Tuesday, December 13, 2022

All The Lost Places By Amanda Dykes

All the Lost Places
by Amanda Dykes
Publisher: Bethany House
ISBN: 9780764239502

When I saw the cover of this book, I got lost in it. It's so stunning. I HAD to find out what was behind that cover and discover the story inside. I am on Amanda's launch team and she sent me the book for review.


When all of Venice is unmasked, one man's identity remains a mystery . . . 

When a baby is discovered floating in a basket along the quiet canals of Venice, a guild of artisans takes him in and raises him as a son, skilled in each of their trades. Although the boy, Sebastien Trovato, has wrestled with questions of his origins, it isn't until a woman washes ashore on his lagoon island that answers begin to emerge. In hunting down his story, Sebastien must make a choice that could alter not just his own future, but also that of the beloved floating city.

Daniel Goodman is given a fresh start in life as the century turns. Hoping to redeem a past laden with regrets, he is sent on an assignment from California to Venice to procure and translate a rare book. There, he discovers a city of colliding hope and decay, much like his own life, and a mystery wrapped in the pages of that filigree-covered volume. With the help of Vittoria, a bookshop keeper, Daniel finds himself in a web of shadows, secrets, and discoveries carefully kept within the stones and canals of the ancient city . . . and in the mystery of the man whose story the book does not finish: Sebastien Trovato.

My Review:

In my mind, at various points towards the end of All the Lost Places I crafted numerous starts to my review. I hope I remember bits and pieces of them because they were all true, while all being different.

The start of the story was a bit difficult for me. It felt like high level, deep, and artistic writing. The author was weaving together the groundwork for the story to follow. I had a hard time seeing where it was going, but that's just how my brain works. None of this is negative, just how my start to the book began.

As the story began to unfold and the characters came to life, all of the pieces from the beginning began to make sense. The struggle because immersion. The only problem with that immersion was the I needed to stay there in the story. It's deep and beautiful, but you "have" to get lost in it, in Venice, to get that full experience. That meant for me that I couldn't read on a whim or when I couldn't give it my full attention.

I would suggest, when you go to read this story, that you are able to quiet yourself away. Be where you can devote yourself to the story. Trust me, you'll thank me later. Once I became invested in Daniel's story as well as Sebastian's story, I didn't want to be torn away.

Daniel is intent on making recompense for his poor choices and making his mother proud again. I felt so deeply what his character went through with his thoughts and emotions in regards to his choices. How many of us have regrets, try to "pay back" time and time again, don't feel like we deserve forgiveness, etc? Walking with Daniel through his journey to Venice was like walking alongside him with all I've carried. And don't we all need a light, someone to point us to goodness and Truth? Enter Vittoia. I absolutely adored her.

And then there's Sebastian. There's SO much to be said about him. So much so, I couldn't begin to capture it all here. If you feel like you don't belong or you're not sure who you are, you will relate to Sebastian. But, God sees! Like Sebastian, our days were set in motion with intention and He knows how each of them are going to be spent. As with Daniel's story, Sebastian meets a woman who opens his world up in new ways. Mariana is a reminder of all that is good in the world.

There are other characters who remind us of the power of who we consider family. Sometimes family isn't created by blood, but by choice. We also have people who speak into our lives who can help or hinder. We're also reminded of the power bitterness and anger. When we hold onto something, allow it to smolder and turn us into something that isn't good, not only do we suffer, but so do others.

I honestly didn't expect to get as excited as I did as Daniel began uncovering the mysteries surrounding the story of The Book of Waters. There were some surprises that came up that made me smile. As I neared the end of the story, the beginning made more sense and I realized it was as "distant" to my mind as I initially thought. I just needed to have more of the story.

If you are looking for literary fiction, this story will fit perfectly.

About the Author:

Amanda Dykes's debut novel, Whose Waves These Are, is the winner of the prestigious 2020 Christy Award Book of the Year, a Booklist 2019 Top Ten Romance debut, and the winner of an INSPY Award. She's also the author of Yours Is the Night and Set the Stars Alight, a 2021 Christy Award finalist. Find her online at amandadykes.com.


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