Exploring Time and Redemption in Venice

All the Lost Places by Amanda Dykes is a novel that intertwines history, mystery, and faith in a richly detailed narrative set against the backdrop of Venice. The story spans two centuries and follows Sebastien Trovato and Daniel Goodman, whose lives intertwine through the enigmatic Book of Waters.

1807: Sebastien Trovato is found floating in a basket along the canals of Venice. Raised by a guild of artisans, he grows up skilled in various trades but haunted by questions about his origins. His quest for answers intensifies when a mysterious woman washes ashore on his lagoon island.

1904: Daniel Goodman, a reformed thief from California, seeks redemption and a fresh start. Tasked with procuring and translating the rare Book of Waters from Venice, he becomes ensnared in a web of secrets tied to the city and the unfinished story of Sebastien.

Dykes delivers a fascinating exploration of Venice’s history, both in Italy and California. Her attention to detail brings the Venice, Italy’s unique landscape to life, including its island cemetery. As always, Dykes writes well-developed and likable characters, and she infuses her prose with magic and poetry.

However, the novel isn’t without its flaws. The first 30% drags, and the plot occasionally becomes overly complex. While Dykes’ rich descriptions add depth, they occasionally feel overdone. The novel shines in its latter half, where the pace picks up and the narrative threads come together.

Faith is a central theme, and Dykes’ author’s note adds a personal and profound touch, showcasing how her belief in Jesus drives her writing.

All the Lost Places is an introspective and achingly beautiful tale with themes of redemption and healing that will appeal to fans of historical fiction, art, archaeology, and history. Amanda Dykes continues to be a favorite author, though Whose Waves These Are remains my preferred work. I’d love to see her tackle a devotional. 4.5 stars

** Thanks to the publisher for a comp of this book. The opinions are my own.

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