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Casanova's Secret Wife

3.78  ·  Rating details ·  167 ratings  ·  44 reviews
Set in eighteenth-century Venice and based on an actual account by Giacomo Casanova—here is a lush tale of desire and risk, offering a little known portrait of the writer as a young man.

Caterina Capreta was an innocent girl of fourteen when she caught the attention of the world’s most infamous chronicler of seduction: Giacomo Casanova. Intoxicated by a fierce love, sh
Paperback, 304 pages
Published July 25th 2017 by Kensington (first published 2017)
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Barbara Lynn-Davis I am not planning a sequel to this book, but I am writing another work of historical fiction, set in sixteenth-century Rome and WWII Poland, and based…moreI am not planning a sequel to this book, but I am writing another work of historical fiction, set in sixteenth-century Rome and WWII Poland, and based around a (real-life) missing painting by the artist Raphael.

This book does closely follow what we know of the real Casanova, as I based it on a story he tells in his own memoirs. But I wanted to represent the woman's point of view, and that's the "fiction" part.(less)

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Magdalena aka A Bookaholic Swede
The books blurb really intrigued me and I was quite looking forward to reading this book. I have to admit that, despite recognizing Casanova's name and his reputation did I not know much about the man himself more than he has written books about his female conquests. With that in mind did I set out to read this book. Which when I look back probably made me a bit cynical when it came to his courtship of Caterina Capreta. Actually, with a bit, I mean quite a lot...

Yes, I had a hard time taking the
Jan 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
Giacomo Casanova (1725-1798) tried to be a preacher, musician, and writer, but what he left behind is the legacy of the greatest lover or rather conqueror of hearts. His biography written by him is regarded as one of the most authentic sources of the customs and norms of European social life during the 18th century.

This story alternates between 1753, when Caterina Capreta is 14, and 1774, when she is a married woman. The year 1753, when she is in convent is based on true facts.

In present time Ve
Meg - A Bookish Affair
Jul 31, 2017 rated it really liked it
"Casanova's Secret Wife" is the story of Caterina, who when we meet her in the book is a married woman who goes to a convent when she summoned by an old friend. This friend wants her to take in a young pregnant woman who unmarried and at this time, that is socially unacceptable. Caterina knows that she will be scrutinized for taking taking in this woman and she is not sure she can take on any more scrutiny for a variety of reasons. But she agrees to take her in and at first she doesn't really kn ...more
Aug 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
I am a sucker when it comes to books taking place in Italy, rich in culture and history, it's my ultimate vacation destination. I have been to a couple cities there but never Venice or the island of Murano. As my blog subtitle states 'reading gives you someplace to go when you have to stay where you are', which is exactly what Casanova's Secret Wife did. It transported me to the eighteenth century with lush descriptive settings, from gondola rides to food to the convent.

I am familiar with the na
Aug 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
**RATING 4.5**

CASANOVA'S SECRET WIFE by Barbara Lynn-Davis is a beautifully written, evocative tale of love, desire, and loss. Transported back in time, the rich beauty of Venice comes alive through the characters that will capture your heart and a story that will stay with you long after you finish reading the final sentence.

When Caterina finds herself obliged to help a young girl, Leda, who finds herself pregnant and alone, it stirs up memories from her own past that seems so long ago. As Cat
Melodie Winawer
Jan 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
A compelling, unusual story that beautifully evokes 18th century venice--a wonderful example of meticulous historical research blended with imaginative fictional invention to recreate the life of the 14 year old girl who loved and was loved by the famous (and infamous) Casanova.
3,5 stars

Almost everything I knew about Casanova before reading this was from Heath Ledger’s movie. So not much… I did know he has written books about his conquests.

Knowing that I was somewhat cynical about the romance between Caterina and Casanova and I just kept waiting for her to realize what kind of man he was. And he did love her but he fell in and out of love very quickly. But she was 14 years old and very naïve. Which was little surprising considering who her brother was and how he behave
Samantha Gunning
May 10, 2017 marked it as to-read
I won this book via Goodreads Firstreads Giveaway. I received an advanced uncorrected proof.
I wouldn't consider this much of a romance novel as I would one of women's fiction. The write up and cover are very misleading. ...more
Aug 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Casanova is the world’s most famous lover. Casanova’s Secret Wife tells the story of Caterina Capreta, the woman who loved him. At the bequests of the abbess, Caterina takes in Leda, a noblewoman who had been caught in a scandal. As soon as Caterina meets Leda, she realizes how her story was similar to her own. She then tells Leda the story of her life.

Caterina was fourteen when she met Giacomo Casanova. Upon meeting him, she is immediately smitten with him. She secretly exchanges vows with him
Jul 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
Caterina Capreta became entangled with the infamous Giacoma Casanova at the age of fourteen and has harbored a secret of her love affair and wedding to him for her adult life. When Caterina is called back to the Murano convent where she was a boarded for four years, the memories of Caterina and Casanova's love affair return to her full force. The Abbess, Marina, is an old acquaintance of Caterina's from her time there. Marina asks Caterina for a favor that she cannot refuse; to take in a young p ...more
Aug 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
I will be the first to admit that I didn’t know much about Casanova going into this book other than the definition attached to his name as a noun rather than anything about the man as a person. This book uses Casanova’s diary as a starting point to create a story about a young (very young) woman in 18th century Venice who fell under his spell.

Caterina tells the story starting with her later life as she is asked to take in a young, pregnant girl who had been brought to a convent. It is a place sh
Aug 31, 2017 rated it it was amazing
It is a little known secret that my favourite genre is Italian historical fiction. And this novel certainly did not disappoint. I was interested in seeing how a rake and con like Casanova would be portrayed and whether the author would make him a rogue or sympathetic. I was pleased that the author showed us his charm and likeability. Of course there were moments when I worried that he would turn sour on his relationship with Caterina, and although he did drift, he did his best to remain supporti ...more
Gina Racioppo
Aug 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
I received this book as part of a Good reads giveaway.

