All That We Carried By Erin Bartels

Olivia and Melanie have been alienated from one another for 10 years, ever since the tragic death of their parents.  Melanie suggests they go on a hike, something they did as children.  Olivia hesitantly agrees.  This was some hike, it was a weeklong!  I just thought I had been hiking. I see now it was just long walks in the woods!  Melanie had hoped to renew their broken relationship.

The interaction, and communication (or lack of it) between the two sisters was so real! Olivia is controlling, bossy, and OCD planning.  Melanie is impulsive and light hearted, totally opposite of her older sister.  Their differences were even greater than that and are tested on this trip. The destination was the Porcupine Mountains in Michigan.  The trails they would take are remote and rugged.  Can you imagine going on a venture like this with a family member you have not seen in a decade!? 

The time and the unresolved grief had created many issues in their lives they did not even recognize they had.  As you can imagine away from civilization with just the two of them, each was faced with deep introspection of their life, beliefs, values, and things they had buried deep within themselves years ago.  I felt the frustration they experienced with each other.  The struggle wasn’t just physical as it would be with such a grueling journey, it was also emotional.  There were unexpected surprises and drama along the way.  I enjoyed the description of the scenery, it was fantastic!  It made me want to go look for pictures on the internet.

I saw a great lesson in how we cannot run from our painful experiences and not gave them affect our future in ways we never imagined.   A beautiful story of unresolved grief, forgiveness, and fresh starts. 

I received this book from Revell Publishers in exchange for an honest review.  The opinions I have stated are my own.