I was surprised to realize Blueprints is the first book I’ve read by the prolific Barbara Delinsky. We’ve both been around the romance community so long I would have expected us to meet long before now. Better late than never, right?
Caroline MacAfee is the host of Gut It! a home renovation show on local public television which revolves around women in the construction business. Caroline, a skilled carpenter, her daughter Jamie, a talented architect and her best friend, Annie Ahl, a gifted landscape artist are the backbone of the series. The show has been a surprising success and the ladies are justifiably proud of their work.
Then the network decides that the show needs a younger host and they want to promote Jamie over Caroline and shove the equally aging Annie into the background. Jamie is asked to be the messenger of this bad news, information she knows will devastate her mother. Caroline has already been replaced once for a younger, hipper model by her ex-husband. Just when the two women are grappling with this painful dilemma Jamie’s father dies leaving her the guardian of a toddler.
Suddenly the two women find themselves overwhelmed as they deal with a devastated head of the family, a young boy who longs for his parents, a network determined to pick a fight while they are still trying to meet a deadline and a company catastrophe which could mean the end to their construction company.
Into this fray enter our two stalwart heroes. Dean Brannick, the general construction manager is the only male who appears in every episode of Gut It! He’s long had a thing for Caroline and as he watches her struggle with all the sudden changes in her life he realizes just how much she could use a supportive guy like him. Charlie “Chip” Kobik, toddler wrangler extraordinaire, is there for Jamie as she starts down the parenting road with her little half-brother. The two bond over games of tag, milk and cookies, pizza and art projects. Pretty soon Jamie can’t imagine being a single mother when it’s so clear the perfect dad is right in front of her.
The book has some flaws. It leans towards instant chemistry equaling love and saccharine solutions to life’s big problems. That’s okay. The story deals with some dark subjects – such as the unfair treatment of women as we age – and giving such issues a hopeful, happy conclusion gives the whole story a wonderful, feel good vibe.