Monday, January 4, 2021


~Post Includes:  Book Spotlight,
Author Bio & My Review~


The most treacherous terrain is found within . . .

Ten years ago, sisters Olivia and Melanie Greene were on a hiking trip when their parents were in a fatal car accident. They haven't seen each other since the funeral. Olivia coped with the loss by plunging herself into law school, work, and a materialist view of the world--what you see is what you get, and that's all you get. Melanie dropped out of college and developed an online life coaching business around her DIY spirituality--a little of this, a little of that, whatever makes you happy.

Now, at Melanie's insistence (and against Olivia's better judgment), they are embarking on a hike in the Porcupine Mountains of Michigan's Upper Peninsula. In this remote wilderness they'll face their deepest fears, question their most dearly held beliefs, and begin to see that perhaps the best way to move forward is the one way they had never considered.



"Bartels proves herself a master wordsmith and storyteller."--Library Journal, starred review

"This subdued tale of learning to forgive is Bartels's best yet."--Publishers Weekly

"A deeply personal, thoughtful exploration of dealing with pain and grief."--Life Is Story

"Taut and engaging."--Foreword


"Erin Bartels has a gift for creating unforgettable characters who are their own worst enemy, and yet there's always a glimmer of hope that makes you believe in them. The estranged sisters in All That We Carried are two of her best yet--young women battling their own demons and each other as they try to navigate beyond a shared painful past and find their way to a more hopeful future."

~ Valerie Fraser Luesse, Christy Award-winning novelist

"All That We Carried is so much more than just a beautiful novel--it's a literary adventure of both body and spirit, a meaningful parable, a journey of faith. Erin Bartels creates amazingly realistic characters in two sisters wrestling with their past and with one another. Not only did this story make me want to pull on my hiking boots for my own adventure, it propelled me to search out a deeper faith. Simply stunning. A novel not to be missed!"

~ Heidi Chiavaroli, award-winning author of Freedom's Ring and The Tea Chest


Erin Bartels is the award-winning author of We Hope for Better Things (2020 Michigan Notable Book, 2020 WFWA Star Award-winner, 2019 Christy Award finalist) and The Words Between Us (2020 Christy Award finalist, 2015 WFWA Rising Star Award finalist). Her short story, "This Elegant Ruin," was a finalist in the Saturday Evening Post Great American Fiction Contest in 2014, and her poetry has been published by The Lyric. A publishing professional for 18 years, she is the director of WFWA's annual writers retreat in Albuquerque, New Mexico. She lives in Michigan's capital city with her husband and their son. She hikes Michigan's backcountry trails with her sister. Find her online at


This is one of the most unusual stories I have read in the past year. Along with two other Baker Publishing Group novels from 2020, 'Softly Blows the Bugle' by Jan Drexler, and 'Burden of Proof' by Davis Bunn, 'All That We Carried' is a story I will not soon forget.

This powerful drama of reconciliation, forgiveness, and self-discovery documents a hike in the Porcupine Mountains of Michigan by the Greene sisters. The younger sister, Melanie, initiates the hike with her older sister, Olivia, whom she has not communicated with or seen in the ten years since a tragic accident took the lives of their parents. Surprisingly, Olivia agrees and sets off to plan the entire trip in her own relentless way.

The two sisters are pretty much polar opposites in temperament, perception of themselves and others, and outlook on life—glass half empty or glass half full. The dynamics of their interactions are tense, emotional, and filled with apprehension along with some angst.

The author's descriptive writing about the scenery they viewed along the trail was interesting to me as I love being in nature. If the setting is in the mountains, I love it even more. Therefore, I was fully engaged in that aspect of the story. Waterfalls, rivers, mountains, valleys, wildlife—lots of variety and high-interest elements were mentioned.

Since I have never been backpacking, I was fascinated by the day-to-day operations of how to pack the gear to get the most items in the least amount of space, how to take measures to ensure food and clothing does not get ruined by water (or bears), and what types of food were packed to avoid having to cook while on the trail.

The author is an excellent storyteller who has created a thoughtful and meaningful piece of work in 'All That We Carried'. This is a story that will remain in my mind and heart for a long time as I sort through the spiritual and faith lessons woven throughout the novel. I look forward to reading more stories by this talented author.

This book is completely clean in language and content.

Highly-recommended for fans of Christian/clean women's fiction, Christian/clean adventure fiction, and Christian/clean family sagas.

I received a paperback copy of this book from Baker Publishing Group through the Revell Reads blogger program. My opinions and comments are solely my own.




No comments:

Post a Comment


  ~ FRIDAY FICTION FEATURE ~   --  'THE EARL'S LADY GEOLOGIST'  -- AUTHOR ALISSA BAXTER ~Post Includes:  Book Spotlight + Excerp...