A Modern Day Fairy Tale

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All the Lost Places by Amanda Dykes: Book Review

 *Book received for consideration. All thoughts are my own.

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.

Amanda Dykes'sdebut 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. Find her online at amandadykes.com.

All the Lost Places is a dual timeline novel set in Venice 1807 and 1904. Admittedly, dual timelines can sometimes be a little hit and miss for me. I love them when they work, but definitely want to find novels in which both timelines and their characters are equally intriguing, and that weave together well. I don't recall many (if any) dual timelines in which both timelines were historical, or at least this far back in the past. I was definitely curious how that would play out. 

At the start, this one was really slow for me... part of this might have been me. I can take a little longer to get into historical books anyway, particularly coming away from much faster paced stories as I had before this one. I do think the pace was rather slow too, so I'm sure that contributed. This is the second book that I have read from Amanda Dykes, and I found the previous to be a slow build as well but really enjoyed it by the end. Having that experience encouraged me to push through, and I did find it improved vastly as it went on...so if you find yourself feeling ready to give up, keep that in mind. In the end, this is a thoughtful story that is beautifully written. While I certainly think I enjoyed the other book I had read from the author much more, it was still an enjoyable read. If you enjoy historical reads, this is certainly one to check out. 


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