The Mason Jar (book review)

James Russell Lingerfelt's debut novel, The Mason Jar, is hot-off-the-press and causing quite the buzz. It's even been optioned for a feature film and is in pre-production.  This book tour has been organized by Litfuse.

About the book:

What if your old college roommate called, raving about a book someone sent her, calling it the most beautiful book she’s ever read? “But,” she said, “it’s about you.” The author is your college ex.

In The Mason Jar, Clayton Fincannon is a Tennessee farm boy raised at the feet of his grandfather. He and his grandfather leave letters for each other in a Mason jar on his grandfather’s desk—letters of counsel and affirmation. When Clayton attends college in Southern California, he meets and falls in love with a dark debutante from Colorado. However, when an unmentioned past resurrects in her life and she leaves, Clayton is left with unanswered questions.

Clayton goes on to serve as a missionary in Africa, while he and his grandfather continue their tradition of writing letters. When Clayton returns home five years later to bury his grandfather, he searches for answers pertaining to the loss of the young woman he once loved. Little does Clayton know, the answers await him in the broken Mason jar.

A story about a girl who vanished, a former love who wrote a book about her, and a reunion they never imagined.

Written for the bruised and broken, The Mason Jar is an inspirational romance that brings hope to people who have experienced disappointment in life due to separation from loved ones. With a redemptive ending that encourages us to love again and written in the fresh, romantic tones of Nicholas Sparks, The Mason Jar interweaves the imagery of Thoreau with the adventures and climatic family struggles common to Dances with Wolves, A River Runs Through It, and Legends of the Fall.

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My review:

I really loved the idea of this story.  What a romantic notion... finding out that your old college boyfriend has written a novel about the time he spent with you.  I have to say while reading this book wondering how I would feel if I ever found out my ex-boyfriend wrote a book about our college years.  What memories would he share?  Would he look on those years fondly?  Would I want to read it?

I found the way the book was written interesting.  Eden finds out about the book from her old roommate.  She downloads it on her kindle and starts reading.  I love that there are flashbacks of sorts through the novel reading.  There is present day with everyone heading to homecoming.  There are points of view told both from Eden and from Finn.  You get a really full story.

I have to say after reading the book I was left a little disappointed.  It was such a grand romantic idea in my head.  I think I found that there was a lot of build up and that the climax kind of fizzled.  Not that I was upset with finding out what had actually happened to Eden... but I felt like you found out and it was over.  I want more of the "what now?"  I think, perhaps, there was too much focus on the micro-lending in Africa.  While it was all interesting (and I've actually participated in donating to a micro-lending program)... for me it distracted from the story and the letter writing.

Speaking of letter writing...  I wish we got to read more of the mason jar letters... and I truly wish I'd gotten a look at the letters sent from Africa.

About the author:

James Russell Lingerfelt is the author of The Mason Jar and writes articles for The Huffington Post. James connects with readers at his blog, Love Story from the Male Perspective, and divides his time between Southern California and his family's ranch in Alabama.

Find James online: website, Facebook, Twitter