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 […]

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A Beautifully Woven Tale of Love and Family Secrets

The story centers on Matelda Roffo, an Italian grandmother nearing the end of her life, who decides it’s time to reveal her family’s hidden secrets. As she unfolds the past, we’re transported back to her mother Domenica’s life in pre-World War II, Italy. Domenica thrives in the coastal town of Viareggio, Italy until she is banished by the Catholic Church. Her journey takes her from the rocky shores of Marseille to the mystical beauty of Scotland and onto the dangerous streets of war-torn Liverpool. Trigiani’s writing is lush and evocative. She captures the essence of Italian culture—the food, the landscapes, and the deep-rooted traditions. I could almost taste the homemade […]

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The Marriage Portrait

In Maggie O’Farrell’s The Marriage Portrait, the historical backdrop of Renaissance Italy leaps off the page, bringing us the tale of Lucrezia de’ Medici, third daughter of Cosimo de’ Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany—a figure shrouded in obscurity and tragedy. O’Farrell paints a vivid picture of young Lucrezia, who much prefers the strokes of her paintbrush and exploring the Palazzo over the harsh expectations of nobility. Lucrezia’s life takes a sharp turn at 12 when she’s promised to Alfonso d’Este, Duke of Ferrara—her deceased sister’s once-intended. Once she enters the duke’s world at age 15, Lucrezia faces the challenge of threading her way through the intricate politics of her new […]

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The Order

Israeli Spy Chief Gabriel Allon is on vacation in Venice with his wife and two young children when his friend, the reform-minded Pope Paul VII, dies suddenly. The Holy Father’s private secretary, Archbishop Luigi Donati, suspects foul play and summons Allon to the Vatican. What follows is a hunt for truth and justice. The Swiss Guard who was standing watch outside the papal apartments the night of the pope’s death is missing. So, too, is the letter the Holy Father was writing during the final hours of his life. A letter addressed to Gabriel. As the cardinals gather for the papal conclave, Allon investigates the murder and uncovers a vast […]

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September 2022 Picks and Pans

No five-star reads this month, but The Happiest Man on Earth was definitely life-changing. I gave one novel a 2-star rating, which is rare for me. I read two books set in the Philippines, which is totally random. I’ll be curious to hear what you have to say. Circle back to Facebook and let me know!   The Happiest Man on Earth By Eddie Jaku “Life can be beautiful if you make it beautiful. It is up to you.” Eddie Jaku, The Happiest Man on Earth. In this uplifting memoir in the vein of The Last Lecture and Man’s Search for Meaning, a Holocaust survivor pays tribute to those who […]

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