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All That We Carried – Erin Bartels

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Sisters Olivia and Melanie couldn’t be more different if they tried but growing up, they were as close as can be…until they weren’t.

Ever since their parents died in a car accident, Olivia and Melanie drifted far apart.

Ten years later, Melanie feels like she’s not only mourning the loss of her parents but also her sister.

Olivia drowned herself in work – spending every spare moment on furthering her career. And Melanie just felt like she was drowning – and no matter what she tried, she couldn’t save herself.

In a last-ditch effort to reconnect, Melanie convinces Olivia to go on a hiking trip in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan – just like they used to.

But once the two sisters get on the trail, old hurts and angers resurface. Will this trip reconnect them? Or just drive them further apart?

Whew. This was my first Erin Bartels book and I was rather impressed.

I loved the overall concept – two sisters needing each other but not knowing how to reach out. And the things that they carried (grudges, grief, etc) being what they needed to leave behind in order to make things whole between themselves.

I also feel like the author nailed the interactions between the sisters. For example, the way they would constantly try to help the other one but always manage to do the exact worse thing…it definitely gave me vibes of growing up with my sister.

The setting was really well done – I’ve been to the UP many times (not normally for a hike but often for a drive in public land) and I loved how reading this book made me feel like I was right there.

Now, as a heads up, this is a book with a religious leaning. There are some books that have religion play a very heavy-handed role and some that have more of a subtle undertone (this was the latter).

One of the sisters tries to believe in everything, one of them believes in nothing and by the end of the book they are both leaning towards a more religious outlook.

That being said, it didn’t feel too overt and was enjoyable for me to read.

Overall, I rather enjoyed this book!

With thanks to Revell for sending this one my way

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