Friday, December 16, 2022

Book Review - All the Lost Places by Amanda Dykes

My Review

In 1907 Daniel Goodman is living in an abandoned rail car in California, trying to save his mother's home, when he has an opportunity to travel to Venice to translate a mysterious book. This novel, told in dual storylines, flashes back to the story of Sebastien Trovato in 1807 Venice.

I wanted to read this novel because the storyline involving a rare book and Italy in two time periods was appealing.  I also love historical fiction.

This is a beautiful novel with the quality of a fairy tale. The author has a real gift with descriptions that set the scene, like this description of Daniel's makeshift neighborhood:

When the city began to switch from railcars to cable cars, it became a graveyard of railcars too. It seemed fitting that I take up residence in this land of the obsolete. Not to mention, the rent was low— or free, rather. As good as a palace, and I wasn’t the only one to think so. Others had moved in too. An odd grid of makeshift streets formed; paint and curtains went up as windows glowed, vanquishing the air of abandonment. “The Sunset,” they started to call the neighborhood, and even in that there was truth. For we, the ragtag band of outcasts that had landed here, were gripping the tailcoats of fast-fleeing life" (eBook position 187).

This is an intricate, complex story, dense with characters and settings - not a fast read but a richly rewarding one. Daniel was an especially sympathetic character as he worked so hard to overcome his past.

I recommend All the Lost Places for fans of historical fiction, and especially for anyone interested in Venice.

Book Synopsis

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.




Author Bio

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.




1 comment:

  1. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Trish. Wishing you a lovely holiday season.


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