Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Blueprints - Review & Giveaway

Review by Darcie Czajkowski
Mother Caroline MacAfee and daughter Jamie are best friends. They’ve been that way all of Jamie’s life, in part because it’s been just the two of them since Jamie’s father divorced her mother, citing her advancing age and his desire for a younger model, which he then pursued, twice over.

Despite working closely together in their family business, MacAfee Homes, Caroline as a carpenter and Jamie as an architect, the two rarely experience conflict in their relationship. That is, until their roles on the home-renovations series, Gut It!, are challenged. The network wants Jamie to take over her mother’s hosting role, which hits Caroline hard when she learns that the switch is being pursued because her fifty-six years make her too old for television.

But before the two women can sort out their feelings on the matter and talk through the situation, Jamie’s father and his wife die in a car accident, leaving their two-year-old son, her half-brother, Tad, an orphan. Jamie, having agreed long ago to be his legal guardian, never imagined actually being thrust into this role. So much so that she failed to tell her fiancĂ©, Brad, about the decision she made before she met him, and Jamie quickly learns that he’s not interested in becoming an instant-parent. The timing of it simply doesn’t work for him.

In the subsequent weeks, the roles and identities of both MacAfee women are put to the test. Jamie is forced to make tough decisions about her future, both with Brad and the direction of her career. And then there’s the issue of the attractive single father at the playground, who goes out of his way to help her during her first weeks of mothering Tad. At the same time, Caroline battles feelings of insecurity, all while exploring her feminine side that was neglected in the decades since her divorce. Having never pursued a relationship, now long-time friend Dean is expressing his interest, and she’s not certain she shares his interest.

Will these women be able to reclaim the closeness of their relationship? How will the network’s desire for a host swap affect MacAfee Homes? And most of all, will Caroline and Jamie be able to carve out new identifies when the blueprints of the old ones are destroyed?

Barbara Delinsky’s Blueprints drew me in right away by creating tension between mother and daughter. As someone who is very close to her own mother, I instantly related to Caroline and Jamie’s relationship, recognizing that any conflict with my mom is disconcerting, and one involving the sensitive-for-women topic of age would be particularly so. If I couldn’t call her to share in my joy at a personal success or cry on her shoulder when things get tough, I would feel much like Jamie and Caroline do in Blueprints: lost, alone, and troubled. While I had difficulty relating to the quickness of the romantic relationships in the story, the rest of the book flowed extremely well. I would highly recommend this wonderful story about family, love, and the value of being true to our own identities, which naturally shift over time as we experience little – and big – bumps in the road of life.

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About the Author:
Barbara Delinsky has written more than twenty-two bestselling novels with over thirty million copies in print. She has been published in twenty languages worldwide. Barbara's fiction centers upon everyday families facing not-so-everyday challenges. She is particularly drawn to exploring themes of motherhood, marriage, sibling rivalry, and friendship in her novels. 

A lifelong New Englander, Barbara earned a B.A. in Psychology at Tufts University and an M.A. in Sociology at Boston College. As a breast cancer survivor who lost her mother to the disease when she was only eight, Barbara compiled the non-fiction book Uplift: Secrets From the Sisterhood of Breast Cancer Survivors, a handbook of practical tips and upbeat anecdotes. She donates her proceeds from the sale of this book to her charitable foundation, which funds an ongoing research fellowship at Massachusetts General Hospital.

Barbara enjoys knitting, photography, and cats.

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St. Martin’s Press is giving one lucky winner a print copy of
Blueprints by Barbara Delinsky
US only

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