Book Review

All That We Carried by Erin Bartels

This is the first book I’ve read of Erin Bartels, so I went into it not knowing what to expect.

“This subdued tale of learning to forgive is Bartels’s best yet.”–Publishers Weekly

Here’s my review:



I finished reading All That We Carried a few days ago and have been trying to figure out how to review this book. First, I want to know more about a certain character….but if I tell you more it will be a major spoiler. I’m guessing that when you turn the last page, you’ll be wondering the same thing. Then, the cover is perfect for this story. It shows the setting in an abstract sort of way and in many ways this story is quite symbolic. Olivia and Melanie hike through life with very different perspectives which are challenged by each twist and turn of their hike as well as their life journey. The title is perfect. Its meaning becomes clearer as you read on.

While this book’s pace was slower than I am normally used to, I still enjoyed the discoveries each page brought about these characters and their challenges as more of their shared history comes to light. I totally want to go hiking in the mountains now, even though I grumble at uphills.

This book is thought-provoking and engaging and challenges the boundaries of forgiveness.

Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. My opinion is my own.


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Ten years ago, sisters Olivia and Melanie Greene were on a backcountry hiking trip when their parents were in a fatal car accident. Over the years, they grew apart, each coping with the loss in her own way. Olivia plunged 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 cafeteria-style 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.

Michigan Notable Book Award winner Erin Bartels draws from personal experience hiking backcountry trails with her sister to bring you a story about the complexities of grief, faith, and sisterhood.



ERIN BARTELS is the award-winning author of We Hope for Better Things–a 2020 Michigan Notable Book, winner of the 2020 Star Award from the Women’s Fiction Writers Association in both the debut and general fiction categories, and a 2019 Christy Award finalist–The Words between Us–a 2020 Christy Award finalist–and All That We Carried (coming January 2021). Her short story “This Elegant Ruin” was a finalist in The Saturday Evening Post 2014 Great American Fiction Contest. Her poems have been published by The Lyric and The East Lansing Poetry Attack. A member of the Capital City Writers Association and the Women’s Fiction Writers Association, she is former features editor of WFWA’s Write On! magazine and current director of the annual WFWA Writers Retreat in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

She lives in Michigan, where she is never more than six miles away from a body of water. She grew up in the Bay City area waiting for freighters and sailboats at drawbridges and spent her college and young married years in Grand Rapids. She currently lives with her husband and son in Lansing, nestled somewhere between angry protesters on the Capitol lawn and couch-burning frat boys at Michigan State University. And yet, she claims it is really quite peaceful.

You can find her on Facebook @ErinBartelsAuthor, Twitter @ErinLBartels, and Instagram @erinbartelswrites.



Melony Teague writes contemporary romance with a dash of humor, she loves to inspire and motivate others through her written words, and she believes everyone has a story to tell. Melony is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and The Word Guild. She is the co-author of As the Ink Flows, a devotional for authors. Her fiction debut, A Promise to Keep released, Jan 21, 2020. Melony was born in South Africa and now lives in Toronto with her handsome husband, their two teenagers, and does the bidding of her two adorable cats.

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“A delightful romance sure to please anyone looking for a story about second chances, grace, and hope. This one has all the right ingredients!”
—Catherine West, award-winning author of Where Hope Begins

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Melony Teague is a Freelance Writer and Columnist who lives in Richmond Hill, Ontario. The Biographer for Portraits of Giving (2014-2016), Aurora Sports Hall of Fame (2015 -2017) and teaches seniors in her community how to write their personal story.