About the Book-
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.
I annotated this book because I have been obsessed with all the other books by the author I have read, and I expected this book to make me cry, like Set the Stars Alight and Whose Waves These Are. Unfortunately this book fell a little flat for me, but I still enjoyed the process of reading and annotating it!
The writing style was super lovely as always: Amanda Dykes’ writing is one of my favorites! It is super lyrical and truly weave a story. The imagery was gorgeous, and Venice was described in such vivid detail. The historical aspects of Venice woven into the story were so gorgeous, and I really enjoyed learning about the architecture, history, and city of Venice!
My main reason for not loving this book is because I was not as connected to these characters. I don’t know if it was the writing style or the more abstract story, but I was not particularly able to relate to the protagonists, which made the story hit less hard. The story was told more like an allegory, with a thread of suspension of disbelief, which made it harder to relate to.
The first part of the book I was able to relate to Daniel, or at least think the story was believable, but once he got to Venice, it became more of a whimsical fairytale vibe that I wasn’t as connected to. There was a lot of mention about secrets and historical intrigue, which also didn’t make it super relatable.
The story was a dual timeline: I was more interested in Daniel’s story at first (like I mentioned, I was more connected to it), but then as the Book of Waters went on, I was super invested in Sebastian’s story (even more than Daniel’s). Amanda Dykes does split timeline stories so well. I do think the ending was a bit rushed, especially the one in the Book of Waters.
All in all, I did end up enjoying this book, though it took me quite a while to get into it. I would recommend this book to people who enjoy historical whimsical stories. I am rating this one quite low, but that is in comparison to the author’s other works: I would definitely recommend reading some of her other books if this one isn’t your cup of tea!
- the prose was STUNNING!! there were so many beautiful descriptions and quotes, and in particular, the imagery of water was so richly woven throughout
- I really loved the male protagonists! They are so rarely seen in Christian fiction and I thoroughly enjoyed their character growth
- The characters were all so interesting and I wish I were more interested in them lol
- I couldn’t get into the story for quite a while: I kept putting the book down for weeks at a time and didn’t particularly want to pick it up because of this
- The characters weren’t not particularly relatable and I wasn’t attached to any of their struggles, so it was hard to enjoy them
I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the author. All views expressed are only my honest opinion; I was not required to write a positive review.