An epic love. An epic hate. An epic story that would last a lifetime.
Today, 8:15 p.m.
I hurt. I hurt so deeply, I felt the pain searing in my bones and jabbing like a hot poker into my heart. I knew nothing would make it better as the memories pulled from the crevices of my mind, detailing the bad and the ugly, filling my thoughts with regret as I slipped into the darkness. . .
When I was eight, my mother was dying of cancer, my father lost his job, and the bank kicked us out of our house. I was forced to move to the strange town of Arlis, Texas where my father and I slept in our car in the hospital parking lot. Desperate and hopeless, we lived on fumes of our former life.
Then one night, everything changed forever. A knock on the car window brought a family into my life that I only wanted to shut out. I hated charity and I hated the Masons. Well, except one. He made it impossible to hate him.
Jess Mason had the biggest blue eyes and ornery smile of any boy I had ever seen. He was a ray of sunshine in my dark world. A boy full of adventure, dragging me across the meadow of Sprayberry Ranch; a beautiful Texas paradise full of horses and tree houses that got us into more trouble than anyone ever imagined.
Jess was my everything as a kid until we grew up and the rules changed. Instead of living happily ever after with a boy full of love. . . I destroyed it.
– Alex Tanner
Author Note: The Mason List is a coming-of-age story that follows the life of Alex Tanner from the age of six to twenty-six. The novel crosses the genres of Young Adult and New Adult. The Mason List is a standalone, 118,940 word, full-length novel.
Rating 6 stars!
I’m really impressed by the quality of this debut novella. I’m sure it took a lot of work, rewriting and editing behind the scene. The writing is smooth, flowing and the mix of “before” and “present day” gives the story a sharp edge.
It would be too simplistic to reduce it to a childhood sweethearts love story. This is so much more. This book is poignant, enthralling, beautiful and thrilling. This is your ticket for a sleepless night. And the day after you’ll feel drunk and high on emotions (you’ll also have eyes like dead fish from the crying but it’s so worth it!).
It took me by surprise and I fell in love with Alex and Jess love story. I was overwhelmed by so many feelings, a kaleidoscope of emotions. What I felt was:
–Purity, innocence and sweetness : written in Alex’s memories of her life “before”. Before her mother’s sickness and in all the adventures shared with her best friend, Jess. It was childhood and friendship’s poetry. I saw it in the gift of a small ginger kitten (Carrot), in their star game, in all the skittles and each time Jess dared Alex to follow him in his mischief.
–Loyalty: Jess will always have Alex’s back and vice versa. Be it in a fire, in a car crash or horse accident and even on devastating and degrading drunken nights. Through and through they swore to always be in each other life. Forever and always.
–Burning anger and rage: Alex was so angry. She raged against fate and the Masons. Her mother loss was unfair, her poverty was not fair either. She needed a parent but had to be strong for her broken father. She had so much and hated the Mason’s charity. All this anger and resentment was like a dead weight, suffocating her.
–Despair, sadness and pain: pain at Alex’s loss, for each ordeal she encountered. I cried so much for the little girl and for the big girl when she was so lost she hurt the most beautiful thing in her life. I wept each time Jess was hurt as Alex ignored his feelings.
–Love: for Alex, the poor lost girl and for Jess, the loyal beautiful boy. It leaked through every page and nook of this book. A true, devastating love when denied.
–Intrigue: I was full of questions. What happened in “present day”? Why was Alex in hospital? Who was hurt or dead? What dramatic events just unfold? Who is the beauty queen, a mistress, a rival or a friend? Will I have “my” very awaited HEA?
–Awe: when all this story unfurled its beautiful wings and took me on an exceptional journey.
My favorite quote of the book:
” Sometimes we don’t have concrete facts and answers. Sometimes all we have is faith and hope and you just have to trust it.”
So now I’m awestruck. And I know this is one of these stories that will linger in my mind for a long time. I’ll recall all these words and sentences with great fondness with the same feeling I would have for an old friend.
So, a big thank you to you Mrs Hendrickson for this incredible journey. And a special mention for my dear Goodreads friend who recommended this wonderful story (she’ll recognize herself). Yes, you were right, I LOVED it.
And now I want to shout to all of you, yes you, reading this review: read this book! And I’ll be happy to discuss it with you if you’re interested.
Convinced? Grab your copy HERE