All the Lost Places – Amanda Dykes

All the Lost Places Amanda Dykes
All the Lost Places by Amanda Dykes
Also by this author: Set the Stars Alight, Yours Is the Night
Published by Bethany House on December 13, 2022
Genres: Fiction, Christian, Historical
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Discovered floating in a basket along the canals of Venice, Sebastien Trovato wrestles with questions of his origins. Decades later, on an assignment to translate a rare book, Daniel Goodman finds himself embroiled in a web of secrets carefully kept within the ancient city and in the mystery of the man whose story the book does not finish: Sebastien.

“I once was lost but now am found, was blind but now I see.”

We all know that line from John Newton’s “Amazing Grace.” A former slaver turned Christian and abolitionist. Newton once said, “‘It will always be a subject of humiliating reflection to me, that I was once an active instrument in a business at which my heart now shudders.'” While Daniel Goodman is only a thief, he feels the same shame and heavy guilt at the things he has done. He wants a new life but does not consider himself worthy of it or his mother’s love. When he travels to Venice, Daniel hopes to earn enough—and to redeem himself—to return to his mother and beg for forgiveness. He exemplifies the biblical story of a prodigal son coming home.

All the Lost Places by Amanda Dykes, however, follows the lives of not one male character but two. A question haunts Sebastien throughout the novel: Who am I? He does not know his past prior to his adoption, and it influences him every step of his life. He just wants answers. Sebastien does not expect a young woman to wash up on his shore, nor the impact she will have on his life from that moment forward. Mariana brings him something he had no idea he had been missing: hope.

Amanda Dykes’ newest novel expresses messages of such beauty to its readers. Dykes has a way with words that is incomparable to any other author I have ever read. She soothes the anxious heart. and the mind like a floating in a freshwater stream after a long journey. All the Lost Places reminds readers that they are not alone. Even in the darkest corners. Even in the lost places, where you think you could never be located. You are lost no longer but are rather found. The word now has new meaning to me thanks to All the Lost Places.

This is an impactful and heartwarming piece of historical fiction that speaks of the love of God, friends, and family. It enfolded me and filled my heart. It reminded me why I love Dykes’ work as much as I do. All the Lost Places by Amanda Dykes spoke to the recesses of my soul, and I fully believe she can do the same for you if you give her the chance.  I think she says things best in her author’s note, so I’ll end my review with a couple excerpts.

“In the wilderness is a place of new things, too. And more importantly—there’s Someone else there, with a nail-pierced hand outstretched and waiting to take ours—in the wilderness. It was here that this gentle yet strong whisper wrapped from every direction around my heart with old truths made new. You are mine. Found. Beloved.”

“Take heart for the shifting places. In the hands of our God, there is redemption at work. And in that, there is hope.”