Book Review: All the Lost Places by Amanda Dykes

Posted December 18, 2022 by meezcarrie in Amanda Dykes, Christian, historical, romance / 4 Comments

GENRE: Inspirational Historical Fiction / Romance
PUBLISHER: Bethany House
RELEASE DATE: December 13, 2022
PAGES: 402

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.

advance praise for all the lost places

“This lyrical dual-narrative historical from Dykes (Set the Stars Alight) dives into the histories of Venice, Italy, and Venice Beach, California.”— Publisher’s Weekly

“Introspective, surprising, and achingly beautiful.”— Booklist starred review

“Dykes’s pen is fused with magic and poetry. Every word’s a gentle wave building into the splendor that is All the Lost Places, where struggles for identity and a place to belong find hope between the pages of a timeless story.”— J’Nell Ciesielski, bestselling author of The Socialite

“Luscious writing, authentic characters, and an ending that satisfies to the core of the spirit, this novel is another winner from Amanda Dykes.”— Heidi Chiavaroli, Carol Award-winning author of Freedom’s Ring and Hope Beyond the Waves

Oh my goodness, dear reader friends. How can anyone put into words how absolutely beautiful this story is? How can I use my limited vocabulary to express the way it dives down into the depths of your soul, seeking an elusive treasure, and at last finds something tucked away – a ‘something’ which you didn’t even know was there, waiting to be found by just exactly the story this was?

I just now turned the final page of this truly exquisite novel, and I’m typing this review while still wiping away tears at the ending. Not because it was sad but rather because it was perfect and messy and intricate and just so beautiful. And – mainly – because it stirred my heart unlike few books I’ve read. Amanda Dykes is an author who can spin gold out of words, who can take the bones of a story and turn it into a painting. The dual narrative of this story – as in others she has written – is woven so intentionally that it is impossible to separate the two from one another. The inevitable discoveries of who (gasp!) and what (gasp!) and where (gasp!) and how (gasp!) the two timelines are connected in All The Lost Places left me both deliciously stunned and positively delighted right down to my toes.

Not to mention the author’s poetic voice that has me reading out loud just to slow down and savor each carefully placed word. Sentences like:

There was shadow and song in every stone.


The place dripped in gold and history.


Never had the connection between them been stronger – and never had the distance between them been so great.

Blissful sigh. Aren’t they just so pretty?

And then there is the heartbeat of All the Lost Places itself – the theme that curves through the story like Venice’s famed waterways. “Empty places… are not always lost places.” And, conversely, lost places are not always empty places. Brokenness can give way to beauty when in the hands of an Artist. The characters in this book are each a little (or a lot) broken in one way or another (or several), and our respective heroes in each timeline are seeking (whether they realize it or not) to be found and to find their place in history’s story. The way their stories intersect is not something I will soon forget – not only the joy of the discovery of it but of what it did to my own heart.

Bottom Line: All the Lost Places is exquisite in every way – from its vivid characters that set up camp in your heart to the lyrical prose and the healing message of redemption and restoration. Of beauty from ashes. Of art from brokenness. Of family and books and story… and, of course, Venice. I want to go back and start reading it all over again as one who hasn’t read it yet – such treasure on these pages! Take heart, dear readers: “Courage keep and hope beget, the story is not finished yet.”

(I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book. All views expressed are only my honest opinion.)

My Rating: 5 stars / truly exquisite!

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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.

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Read my exclusive interview with Amanda Dykes & enter to win a copy!

and also read an exclusive interview with Austenprose!

What about you? What makes you want to read All the Lost Places by Amanda Dykes?

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4 responses to “Book Review: All the Lost Places by Amanda Dykes

  1. Joy

    Gah! I am so glad I pre-ordered this one and have it sitting on my shelf just waiting to be picked up! I think I’ll have to bump it up higher on the TBR.

  2. Carrie, this review touched me so deeply, so much more than I can begin to say! I truly cannot thank you enough– not just for your words, but for your generous, beautiful, amazing heart. I’m so thankful for you!

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