The Mason Jar

The Mason Jar

The Mason Jar 

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.

Find out more and purchase a copy at James’ website.


  • The Mason Jar feels like a story that has very old connotations to it but yet it’s setting is modern day. The author give this story many unique twists you don’t see very often.

  • I really enjoyed reading “The Mason Jar” by James Russell Lingerfelt. As I was reading, I was able to picture everything. It was like I was watching a movie. Once I started reading, I just couldn’t put it down. The author was able to keep my attention throughout the whole book.

  • I just finished reading The Mason Jar. It is a wonderful story of love, family and faith. The love between a boy and his Grandfather is heartwarming. The stories about life would make you tear up at times and then smile at others. I like the storyline and the characters –

  • Instead of fiction, this book reads more like a memoir, which in some ways, it is. A lot of the book is told in the format of Eden reading the book that Finn had wrote about his time with her and his time after her. It’s Finn’s vulnerability and openness that really drew me into this book and then it was his storytelling combined with his grandfather’s wisdom that held me until the last word on the last page. While this book may not end up in my top 5 for the year (after all, I’ve lost count of how many books I have read), this is one that I wholeheartedly suggest that you find a copy, curl up with a mug of your favorite drink and lose yourself in its pages.

  • This was an enjoyable book to read. I like the detail the author put into it, which made you feel as if you were a part of the book. It was fun reading the advice from Finn’s grandpa and is advice we could all use at times. In fact there are a lot of lessons throughout this book that we can learn from. This was a nice romantic book without being mushy. Another thing unique about this book is that it is told from a mans point of view. I recommend this book to everyone.

  • The Mason Jar by James Russell Lingerfelt was a sweet book. This is a book that I wasn’t sure how I was going to like it but I have to say it was a sweet story.

  • The IE Mommy says:

    This was an easy read, simple and sweet and beautiful. The Mason Jar will make you feel joy and hope and make you want to get out a pen and paper and write a letter to someone you love.

  • The Mason Jar read very much like a memoir. 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.

    I would recommend it to readers who enjoy memoirs, sweet romances fraught with difficulties, and light inspiration.

  • …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. …

  • The Mason Jar is James Russell Lingerfelt’s debut book and it is a fantastic debut. I have learned that I have a heart for debut authors and their books. I love reading these first books and finding new authors to read from their start. When I read the book description and that it was a debut book I knew I had to request it and I am so glad I did. The Mason Jar is like a book within a book.

  • Lingerfelt wraps the reader into the story and makes them feel intimately involved with each and every character. The story reads like a memoir and lends a strong masculine voice to a touching romance. Family and traditional values form a solid background for an enjoyable story line. This is an engaging and touching story with delightful and unexpected twists.

  • I loved the premise of the story, with the exchanging of the letters and the closeness between Finn and his grandfather. And how the grandfather uses his letters to encourage Finn, and share his faith with him.

  • 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.

  • “The Mason Jar” is a sweet love story that will tug at your heart strings. It is written more like a memoir, which I enjoyed very much! The story is written in kind of an old-fashioned type of way, which was refreshing from most books I have read lately!

  • Happy Four says:

    This book reads like a true story and I found myself going back to the inside cover on more than one occasion to secure it was a work of fiction. This is a well written book about two students who fall in love and their relationship ends abruptly. They come together after Clayton pens a book about his relationship with the female (Eden) and she reads the book. We are privy to what happens during their ten years apart which adds a great deal to the story.

  • There is some great advice I love that Finn’s grandfather dispenses in his letters to Finn, my favorite being, “Remember we become what our minds dwell on. It’s proven in cognitive psychology that if we dwell on negative thoughts, we become negative people. ‘A man reaps what he sows.” If we live in the past, in a world that we cannot change, we only grow estranged from the present. We stop growing and decay.” I plan on keeping this one for the advice!

  • Best Reads says:

    I did love the whole concept of the mason jar letters. Clayton’s grandfather is by far my favourite character and their rich relationship is a definite strength in the story.

