ARC Review: The Empty Jar by M. Leighton

THE EMPTY JAR IS LIVE! And what better way to celebrate Mother’s Day than with a book like this, a poignant tale about the power of love. This is what readers are saying about the new story from M. Leighton:

“The ultimate love story.”

“It is a masterpiece.”

“Heartbreaking. Hopeful. Brilliant.”

“Hands down the best book I have ever read.”

“If I could only tell you to read one book this year, it would be this book.”

“After today, life as I know it will be ‘AEJ’, after The Empty Jar. I will not be the same.”



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.


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.

teaserempty jar

review4/5 Stars

***I received this ARC as a gift in exchange for an honest review via the author 


I honestly don’t even know where to begin, I’m still reeling from this story and I don’t think I’ll ever fully recover. 

The Empty Jar is an incredibly moving story of the most profound kind of love, one that transcends life and radiates from Heaven. The kind that carries on through generations on happy memories and heart-warming traditions. The Empty Jar will move you. Not only to tears, so have your tissues ready, but with force you to open your eyes and hold on to the love around you, love that is so often taken for granted in this busy, hungry world. 

Nothing in this life, or the next, eclipses a mother’s love. There’s not a single sacrifice or burden too powerful to crush the strength of these women. So much love and affection can fit inside a mother’s heart that it is all at once astounding and magical-the Mary Poppin’s bag of wonder that keeps pulling out more and more to give to their children. 

From the first few pages, the emotions are beautifully raw and aching with mourning, but also a love so pronounced that it is impossible not to swoon and crave the same. This story is filled with bittersweet moments of memory and life, one so Mason jar full that not matter how short the duration, every single second is worth the agony. Some scenes are hard, so so hard to read through. The cruel reality that is cancer is on full display and it is brutally honest. There are many scenes that will stun and startle you, things that you’d never in a million things think about, but when they happen, your heart will feel it sharply, painfully. One of these for me in this heartbreaking scene near the end where Lena looks in the mirror. Oh my, I’m weeping just thinking about it. What stunning and brilliant writing. 

Faith. Lena, who has known the biting reality of cancer and the loss and suffering that comes with it, lost her faith a long time ago. When God tested her, she felt as though nothing would ever make her whole again and her world was falling apart. Sometimes it’s hard, beyond difficult to keep faith when you experience so much pain, so much tragedy. Throughout the story, Lena has a complex relationship with God. She has given up hope because she doesn’t have reason to have it, or so she thinks. As Lena grapples with her choices, it is rekindled faith, found in one of the most holy of places, that gives her the foundation needed to carry on. THIS is something that so many can not only identify, but will help those who too are feeling lost and alone, when everything else isn’t enough.

Lena and Nate are soul mates. There is absolutely no doubt. The alternating POVs read like a love letter between the two. The way they both try to have courage, to be strong for each other, to not let the other see how badly they’re hurting when the impending loss is enough to break them and tear out their hearts. Every time Nate looks at Lena, it’s like falling in love all over again. Each day he grows more in love and there’s nothing that can beat that, even death. The love they feel for each other is almost divine, something that is both Kismet and ordained. The glow flows off the pages and will cushion your heart in a cocoon of warmth and happiness. 

Take my advice: read the notes, read the acknowledgments. Every piece of this story is heart-felt and an open letter to her readers. Together, it adds a more personal note to the story, one that makes it even more incredible. 

authNew York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author, M. Leighton, is a native of Ohio. She relocated to the warmer climates of the South, where she can be near the water all summer and miss the snow all winter. Possessed of an overactive imagination from early in her childhood, Michelle finally found an acceptable outlet for her fantastical visions: literary fiction. Having written over a dozen novels, these days Michelle enjoys letting her mind wander to more romantic settings with sexy Southern guys, much like the one she married and the ones you’ll find in her latest books. When her thoughts aren’t roaming in that direction, she’ll be riding wild horses, skiing the slopes of Aspen or scuba diving with a hot rock star, all without leaving the cozy comfort of her office.

About Michelle: I love coffee and chocolate, even more so when they are combined. I’m convinced that one day they could be the basis for world peace. I also love the color red and am seriously considering dying my hair.


Read on,