of her toddler half-brother, Tad. Quickly, she must navigate life as a new mom; deal with the impact of motherhood on her relationship with her fiance; juggle the impact on her work, especially with her father no longer with the company; and try to heal her fractured relationship with Caroline.
If it sounds like there is a lot going on in this novel, there is. Yet, it seemed like it got off to a slow start. I almost put the book aside for some others on my "to-read" list until I got to the accident and things picked up. After that, even if parts of the plot and the characters' actions irked me, the book itself breezed by, and I found myself wanting to finish it quickly.
One of my biggest pet peeves with this novel was all of the talk of sex. I am no prude and have no issues with sex being in a novel, when appropriate. In this book, it seemed like it was inserted just because. Delinsky made several veiled references to "50 Shades of Grey" (the characters were reading it, for instance) and it almost seemed as if, because of that, it felt necessary to insert dialogue about sex, sex scenes, and more. Caroline and Jamie's discussions of sex, Caroline's discussions of sex with her friend, Annie - they were all painful and came across as extremely stilted. In fact, several times, it seemed like the characters were having various conversations to make sure we really, really knew how they felt about certain things, when, truly, if Delinksy would have just let the plot unfold naturally, it would have all come out on its own. It was a little unnatural and forced.
Speaking of said plot, it is a Delinsky novel, so be prepared that it will all seem a little fantastical at times. I would have liked to have been reading this novel on the beach - it's the perfect beach read where you can just suspend real life for a little while and get caught up in a slightly unrealistic plot.
That being said, Caroline and Jamie are fairly likable characters. They grow on you. I found myself empathizing with Jamie and her struggles with working motherhood, for instance. If you go in expecting a fun, silly book, you won't be disappointed.
(Note: I received an ARC of this book via the Goodreads First Reads program in return for an unbiased review.)
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