When I first read the short story Tin Can Serenade, I knew Amanda Dykes was an author who was here to stay. She had a fresh yet old-world voice that the market didn’t have, a voice that was lyrical and expressive and exquisite. My thoughts were happily confirmed with Up from the Sea and Whose Waves These Are. Those were fantastic stories that melted my heart and made me weep.
Now, I have tried to read Set the Stars Alight, but the timing was bad for me. I was dealing with post-WuVi symptoms that included severe lack of focus. Amanda Dykes’s books are ones that I have to have good focus for in order to get properly immersed in them — and her style is very immersive for me — so I had to set it aside. This means I’m now two books behind, so I’m hoping to binge read them this summer… just in time to have a little break before her newest beauty comes out. I’m excited to claim time to sit down with Set the Stars Alight and Yours Is the Night in the coming months.
I’m also excited to help reveal the cover of Amanda Dykes’s next book: All the Lost Places.
Before we get to the pretty part, may we talk about that title?
All the Lost Places is such an exquisite title. It has already swept me away. It doesn’t really let me know much about the setting or plot, but it does put whimsy in mind, and I love a good bit of whimsy. Besides, who doesn’t like to get lost every once in a while? I don’t mean the fretful, fear-inducing kind of lost. No, no. I mean the “let’s get away from the worries of life and get lost in the moment” sort of lost. Sometimes going off the well-traveled rut of our daily lives can re-energize our creativity and inspire us to dig a little deeper when we get back to the tasks on our plates.
Once again, I have not read the full blurb. It’s kind of a thing with me. So many book blurbs spoil a lot of details about the story, so I tend to read only the first 1-3 sentences. That was plenty to know I must read this book. First of all, it’s set in Venice, Italy. Um, yes please! I love a good Italian character, and to have a book set in Italy is even better. Next, it’s about a lost baby that gets found and raised by a group of artisans. Who wouldn’t be intrigued by such a prospect?
Here’s the full blurb for those who enjoy that type of thing. (If you’re like me and dislike spoilers, feel free to skip the next two paragraphs.)
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.
Tell me: What do you think of the “lost baby raised by artisans” premise?
Oh, and this will be a split-time story. I can get tired of those if I read too many in a row (the market is inundated with them right now), but when they’re done really well, I adore them. Whose Waves These Are was written exquisitely, so I have little doubt that this new novel by the same author will be treated with just as much of an artistic touch.
Y’all, this cover was already spotted on Goodreads last week, and let me tell you: It took my breath away. It’s the perfect golden-brown color with the right touch of gold spots of light. The embellishments on the L and P in the Lost Places part of the title are perfect touches. And the way the reader is plopped into the front of a gondola (or similar boat) traveling down one of Venice’s many watery “streets”… Happy sigh! This is my favorite cover of the year so far, and there have been some really wonderful ones. Take a look…
What do you think of the cover?
Which aspect draws your attention the most?
This time-slip novel comes out in December 2022, but you may pre-order it now.
To get all the information on the pre-order perks (including a chance to win a lighted Venice book nook diorama kit for your bookshelf, and a unique watercolor bookmark from the hands of a Venetian artist), visit AmandaDykes.com/Venice. A list of purchasing options is given on that page as well, so everything is located in one place for your convenience.
Baker Book House is currently offering 40% off as well as free shipping on this title, and signed copies for the first 250 pre-orders.
If you’re on Goodreads, now is a great time to add All the Lost Places to your to-be-read list.
Be sure to explore Amanda Dykes’s website to see what all she offers in terms of blog, story extras, and more information about the author herself.
What other split-time books have you enjoyed?
Which book has your favorite cover of the year so far?
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