ALL THE LOST PLACES, by Amanda Dykes, Bethany House Publishers, Dec. 13, 2022, Paperback, $16.99 (new adult/ adult)
Two men’s stories are mysteriously linked through time in All the Lost Places, a new novel by Amanda Dykes.
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. —Synopsis provided by Bethany House Publishers
All the Lost Places is a thoughtful read that is as much about settings as it is the characters. From Venice, California, to Venice, Italy, author Amanda Dykes fully immerses readers in the language, culture and architecture. Whether the scene is set in an old boxcar or a magnificent cathedral, equal attention is paid.
As skilled as Dykes is with setting a scene, All the Lost Places wouldn’t be anything without the characters. Though I connected more with Daniel, both he and Sebastien are compelling. Dykes expertly explores these two, and the spiritual elements throughout fit naturally within her framework.
All the Lost Places is one of those books that makes you think — think more about the story; think more about the setting; think more about yourself. It is not a particularly fast read, more one that you sort of sit with as you go along.
*Though Cracking the Cover is geared toward covering books for young readers, it occasionally features books intended for adults that can crossover into the YA realm. All the Lost Places would certainly be fine content-wise for YA readers, but will likely appeal to those with more “old soul” sensibilities.
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