Review ♥ The Empty Jar by M. Leighton

May 8, 2016 Angela Reviews

Review ♥ The Empty Jar by M. LeightonThe Empty Jar by M. Leighton
Published by Self-Published on May 8th 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 414
Format: ARC


Three months touring Europe.
Romantic. Dazzling. Unforgettable.
The trip of a lifetime.

But some lifetimes are shorter...

We couldn’t have known it would work out this way. No one could. No one could’ve guessed that something so beautiful could be so tragic.

But it is tragic.
Yet so, so beautiful.

That’s what sacrifice is—beauty and tragedy.
It’s pain and suffering for something or someone you love.

And this is the ultimate sacrifice.
One stunning act of true love.

This is our story.
Our true love story.


This book is not a romantic fairy tale. Yet, it’s the most romantic story I’ve ever told. It’s a journey of pain and loss, of hope and happiness. It’s both achingly tragic and exquisitely beautiful. It’s a love story. A true love story about real love. The kind that sees you through the night and holds you when you cry. The kind that won't give up and never lets go. The kind we all dream about and few find. But it’s real. I promise you, it’s real. I’ve seen this kind of love, and I've seen this kind of heartbreak. I got to see it up close and personal, and quite honestly, I will never be the same. I hope it changes you as much as it changed me.

I’m going to be honest with you. This is a difficult book to read, and it may not be for everyone. If you’re looking for escapism, this is not the book for you. The Empty Jar is raw, it’s real, it’s agonizing, and it’s absolutely beautiful.

Nate and Lena share a rare love of a lifetime. Theirs is a sacrificial love, nurtured for over a decade and a half by attention and faithfulness. They’ve dared to live life fully, always discerning and prioritizing the important things, and never taking each other for granted. Their foundation is so firm that when they come to a major crossroads, the challenges presented only deepen their commitment.


The Empty Jar teaser


This is one of the most honest romances I’ve read. It doesn’t have an ounce of fantasy. Lena and Nate are genuine characters—just an ordinary married couple in their 40s—who made me believe that love can truly grow stronger over time and remain just as passionate. Their love feels authentic and very tangible in the presence of amazing joy and in the face of true suffering. Yes, the exclamations of being each other’s soul, breath, other half, love of their life, etc., are repetitive, but ultimately I was left with a profound longing to feel a connection that sure, that deep, and that selfless.

Nate is amazingly giving, and I defy you to not fall in love with him. The strength that he and Lena exude is remarkable. I wouldn’t file this book in the Christian Romance section of a bookstore, but religion is featured prominently in the story as the characters grapple with questions of faith and the wisdom of hope. I found it to be especially touching.

I absolutely loved Nate and Lena’s trip through Europe, as well as Lena’s feisty best friend, Nissa. I only wish there were more moments of levity. The book vibrates with a poignancy that is so intense I had to stop reading occasionally and take a breather. It’s an unquestionably moving story, but the pervasive heartache became a burden to me at times. That, along with the slow pace of the detailed story, made the book feel on the long side. In retrospect though, I couldn’t give it anything less than five stars.

Leighton has made no secret that this book has a non-traditional HEA. Because of that, I was apprehensive about approaching the end. However, the ending was perhaps the most uplifting part of the story. I may have reached for my Kleenex at several points, but my heart felt incredibly light when I finished. There’s an author’s note included as a postscript, and it wasn’t until I read it that I absorbed the full impact of the story. Strangely enough, that’s what caused my tears to flow the heaviest, but in the most wonderful way.

The Empty Jar is astonishingly well written, awe-inspiring, and achingly gorgeous. Those who risk their heart to this authentic love story will be rewarded.

Recommended for fans of:
Tear jerkers
Mature romance


**ARC received in exchange for an honest review.**

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