This is one of those books that has been sitting on my shelves for more years than I care to remember and one which I’ve continually looked at and thought ‘I must get round to reading that one’. Well finally I have got round to it and I have to say I wasn’t disappointed. Summers weaves together the complex and exciting lives of Casanova’s women turning them from mere conquests and fleeting muses into vibrant characters worthy of fame in their own right.
The author has formed these real stories from fragments of research conducted over centuries as Casanova’s original biography changed all the names of the women to protect their identities. It is a well written and engaging book that gives the reader a sense of understanding of Casanova’s legendary appeal and also of his failings.
It also highlights the failings of the women who fell for him. Their gullibility and acceptance of his charms with little thought of their own welfare and future is still difficult to understand even in today’s more liberal society.
Obviously it helps if you know a little about Casanova before you read this even if the extent of your knowledge is the same as mine – watching the David Tennent and Peter O’ Toole in the BBC version of Casanova. Overall, however, it is a good read which dispels some of the myth from the man and focuses on the women of his life who are in every way as interesting and as worth of remembrance as Casanova himself.