All the Lost Places by Amanda Dykes
Historical Fiction | Christian Fiction
“These ancient waters, from then until now, have never left. They travel a familiar path, around and around, over and over, time without end. From sea to sky, raining back down into the hands of man. In the centuries since, these eternity-touched waters bore up tempest-tossed ships. Retreated in shivering obedience to the command Be Still. Furled and stacked themselves into shimmering walls of parted sea to make way for an impossible escape. Have been struck from rock, sprung from geysers, coursed through rivers, tumbled with abandon over falls… carried the fleet of the great explorer Marco Polo to the great beyond and back again to Venezia…” (All the Lost Place, Amanda Dykes)
Amanda’s novels always read like magic, and All the Lost Places is no exception. Somehow, Dykes manages to weave both poetry and light into each and every sentence. Deeply layered in metaphor and theme, with prose rich and lyrical, this novel utterly transported me to the canals of Venice and into the ancient waters which flow within.
This dual-timeline story is full of truth and hope for the heart that questions, “Who am I?” I absolutely adore the character of Daniel Goodman and his longing for atonement. Add in a collection of authentic characters, a bookshop complete with a pet owl, a book that whispers of babies found floating in baskets, and a bit of mystery — and I found myself immersed in the type of story you can’t help but slowly savor.
I will note that this was a very complex story — particularly the first half involving the “Book of Waters.” It fit together beautifully at the end but did require some patience while reading. It ended up being a longer read than expected because I had to read it so closely. However, with Dykes skill in creating gorgeous narratives, this wasn’t something I minded at all.
While I will admit that this isn’t my favorite Amanda Dykes novel, (I don’t know if anything will ever top Set the Stars Alight for me!!!) the love with which this new story was written is almost tangible — and that’s a rare quality to encounter in a novel. The author’s note at the back touches upon some of Dykes’ personal story, and I think this real-life, personal element will deeply resonate with a lot of readers too.
Amanda Dykes is an auto-buy author for me and if you haven’t read any of her work, I highly recommend checking it out. All the Lost Places is another story that will stick with me for a long time to come.
Readers who love rich, poetic writing and lushly layered historical stories.
This post contains affiliate links; as an Amazon associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Book provided courtesy of Graf-Martin Communications and Baker Publishing Group. All opinions expressed are my own.
About the book:
(From the publisher)1807 — 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.
1904 — 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.