Happy Monday everyone! Hope y’all had a great weekend and are ready for a new week! I’m kicking off the week reviewing James Russell Lingerfelt’s debut novel The Mason Jar, so let’s dive right in. 🙂
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, named Savannah. 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.
While this might not be the case for most, the part I enjoyed the most was reading Finn’s thoughts and about his work in Africa (which, most definitely stems from the author’s personal experiences of changing the world and travels). The idea of microlending and how that plays out for developing countries is a worthy topic to prompt discussion, so that made me happy. That idea could be a whole book in itself.
If you like Nicholas Sparks, then this story might be for you. Although, that is 100% based on my movie viewing experience of Sparks (all two of them). I’ve never read a Sparks books, so I don’t know how the writing styles compare, but it seems like a very Sparks-ish type plot. I have to confess, they usually aren’t my kind of story, but I try to mix things up.
I thought there would be more about Finn and his Grandpa’s relationship, maybe even the focus of the novel, but that didn’t come into play until a bit into the novel. While not necessarily a bad thing, it was just not what I expected. Unrequited love and young mistakes aren’t a new plot (some scenes I kept thinking Pride and Prejudice) and there were some characters I wasn’t too sure about and were a bit annoying, but if you enjoy Sparks-style contemporary romance, then you might want to give The Mason Jar a shot.
What are some debut novels you’ve discovered this year?
(Thank you Litfuse for the copy of the book in exchange for my honest review)
- A Kindle Fire
- The Mason Jar by James Russell Lingerfelt
Enter today by clicking the icon below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on October 19th. Winner will be announced October 20th at James Russell’s blog, Love Story from the Male Perspective.