"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
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.
Bartels (The Words Between Us) introduces estranged sisters Olivia and Melissa 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, Melissa 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, Melissa 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 Melissa 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.