Monday, January 22, 2024

Book Review and GIVEAWAY: The Blueprint, by Rae Giana Rashad {ends 1/29}

Guest review by: Becki Bayley

We weren’t supposed to feel anything for these men. It was dangerous – this paradox Black girls couldn’t take the long way around to avoid. But Black girls are not parts created from perceptions. We are human in a world that told us we couldn’t be. 

I awoke each day pretending we were on our own island. We never left the house. No one visited other than a plump, graying woman who came twice a day to clean and leave protein-heavy meals on warming trays or wrapped in plastic in the refrigerator. He called her Service as if it were her name. This ghost in pink lipstick and blue shoe covers floated around the house never acknowledging me or Bastien.

Solenne has been raised to be quiet and do as she’s told. After her first assignment at the capital, she ends up with the Order’s highest Official, who thinks he cares for her so well she would never want freedom.

Official synopsis:
Book Review and GIVEAWAY: The Blueprint, by Rae Giana Rashad {ends 1/29}
Solenne Bonet lives in Texas where choice no longer exists. An algorithm determines a Black woman’s occupation, spouse, and residence. Solenne finds solace in penning the biography of Henriette, an ancestor who’d been an enslaved concubine to a wealthy planter in 1800s Louisiana. But history repeats itself when Solenne, lonely and na├»ve, finds herself entangled with Bastien Martin, a high-ranking government official. Solenne finds the psychological bond unbearable, so she considers alternatives. With Henriette as her guide, she must decide whether and how to leave behind all she knows.  

Inspired by the lives of enslaved concubines to U.S. politicians and planters, The Blueprint unfolds over dual timelines to explore bodily autonomy, hypocrisy, and power imbalances through the lens of the nation’s most unprotected: a Black girl.

This is a book that was speculative fiction (based in 2030) but read as literary fiction. Solenne is a woman trapped in the laws of the Order for DoS (Descendants of Slavery) who can’t help noticing the similarities with her ancestor Henriette, a concubine who was sold to a plantation owner in the United States in the early 1800's. She communicates both of their tragic stories beautifully.

The story is told in alternating viewpoints, with sections about Solenne’s girlhood years in school, the time at the beginning of her assignment, her re-telling of Henriette’s story, and the ‘current’ time when she’s actually determining what to do after reflecting on everything that has been. All of the viewpoints were equally compelling and contributed meaning to the story.

Overall, this wonderful book earned 5 out of 5 stars. It’s impossible not to empathize with Solenne and feel like she’s someone the reader really knows. The book would be loved by those who enjoy speculative fiction, women’s stories, and literary fiction.

{click here to purchase via Amazon affiliate link}

Becki Bayley is a Gemini who loves reading and writing. She appreciates the sun on her skin, but is also willing to hunker down in the home that she loves until it’s warm enough to go outside again. Find out more about her life and reading on her blog, SweetlyBSquared.com.

GIVEAWAY:

One of my lucky readers will win a copy of The Blueprint!

Enter via the widget below. Giveaway will end on Sunday, January 29th at 11:59pm ET, and winner will be contacted the next day via email and have 24 hours to respond, or an alternate winner will be chosen.

U.S. residents only, please.

Good luck!

The Blueprint, by Rae Giana Rashad

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