  • Touching stories that grip the heart and take us through so many emtions. I loved reading each part of this book.
    Its so wonderful to read a mans view of things and see things from a different perspective on life. I was kept desiring to know more with each part of this book and if you love stories that are real and will keep you reading, this is your book !
    Grab a cup of tea and sit down to share in the lives of the folks you meet in Jame’s book The Mason Jar.

  • The Mason Jar is indeed a Nicholas Spark’s style novel.
    It has a fast moving Love-at-First-Sight romance between two graduate students who both have big hearts and world-changing dreams.
    It has a wise, gentle Grandfather who prays, works, and speaks blessing into his Grandson’s life.
    It has an aching separation, a romance ended prematurely that haunts the would-be lovers for years.
    It has twists and turns worthy of a Hallmark film. (My Grammy would have loved this story brought to the screen!)

    For me, this was mostly a story of two twenty-somethings wrestling with their roles in a troubled world. Finn and Eden were both striving to turn their youthful energy into something useful and lasting. In both cases, they turned to humanitarian work.

  • I am an avid Nicholas Sparks fan and felt this book ranked right up there. The story and characters grabbed me from the first words. I loved the relationship with Clayton and his grandfather. I was touched by relationship between Eden and Clayton….then and now. I could not put this book down from the moment I picked it up. I found myself running the gauntlet of emotions. There were moments when I wanted to cry for the main characters and other moments when I wanted to wring their necks. This is an inspiring must read.

  • The Mason Jar was a very enjoyable book. It was such a good love story. I loved how Clayton and his grandfather exchanged letters in the Mason Jar and the advice that Clayton received through the process. I also love the story that even after 10 years Clayton still was in love with Eden and wanted to know what happened to her. It was a great love story.

  • The aspect that I liked most about The Mason Jar was the relationship between Finn and his grandfather. His grandpa was a very wise man, and I enjoyed reading the letters he left for Finn in the Mason jar. Grandpa is really a small portion of the story (though his advice continually influences Finn), and I wish he and the Mason jar had been a larger focus.

  • The style of the book is different than others that I have read in that the story starts in the present day and the back story is told through a book. Finn and Eden met at a college in Southern California. Though they only spent a little time together, the impact on Finn was large. So much so that years later, he wrote a book that focused on their time together and her impact after she left. Her college roommate made her aware of the book and once she had the book, she read it straight through.

    There were times where the heavy conversation of the book made it a little challenging to read, but I enjoyed reading the love story told through the man’s point of view (and by a male author). In the context of the book in the book, we learned a lot about Finn and his perspective on the relationship. I enjoyed reading the perspective that Finn’s grandfather was able to provide to him as a mentor, through the letters that they exchanged.

    It was nice that at the end of the story, at Homecoming, when they saw each other for the first time since she had left, that we learned more about her and why she left all of those years ago.

    If you are looking for a different love story, this is a good book to check out.

  • MY GENERAL THOUGHTS: I held high hopes for The Mason Jar because I really looked forward to reading about the boy and his grandfather’s relationship with the letters. But I was disappointed that Clayton only spoke about his grandfather in past tense and only little snippets at that. The writing was beautiful for The Mason Jar and it was very easy to follow, however, I found that it lacked in plot for my typical read. After reading some other reviews, I found that James is actually looking to turn this book into a movie, which would be fantastic as this story would be better as a Hallmark film.

  • Slow It Down says:

    The Mason Jar really struck a chord with me. I had just left Zambia and was in transit back to the States via London so the worlds of NGO’s and Africa were fresh on my mind. Lingerfelt’s writing style is eloquent and detailed as he crafts the story of Eden and Finn. Being jostled about on the tube in London I was easily transported to the beaches of California, the Tennessee countryside, and the African continent. I could hear the sweet, southern drawl of Grandpa as the letters are exchanged and feel the excitement of college and life on the horizon through the dialogue of the students.
    The Mason Jar is a sweet story of young love learning to transcend time and circumstance. It’s a fun quick read but at the same time raises questions as to how we can serve those around us.

