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The Blueprint by Rae Giana Rashad : a review

I’m delighted to be sharing a guest review from Elena about The Blueprint by Rae Giana Rashad.

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book cover for The Blueprint by Rae Giana Rashad.  A snake is wrapped around a bird and is just about to strike

The Blueprint by Rae Giana Rashad

  • Category : Literary Sci Fi
  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Harper (13 Feb. 2024)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Hardcover ‏ : ‎ 304 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 0063330091
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0063330092
  • Harper Collins | Amazon | Goodreads

The Blueprint Summary

The Blueprint looks to the year 2030, offering a harrowing glimpse into a near-future United States—a world of injustice and bondage in which a young Black woman becomes the concubine of a powerful white government official and must face the dangerous consequences.

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 naïve, 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.  

Deeply researched and inspired by the life of Sally Hemings and the true accounts of enslaved Black girls, The Blueprint unfolds over dual timelines to explore bodily autonomy and power imbalances through the lens of the nation’s most unprotected: a Black girl.

The Blueprint Review

This story is set in a dystopian future in the USA. Young Black girls who are descendants of slaves are destined to be men’s concubines, determined by an algorithm. Solenne is assigned initially to a gay man however soon she crosses paths with powerful government official Bastien, and a toxic, controlling relationship ensues which Solenne cannot extricate herself from such is Bastien’s control over her.

Set both in the present as well as in Solenne’s youth, we see first-hand the way that young Black girls are expected to accept their future and they do. Being under the control of their ‘master’ echoes those of their ancestors and nothing has changed since those days. Solenne gains some comfort from writing about her ancestor Henriette who was also the property of a white man. Henriette is almost like a friend to Solenne and she protects her story with fierce passion.

Despite feeling as though Bastien loves her and needing him as much as he needs to control her, she has to decide what she wants to do.

I found this story to be harrowing with uncomfortable parallels to our present day. It seems so unbelievable that Black girls have no autonomy in the novel and I just wanted freedom for Solenne and for her to escape Bastien and his tight control.

It’s written beautifully, with three different timelines and the chapters describing Henriette, which are based in the 1800s show how nothing has changed in all these years.

The prose is haunting and dream-like in parts, particularly when describing Henriette. This is in contrast to the urgency of the present-day Solenne ‘on the run’ as she races against being found by Bastien. 

The Blueprint is an incredibly powerful story that really made me think, angered me and kept me interested all the way through.

About the Author

Rae Giana Rashad holds an M.Ed in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Texas at Arlington. Born and raised in Texas with roots in Louisiana, her writing is infused with southern influences and Black history. She lives in the Dallas area with her husband and three children.

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