Title: The Mason List
Series: Stand Alone
Author: S. D. Hendrickson
Genre: New Adult, Romance
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
At the age of eight Alex and her father lost it all. Her mother died of cancer and they became practically homeless, living in his car and scrapping for food. That is until the Masons come along and give them everything they need. A home, clothing, food, a new car and even an education. To Alex it all feels like charity, she feels trapped in a place that’s not her own, with her life in the hands of this family. She becomes best friends with Jess, the Mason’s only son. They grow up together in his family’s ranch, Sprayberry. Alex begins to write a list of everything the Masons do for her and her dad, swearing that one day she would pay it all back and be free of them.
“I would pay them all back; I just didn’t know when or how, I just knew it would happen. Someday, I would repay every so-called miracle. I would not be a product of charity.”
This book was highly recommended by bloggers and most reviews are five stars. I decided after reading the synopsis and the sample that it sounded interesting. I love childhood friends turn to lovers stories, they melt my heart.
“I’ll always have your back and you’ll always have mine.”
“Always? That’s like forever. How do you know we will be friends forever?”
“I just do.”
I hate doing a bad review, I would never bash on someone’s work, that’s not my style. I respect everyone’s vision and talent, but I like to be honest. I felt this was a very strong, well written story and a great start for a debut author.
The story starts off strong and compelling, I was very much immersed into it until about halfway through when the heroine becomes almost intolerable in her constant hatred of what the Masons have done for her and her father. Her inability to let the past be the past quickly becomes tedious. In my eyes it made her an ungrateful, selfish person and the way she kept dragging Jess along after he confessed his feelings for her infuriated me, it honestly became too much and a bit unrealistic, mainly due to the time span.
”The debt I owed this family was so big. I couldn’t take the most precious thing from their lives. No matter what I felt, I would never take their son.”
I felt as though I watched these two best friends grow up, slowly turning into adolescents, to young adults, every facet of their life, as they grow up was very much detailed, struggle through struggle, huddle through huddle, yet when the time came to actually see them together after so many years, the story fell short. Long awaited intimacy scenes were reduced to blackouts, very unsatisfying. I believe after all the years of yearning and separation they deserved more than a few chapters together.
”It’s always been you, Alex. It’s what I’ve always wanted. We’ve got somethin’ that people look for their whole lives. We just found it at 8. Because of that, I can wait a little bit longer.”
“Sometimes I feel growin’ up together, there’s a little piece of you that grew inside of me. I couldn’t leave you if I tried.”
Jess in my eyes was a magnificent person, he made this story beautiful and quite honestly deserved a freaking medal and did not deserve the hand he was dealt. To me he was treated like a pawn, easily used whenever a moved needed to be made, my heart broke for him more than once. I don’t want to reveal any spoilers but the outcome of the climax was quite bittersweet and unnecessary in my opinion. The epilogue felt wanting and left me feeling nostalgic and unsatisfied with the conclusion.
I read books because I love the different world’s and adventures your mind takes, to me It feels magical. This book didn’t have that, it left a heavy uncomfortable feeling in my heart and I had to quickly grab one of my comfort reads to get rid of the ugly emotion.
Nevertheless it is a strong story that captivates you, but it’s not my type of story. It’s for a specific audience. S. D. Hendrickson is a talented author and i still think this a very powerful debut novel. The many five star reviews pay homage to that fact.
SD Hendrickson received a Bachelor’s of Science in Journalism from Oklahoma State University. Currently, her days are spent teaching computer software to oil and gas companies as well as writing technical instructional manuals. The Mason List is her first novel and it was started during National Novel Writing Month.
S.D. Hendrickson lives in Tulsa with her husband and their two schnauzers. She loves chocolate, romance books, Oklahoma State Cowboys, music, Lost, chocolate, beaches, coffee, cooking, beautiful sunsets, Friends, chocolate, sad puppy stories, dreaming of Australia, guacamole, quotes, Netflixs bing watching, Dawson’s Creek, chocolate, hot tubs, exotic animal rescues, going on vacation, Friday Night Lights, writing, and of course, chocolate.