  • I found this book highly appealing in that it is a love story told by a man’s point of view. I also like the idea of his grandfather leaving notes with advice in mason jars for Clayton. The author was so expressive that I found my mouth watering when he described the lasagna the couple was eating at a restaurant. This is an easy read book that you want to kick back and enjoy with a good cup of tea.

  • The Mason Jar is a story about a young man and his love for his Grandfather and how much he respects his advice and trusts him. It is a story of forgiveness, and finding true love that lasts forever. It will make you cry at times and make you smile at others. It is the kind of story that you will think about for a lot time after you read it. I give this book a 5/5. I was given this book by Litfuse Publicity Group and all opinions are my own.

  • The Mason Jar by James Russel Lingerfelt is a heart-wrenching tale of new love being lost through unexplainable circumstances. It pops the question, “Can you lose the One?”, and if so what happens when you think you have and what happens when you find out you haven’t? Continue with me in my review as I explore my thoughts and shockingly similar experiences I had with the main character while reading The Mason Jar.

  • A great love story, between two people that just happen to fall in love with each other and a grandfather and grandson sharing a story of how they loved each other in a very special way. I couldn’t put this book down, you just want to keep reading because it keeps your interest of what is going to happen? This story is all about forgiveness and love is the most important thing for happiness.

    I would recommend this to women who enjoy a great love story with a fulfilling meaning throughout the whole book. This would be a great gift to give for someone that wants a great afternoon read.

    Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through Litfuse. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing t

  • I believe this book will become a classic. It’s written so well, so beautifully, it will grab your heart and mind and won’t let go even when you’re done with the last page. I highly recommend this book!

  • This was an unusual book to read~ it is written from a man’s perspective. I had a hard time getting into his style but in the end enjoyed the story.

  • I finished this book last night and I cried. It was a well written, emotional, heart felt story about a boy and girl in love, and the relationship between that same boy and his grandfather.

    The story line was easy to follow even though it jumped back and forth a couple times from present day to the past. The book followed both Clayton and Eden’s life up to the present day. “Clean” book about love, hope and forgiveness.

  • Moments says:

    I really enjoyed “The Mason Jar!” I was so intrigued by the blurb on the back cover and also the picture on the front cover. The story sounded so intriguing and so romantic and I was not disappointed at all with the story, except for when it ended. I am hoping for more novels from this author! Eden and Finn were both characters whom I could not help but love and I was completely drawn into their story and into their lives.

  • Veronica's 'Views says:

    I really liked Clayton’s wise grandfather and the letters he left for him with wonderful advice. There was talk of God, but it didn’t seem like a Christian story, with Eden remembering losing her virginity to her boyfriend without regret and seeing her and Clayton spending a lot of alone time with each other, sometimes overnight, which was a huge temptation and certainly not avoiding the appearance of evil. I did like the hopeful feel to it even though there were some sad things dealt with.

  • This is a passion filled novel, a surprise for me with a male author. The writing is somewhat poetic and reads well. The fairy tale ending was rather abrupt but this is a romance. There is no real Christian content although I did appreciate the information about humanitarian work in Africa, including microlending. There were a few editing errors, minor, but ones that reduced the reading pleasure.

  • A sweet love story told through the eyes of a male who fell fast and hard for another college student and she leaves him with just a note and no communication for years. This book is his recount of their story and a hope that maybe if she reads it she will remember their love and maybe they will find their ways back to themselves.

    I loved the switch between Clayton’s book The Mason Jar and then the moments from Eden’s point of view, it was great to see the story from both sides and be “in the know.” I don’t read many books from the male perspective, so that was a big selling point for this book for me. I enjoy reading how a man is affected by a woman’s decision and the life choices he makes because of the relationship ended abruptly.

  • In the beginning, I was charmed by Clayton’s early years and relationship with his grandfather. I would’ve loved a story based solely on their experiences. Grandpa’s letters were heartfelt life lessons. For example, “Sometimes the greatest love we can show someone is to just let them be.” Beautiful and so true.

  • A Rup Life says:

    The Mason Jar by James Russell Lingerfelt blew me away!

