cover image All That We Carried

All That We Carried

Erin Bartels. Revell, $16.99 trade paper (368p) ISBN 978-0-8007-3836-5

Bartels (The Words Between Us) introduces estranged sisters Olivia and Melanie in this touching story set in rural Michigan. A decade ago, the sisters were hiking when their parents were killed in a car accident, and Olivia was further devastated to learn Justin, her best friend since grade school, was driving the car that hit her parents. While Olivia refused to forgive Justin, Melanie and Justin found peace and comfort in each other, and their bond deepened as Olivia’s anger and bitterness grew. In hopes of mending things with her sister, Melanie convinces Olivia to go on a hike together, just like they did on that fateful day. However, as they pick through their vastly different world views while hiking, the rift between them only grows: Olivia believes in nothing spiritual and rejects God or any higher power, while Melanie takes what suits her from many different belief systems. Just as emotions are running high and they fear they’ve gotten lost, they meet Josh, a fisherman who tries to get the sisters back on track in more ways than one. Bartels leaves subtle clues alluding to the possibility Josh may not be just an average fisherman. This subdued tale of learning to forgive is Bartels’s best yet. (Jan.)