Saturday, December 31, 2022

ALL THE LOST PLACES by Amanda Dykes, Reviewed by Winnie, Paula, and Rebecca

“Empty places . . . are not always lost places.”

I always have to give myself extra time when I read a book by this author, because I don’t want to miss a single beautiful word, thought, or phrase. I find myself rereading many of the lyrical and thought-provoking sentences and paragraphs and marking them for future reference. Her stories are some of my all-time favorites, and I recommend them often to other readers.

Set primarily in Venice during two time periods—the early 1800s and the early 1900s-- this stirring novel stars a baby foundling, Sebastien Trovato, who is raised by a group of artisans, and Daniel Goodman, who is trying to atone for past crimes. As Daniel travels to Venice on a quest to obtain and translate a lost book, he finds himself immersed in Sebastien’s story.

“This sense of anticipation flexed its reach until Sebastien was certain the air must be pushing right out of the windows, slipping onto the balcony and tumbling over the waters below.

The characters are colorful, unique, masterfully crafted, and set amidst historically intriguing locales. It was very interesting to learn much about the history of Venice while reading this absorbing tale. This book is filled with broken, bruised, and hurting souls searching for answers, lost places and lost people searching to find who they are. It’s a story of redemption, hope, family, and identity. It’s the kind of book I finish and immediately want to start reading again to find more hidden meaning and beauty.

“Courage keep and hope beget, the story is not finished yet . . . “
*I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy from Bethany House Publishers. All opinions are my own.


Exceptional, exquisite, thought provoking, poetic.... there are not enough positive words to describe this beautifully written dual time novel. The author has once again captivated me with the scenes in her latest book.

A mysterious unfinished *Book of Waters* reaches through time to connect two men in an unexpected way. Sebastien in 1807 and Daniel in 1904 are both searching for the meaning of their own lives, which makes the reader think about their own worth. The answer to the age old question of *who can love me* can be found in the grace of God and the love He has for all in the sacrifice of Christ...His own Son.

An overarching theme is Hope.

“Life had taught them hope was a dangerous and fragile thing...Faith sang a different song, hope was necessary as breath and so strong that it carried its own heartbeat.”

From a mosaic artist: “So I come, in the dark, to piece together things of hope from things of destruction.”

“God is not bound by the way things used to be. There is hope in that.”

From the fascinating origins of Venice, California to the breathtaking scenes of an age old Venice, Italy, this is a well-crafted story that should not be missed.
* I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House on behalf of the author. I was not required to post a favorable review. All opinions are my own.*
Beyond 5 stars and a solid faith thread

"The tale with no ending, Daniel . . . To give you hope. Remember - though it may feel as if it is, the story is not over yet."

Hope, she said? "This . . . was my life. An empty chamber. A glorified crate carved out to make way for atonement. Capture it, cage it, live it. And yet, across the city, the one I had wronged the deepest was about to lose everything."

Daniel Goodman embodies a tortured soul, until one day his heritage provides an opportunity; an all expenses paid trip to Venice . . . to capture its magic and mourning through the eyes of an artist while confirming its history through the pages of an unfinished manuscript. What he discovers is far different and yet entirely the same, for he and the unknown author from so long ago share the same burning desire to discover, "Who am I?".

" . . . but I do know that I can never begin to say how thankful I am that, of all the circumstances that brought you from the canal, from the basket, to the islands, to pull me from those waters, to be the man that you are, to be with me here and now . . . I am forever grateful." I am . . . forever grateful.

All the lost places. All the broken pieces. Found. In the hands of an almighty God, placed carefully and intentionally within a masterpiece, a mosaic showcasing His infinite design . . . one man's journey becoming every man's journey; for in being known, hope springs eternal.

A tutelage in imaginative fiction, this tome carries its enchanted readers down the very canals which whisper their truths as loudly as their secrets, taking up spaces and places in their hearts that had previously been vacant.
*I received a copy from the author and publisher, I also purchased a copy of this book. The opinions stated above are entirely my own.

BackCover Blurb:
When a baby is discovered floating in a basket along the canals of 1807 Venice, a guild of artisans takes him in and raises him as a son, skilled in each of their trades. Although the boy, Sebastian Trovato, has wrestled with questions of his origins, it isn't until a woman washes ashore his lagoon island that answers begin to emerge. In hunting down his story, Sebastian must make choices that could alter not just his own future, but that of the beloved floating city.

Decades later,Daniel Goodman is given a fresh start in life as the century turns. Hoping to redeem a past laden in regrets, he is sent on an assignment from California to Venice to procure and translate a rare book. There, he discovers 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 the mystery of the man whose story the book does not finish: Sebastian Trovato.

Bethany House Publishing, December, 2022
Available in digital ebook, paperback, and hardcover:
Buy ALL THE LOST PLACES at Amazon, Christianbook .com, or Baker Book House


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