  • Lois Jones says:

    I think you will be surprised by the fact that this book filled with romance was written by a man. I was not expecting what I read at all, and it was a pleasant surprise. It’s really interesting to hear a love story from a man’s point of view. His style of writing is one I struggle with a bit, but as you get into the book it gets easier and you get used to it. James is a very descriptive writer and it is easy to see in your mind what he is describing, in fact at one point you can almost smell the lasagna!

  • I LOVED this book! It started off a little slow but within the first chapter, you are hooked. I seriously could not put this down. What would you do if you got a phone call that your old college flame, the one true love of your life, wrote a book about his life and you? I have to be honest, I thought things were going to get cruel but it was just so sweet. It was so beautifully written. James Russell Lingerfelt’s writing is sucks you in. I cried when they finally met up in the end. I highly recommend this book if you are looking for something different to read. This isn’t your traditional romance story in the slightest!

  • snidbits says:

    I wanted to read this book for several reasons. I have a current obsession with Mason jars, I’m a Southern girl myself and understand the draw of another country. I liked the story within a story, wondering how Finn would react when he saw Eden again and if they would have another chance to be together. I think I liked the story so much because of being able to identify with Finn in so many different ways. I also liked Eden. I loved her excitement for life and I mentally sighed when she gave Finn the painting she had made. Oh goodness.

  • I thought the writing was top-notch as far as the use of language went but really thought that Clayton pined far too long and far too much over a short relationship with a woman who was obviously holding something back from him at the time.

  • I didn’t know exactly what to expect when I got The Mason Jar by James Russell Lingerfelt. I ended up with a creative love story that drew me in and held my attention. I think I am a sucker for this particular writing style.

  • Cassandra’s Review- This is a powerful read that will hold your heart and fill your soul. I would highly recommend to adults that need a little inspiration and love in their lives.

  • This ended up being a nice read for me. I really liked it in the beginning, but then it kinda slowed down – like I was waiting for something to happen. Around the middle of the book it did start picking back up and I ended up liking it. So it redeemed itself!

  • I don’t think any of us forget our first love. There is just something about that first strong, serious, romantic relationship that grabs ours hearts and always has a place there. . A part of me wishes Eden would have told Finn exactly why she had to leave, but I can also understand why she did what she did. I liked the idea of having a novel within the novel, that was definitely interesting. It gave us the opportunity to discover what Finn had been up to and what he had been feeling through Eden’s eyes. Besides the great storyline between Eden and Finn, I absolutely adore that this book is about overseas missions and microlending. These are things that maybe the average person doesn’t know a great deal about, so hopefully this book will open some new doors for some of it’s readers.

  • I really enjoyed reading this uplifting book and finished in one sitting. A sweet story.

  • Mommy Makes Time says:

    I enjoyed this story more than I expected. I think that anyone that has had their hear broken or lost a love will enjoy this story. I found that although it was slow at times, this story was inspirational and full of hope. I loved the conclusion of this story and found it to be a perfect ending for this story.

  • While I enjoyed The Mason Jar, I have to say I definitely don’t feel it was up to the “Nicholas Sparks” level. The depth of this love story wasn’t even close to those in Sparks’ books. The ending was different than most romance novels, so, if you are looking for a storybook happy ending this is probably not for you!

    I give The Mason Jar a 4 ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥’s rating! Thank you LitFuse for allowing me this complimentary book in exchange for my honest review!

  • Overall, I thought this was a cute read.

  • A fantastic story of love and heartbreak. Real emotions and real pain are displayed for us all to see, feel and learn from. The relationship between Grandfather and Grandson was just wonderful to see! A definite must read.

  • The most beautiful novel that I have ever had the privilege to read. Be captivated by sunsets. Be calmed and find peace by wise words. Be overcome by the love shining out from the book.

  • The Mason Jar becomes a symbol for the constants in our lives. An appreciation for our roots, the people who support us, and for true love that never really goes away.

