Sunday, December 11, 2022

 Hey everyone! I had the opportunity to review All The Lost Places by Amanda Dykes, which releases TOMORROW, December 13th! Check out my review below. 


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.


Dykes' lyrical prose and troubled character, Daniel, absolutely hit the ground running in this book. There are some pretty big themes, some pretty wonderful and thought-provoking ideas in this novel, and a few that I need to sit and ponder over for awhile because they hit close to home. Set in a dual timeline, we switch back and forth between Daniel's POV and a historical account of a long-lost book without an ending, and as to why the book had no'll have to read it yourself and see. Overall, it's a phenomenal book. The only thing keeping me from giving it a full five stars -- the mystique involved in this story felt like it kept me at arm's length for certain swathes of the book, which made it difficult at times for me to maintain interest -- but then I'd get drawn back in all the same. I didn't totally grasp a couple things until I read Dykes' note at the end, and now I feel like a re-read is in order. It's a book that deserves, and perhaps requires, savoring and re-reading in order to be fully enveloped by the reader. If you love a challenge, dual timelines, gorgeous prose, and a book that is a deep well to draw from, you'll love this one. 

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