The Secrets of Casanova wasn't really what I was expecting - but in a good way. I hadn't expected to actually like Jacques Casanova, but I did. He and his brother Francesco are very different, but considering all the problems they have, they are very loyal to each other. The novel starts off with Jacques short of money and staying with Francesco and his wife, Dominique. It seems like much of the trouble Jacques gets himself into is because he is always short on money and having to contend with people he has upset or owes money to.
Despite his reputation as a ladies man, Jacques is interesting and more complex than might be expected. Jacques learns about a riddle and the rumor of a great treasure and sets off on another adventure. And when I say adventure, I really mean adventure -- he gets access to the Vatican's archive of forbidden books to look for information, is taken by pirates at sea, has a duel fought over him, goes to Jerusalem, gets caught in the 1755 Lisbon earthquake, and he actually does find an amazing treasure -- although not quite the one he had expected. This book is so full of fun, wild, exciting escapades. There are also a few sex scenes -- which one would expect in any book about Casanova, but not as many as I had expected.
I think anyone who enjoys a wild adventure tale would enjoy The Secrets of Casanova. As a fictionalized version of Casanova's life, I thought it did a wonderful job of showing Jacques as a complex, troubled, ambitious man and not just the shallow, two dimensional version of the man that we have become accustomed to seeing.
(This review was originally posted on my blog.)