Monday, October 13, 2014

The Mason Jar by James Russell Lingerfelt

Clayton Fincannon, “Finn,” 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 Finn attends college in Southern California, he meets and falls in love with a dark debutante named Eden. However, when an unmentioned past resurrects in her life and she leaves, Finn is left with unanswered questions.

He goes on to serve as a missionary in Africa, while he and his grandfather continue their tradition of writing letters. When Finn returns home five years later to care for his ailing his grandfather, he searches for answers pertaining to the loss of the young woman he once loved. Little does he know, the answers await him at a college reunion. This is a story about a girl who vanished, a former love who wrote a book about her, and a reunion they never imagined.

My review:
This is sort a story within a story. The novel opens with Eden being told by an old college roommate that Finn has written a novel about the love they had those few weeks years ago. We read the novel as she does, with a few breaks back to the actual present time with Eden.

The author writes with passion and in a somewhat poetic fashion. I was a little surprised at the passion, perhaps unusual for a male author. I was also surprised at the passionate intensity of their short time Eden and Finn were together. While nothing immoral was described, there was a great deal of intense physical passion, almost from the moment they met. I really got a bit tired of it.

Also, there were a few errors in the writing and that bugs me. Finn supposedly changes Eden's name in his novel, but that same name is used for her in and out of the novel. Also, at one point Finn looks across a pool and sees Eden with her roommates. In the next sentence he looks for Eden and finally sees her. Minor editing issues, I'm sure, but they still bother me.

There is not a strong Christian aspect to the novel. Also, the end is quick and abrupt. It just seemed too easy after all that buildup.

On the positive side, one does learn quite a bit about humanitarian activities in Africa. Finn spends years there and becomes involved in microlending. I did appreciate that informative part of the novel.

I'm not sure who would like reading this novel. It seems too passionate of a romance for male romance readers, if there are such beings. I felt the novel was too much about Finn and his pining away for it to be really appreciated by women. It is a boy meets girl, fall madly in love, separated for years mainly because of misunderstandings, and then, well, it is a romance, kind of novel. So if you like that style, you may want to try it.

I'm taking part in a blog tour of this book and you can read other reviews here.

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

William and Keats Publishing, 266 pages. You can buy the book here.

I received a complimentary digital copy of this book through the Litfuse Publicity Group for the purpose of an independent and honest review.

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