by Douglas Carlton Abrams
The Lost Diary of Don Juan is historical fiction of the most fun sort. You've got drama, sword-fighting, jealousy, revenge, romance (it IS Don Juan after all!) and true love, all wrapped up in a neat little 290-page package.
According to an interview in the Book Movement newsletter Abrams idea for this novel came to him one evening: "One night I went to bed asking myself a question that I believe every married man or woman asks eventually: How could I stay happily and passionately married to my wife for the rest of my life? The next morning I awoke as if I had been shaken. It was then that I first thought of Don Juan, the universal symbol of passion. What if he had kept a diary? What secrets would it contain? What could we learn from him about the nature of love and passion? And ultimately what might cause the world's greatest seducer to forsake all women for one woman?"
He goes on to explain that "it was as if Don Juan wanted to be vindicated from those who had portrayed him as nothing more than a sinful seducer and despoiler of women-for this Don Juan was no mere frat boy out to put notches on his bedpost. [...] This Don Juan desired to live life fully and to love fully-a man who felt the emptiness of life without love and saw that emptiness in many others-and empathized with them. Thus my desire in writing this book was not only to resurrect this greatest of historical lovers and to give voice to his true motives; I was also moved to write a book that would explore the tension between lust and love and that would confront the human question of how any man or woman can find lifelong satisfaction in one committed relationship-and how Don Juan himself was able to find such a love."
For me, this is escapist reading at it's most fun. Most of the time I read to learn but with this book I read for the pure pleasure. It was entertaining and easy to get into, and I stayed up WAY too late at night reading it! Since it's Don Juan, there are lots of sexy lover scenes but it definitely not a romance novel. The descriptions of his passionate encounters don't cover pages and pages in explicit detail; rather there's just enough to make you a bit hot under the collar, and (for women readers) envious of Don Juan's skills.
This book includes a Glossary, which I appreciate. In this case it wasn't necessary to my understanding of the book but having a glossary always enhances my reading experience. If the author includes one (in a book that I really enjoyed), I usually read through it once I finish the actual story; it helps me to stay "in" the book for just a little bit longer.
On the whole I quite enjoyed this book. It's not the best book ever written, but for me it was the perfect brief escape from the stress of my life at the moment.
Thank you to Pump Up Your Book Promotions for the change to read and review this book.
For more info about this book you can visit either of these websites:
And here are links to other reviews of this book:
The Bluestocking Society
Amatuer de Livre
some thoughts from the author, posted at Booking Mama