  • Going into the Mason Jar, I wasn’t sure whether or not I was going to like it. At the very beginning, it felt like the book was going to be the type that goes kind of slow, it started out that way. In fact, if it hadn’t been for the characters themselves enchanting me, I might have put the book down. I’m glad I didn’t.
    This book doesn’t take too much longer to really take off and pull me right in. The author has this sort of storytelling type quality to his writing that puts you at ease and makes you really just want to sit and enjoy the book. In this way to me it’s more like a memoir than a fictional book. The detail put into this book is outstanding, and the story itself is phenomenal. I cannot wait to read more from this author!

  • Book by Book says:

    When I first picked up The Mason Jar by James Russell Lingerfelt, I felt the premise held promise and looked forward to a captivating romance. And conceptually, with the forgiveness, second chance at young love and Mason jar letters, The Mason Jar remained an intriguing and interesting novel page after page.

  • Overall, I enjoyed this book. Great read, had me from the first page to the last.

  • It was pretty interesting to read this type of book filtered through a guy’s eyes. The writing was good, solid and detailed. The characters were easy to get to know and developed well. I love the whole concept of the mason jar letters back and forth from his grandfather.

  • This is a love story between Clayton and Eden that begins, ends abruptly and then has the chance to begin again based on what is in the Mason Jar. These are interesting characters and we are drawn into their world and invest ourselves in their romance rooting for them all the way. If we cannot have the movie it is good to have the book.

  • My Review – Great book for anyone who has ever missed someone. Separation is so hard. There is redemption. God will restore the years that the locusts have taken away. Have faith and believe. I really love this book!

  • This was such a sweet and one of a kind love stories with twists I hoped for and did not expect. Their young love ended under disputable reasons, leaving the one wondering why the estrangement. I love the story behind the mason jar between the grandson and grandfather especially. The plot is unique and different..yet the characters are realistic and relateable.
    It was sad when the grandson leaves for an honorable trip and comes back to bury his grandfather. But during this time the grandson searches for the answers for why Savannah left. In the end, all the answers he needs are in the famous mason jar.

    I highly recommend this book. It was a delightful read that I think would make for a great movie.

  • I have not read a novel like The Mason Jar in a very long time. It is so powerful, eloquent, poetic and the vivid descriptions allowed me to feel like I was right within the story itself. I fell in love with the book from page one. I adored the relationship between Finn and his grandfather, and it was beautiful to watch it develop. It was an emotional read, but I am very glad I read it. It flowed nicely and I thoroughly enjoyed the plot lines that existed. A captivating read that will draw you in quickly and give you a feeling of completion when you finish reading it.

  • Cotton Candy feel of a Nicolas Sparks Novel when I like the bite of a Candy Apple Better. Concept was good.

  • I have to say it was really difficult for me to get into the book at first, and then I started to enjoy it more. It was nice reading a romance with a man’s point of view too. This is A story about a girl who vanished, a former love who wrote a book about her, and a reunion they never imagined.

  • The Mason Jar written by James Russell Lingerfelt is a coming of age love story that will stay with me for a very long time. The author’s writing style drew me in right away. I finished reading the book in one day.

    The story read like a long beautiful poem with vivid descriptions that made me feel like I was there in person.

  • I had never heard of James Lingerfelt before receiving this book to review, but I sure hope he has plans to write more books. The Mason Jar was fantastic. It’s been a while since I’ve read a book that grabbed me like this one did. This is a love story told from the man’s point of view. I loved Clayton’s heart throughout the entire book. It never got too sappy or depressing, but it held my attention and begged me to read one more page. I was anxious to see what would happen when/if Clayton was reunited with Eden, his lost love. The stories within the main story were easy to track, and I never felt confused about who was speaking or what “story” I was reading now. The ending wrapped up the book beautifully. I highly recommend this book!

  • I found The Mason Jar to be one of those books, I’d read awhile, then need to set it aside to absorb some of what I’d just read. I believe it is definitely a book that any man who enjoys reading would appreciate. Unfortunately most of the men in my life do not enjoy reading!

    Perhaps in a couple years or so, I’ll share this with my young-teen son (one of the only men in my life who does enjoy reading!).

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