As a mother and daughter team, Caroline and Jamie MacAfee are best friends as well, and each of them is impeccable in their roles within the family company, MacAfee Homes. Their reality show, Gut it!, is all about renovating and bringing attention to the company’s work.

As the host of the show, Caroline has hit her stride. Confident and proud, she enjoys basking in all of it. And Jamie’s role as the architect brings her unique talents to the mix.

So when the network producers decide that a major change is in order, all hell is about to break loose. They want 56-year-old Caroline to step down from hosting, replaced by her daughter Jamie. And Jamie is told first, tasked with giving the news to her mother.

But she hesitates. And then too much time has passed, and major drama is unleashed. Compounded by the secrecy, as well as by a few other issues, the fallout has the potential to damage the relationships between mother and daughter, as well as the company.

On the heels of this stunning reveal, the accidental death of Roy MacAfee and his wife Jessica, will change everything. As Jamie’s father, and company CEO, these deaths will turn what might have been a mildly disastrous event into total chaos. What will happen to the company now? Will positions of power be toppled? And how will Jamie’s new role as guardian of her two-year-old half-brother Tad change not only her work life but her personal life?

Her fiancé, Brad, has been distant and aloof lately, but adding a baby to the mix seems to have brought out his worst qualities. Were those problems there all along?

Just when she needs it most, Jamie discovers an unexpected friend and resource, a single dad raising a three-year-old, and suddenly, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. As if to fill in the void left by the rift with her mother, Jamie quickly falls in love and behaves impulsively for her.

Meanwhile, Caroline, stunned by how being marginalized because of age tears at her confidence, turns to an old friend for romantic comfort.

My favorite parts were the descriptions of the homes as they were renovated and redesigned, a guilty pleasure of mine that felt as good as watching an HGTV special. The mother-daughter issues felt real as well. Competition between them is exacerbated by the reminder that older is not necessarily valued, not even in a family company. A painful awakening.

Themes of family dynamics, competition, power, and severed bonds bring just the right amount of drama to this otherwise feel-good story. Somewhat predictable, but thoroughly engaging, Blueprints: A Novel was a captivating read that deserves 4.5 stars.


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