Blog Tour Review & Giveaway: The Mason Jar by James Russell Lingerfelt

The Mason JarThe Mason Jar
by James Russell Lingerfelt
Christian Romance
Paperback266 Pages
September 9th 2011 by William and Keats Publishing


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.

My Review

The Mason Jar read very much like a memoir. I suppose that, for the most part, it was as the female protagonist reads the male protagonist's memoir and which the reader reads along with her and which is the bulk of the story. It definitely had that reminiscent or nostalgic feel to the way the story was written and much of it was told in past tense as stories and experiences are shared.

I have read very few memoirs before, so this isn't necessarily my type of story. The past tense and so many things being told instead of feeling them with the characters as they experience things kept me a little disconnected. Thus, I didn't feel the deep emotions of these characters as strongly as I would have liked. Having said that, I still enjoyed it. It was a beautiful story and one with little gems of knowledge contained within. I loved reading about Finn's work in Africa and with Microlending, which I am a huge believer in. I also loved how the inspirational moments mostly came from Finn's grandfather through letters or when Finn was looking for guidance and were shared in a very unassuming way.

Here are a few inspirational quotes from the book that I loved:
"I just listen, mostly. But I say forgiveness is a choice. That we're not in control of what happens to us, but we are in control of how we respond. I tell them life's too short to be bitter, that I'd rather spend it being happy, stuff like that."
(p. 41)  
Choosing to love someone can occur immediately. Choosing to love others, learning to love others, can take months or years. Love is action, not a feeling or something earned after years. It's something we choose to do. It's a decision. Self-sacrifice. Whether you even know the person or not. People love others when they've never even met them.
(p. 111)  
If I could say anything to my readers, I would say this: Falling in love was everything I imagined it would be... and everything I never expected. But I've learned that life is about more than romantic love. It's about love itself. When we act lovingly toward people, especially those we care about, we always find peace and enjoyment. The greatest love is that which loves and demands nothing in return. We love because we choose to. It is not based on circumstances or conditions. [Bold added.]
(p. 205)
Never apologize for loving someone, he heard in his grandpa's voice. At the end of the day, no matter what happens, forgiveness is a choice. It isn't deserved or earned. It's just given freely. That's what makes forgiveness hard. But that's what makes it beautiful.
(p. 235-36)
Again, The Mason Jar was a beautiful story. I would recommend it to readers who enjoy memoirs, sweet romances fraught with difficulties, and light inspiration.

Content: Clean

Source: I would like to thank the publisher, William and Keats Publishing, and Litfuse for my complimentary review copy, which did not affect my review in any way.

James Russell Lingerfelt
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


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.

Catch the spark by entering James' Kindle Fire giveaway!
One grand prize winner will receive:
  • 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.


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