This is less of a romance novel and more of a work of historical fiction. The writer clearly did her research well; it is hard to tell what is historical fact and what is fiction. The two blend together seamlessly.
It was an interesting and entertaining read, although I did not find any of the characters particularly likeable. The descriptions of the settings and clothing were very well done, and helped to create great mental pictures as I rea
Donna Bresnak
Aug 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
I received this book for free from good reads.

this is a quick read. light reading. from the first it seemed like a story of a naïve young girl who was drawn into a love affair over which she had little control. she tells her story to a younger version of herself, Leda. we also hear of a cousin. in all versions of the stories these women have we learn about life in Venice during this time, what their lives are like and what their expectations can be. all of it limited.

I enjoyed reading it even as
Patricia Brown
Aug 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A captivating piece of historical fiction about an actual woman, beautifully and convincingly put together from fragments of Casanova's memoirs. Lynn-Davis has a rare gift for dialogue that sounds exactly right, and her historical research on 18th century Venice is impeccable. She knows how to tell a story that keeps you turning the pages. Short chapters, a pendulating narrative arc that swings back and forth over a 20 year period, but is completely lucid. A completely satisfying book in every w ...more
Sarah Wagner
Nov 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
This book unfolds exactly the way I think of the city of Venice with a new layer always being pulled back. Caterina's story starts as a young love affair with the handsome Casanova and evolves into a love so consuming she just may commit murder to keep her lover. I had my doubts when starting this novel, but it's fast-paced, engaging, and absolutely fascinating. It made for the perfect weekend read. ...more
nikkia neil
Thanks Kensington Books and netgalley for this ARC.

Venice will never seem the same after reading Casanova's Secret Wife. I know I will always remember
Caterina's descriptions of her home. This story has all the hallmarks of a novel you'll want to re-read for the pleasure. of it. Caterina is given a second chance at happiness but she does not realize that til it's almost too late. This is a story of betrayal, redemption, and unforgettable love.
Jul 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Thanks Kensington Books and netgalley for this ARC.

I can't say enough good to do justice to how enjoyable this novel gave me. I was sorry to finish.

Jenny Q
Aug 03, 2017 marked it as to-check-out
Author Q&A + Giveaway @ Let Them Read Books! ...more
Aug 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
Easily drawn in, love the culture tidbits.
Aug 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: giveaways
I thought that the author did a great job of bringing us into the life of passion with a Casanova in 18th century Venice. It's a captivating, passionate, historical read. ...more
Robin Tobin (On the back porch reading)
Hummmm.... Still letting the storyline percolate.
Jul 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
This was a wonderful book, filled with details about Venice and life there in the eighteenth century. It made me want to visit Venice, and see these beautiful scenes for myself. I gave this four stars because the heroine would occasionally behave in an unrealistic way for a sheltered young woman, doing or saying things that felt as if they were only to move the story along. According to the author's profile, she is a college professor, and while this did make the book very interesting there were ...more
Apr 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I've always been curious about Casanova, but this book serves up so much more than a portrait of the famous lothario. It's simply luscious, from the writing to the plot to the descriptions of Venice to the layered relationships among the characters--not to mention the food!

Caterina, Casanova's secret wife, is only 14, which worried me a bit initially, but then I realized not only is she historically accurate, but people typically only lived to be in their 30s in the 1700s. I remember that mind-
May 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The twists and turns in the life of a young woman in love with a capricious man, Casanova, leads one down sublime as well as nefarious paths, like the streets of Venice. Sometimes dark and sinister, other times sunny and sensuous: always authentic and well researched and an exhilarating read. This is a timeless tale of passion, jealousy, and inner reflection. Lynn-Davis is a master story teller and I eagerly look forward to her next novel.
Sue Curtin
Apr 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Barbara Lynn-Davis has brought Casanova and his secret wife, Caterina, gloriously to life in one of the most beautiful, exotic cities in the world, Venice, Italy. You live through Caterina's passionate love for Casanova, their amazing adventures together, and you also experience the twist their lives take. Caterina emerges from her relationship with Casanova a wiser woman, though with memories of an unforgettable man. Lynn-Davis' writing is a joy to read. I look forward to her next novels. ...more
Fran Grigsby
May 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: amazing
This book is compelling! Taking the story of the notorious Casanova as context, the book highlights Caterina Capreta, his lover. It builds a rich story of their love affair, and of the life of a young woman in eighteenth-century Venice. Barbara Lynn-Davis has also invented a cast of compelling characters that give depth to the book. I loved the engrossing story and the glimpse into many facets of Venetian culture - social life, religion, music, marriage, friendship. Hope she writes a sequel!
May 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads
I received this book through the Goodreads giveaway program. I really enjoyed this book. Some historical fiction is just way off base, but this book seemed well researched and the characters were complex and three dimensional. Definitely a book I would read again.
Apr 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I like the confidence I felt in the author's deep knowledge of the era, which made it easy to get lost in the book. ...more
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After graduating from Brown University with a degree in art history, Barbara Lynn-Davis worked at the Peggy Guggenheim Museum in Venice and began a life-long love affair with the lagoon city. She returned to Venice for a year while completing her PhD in Renaissance art at Princeton University. Along the way, she discovered the memoirs of famed lover Giacomo Casanova, and found the story she wanted ...more

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“I dropped my gaze, then peeked up to study him more. His skin was swarthy, and his black eyes had a fiery light. He wore a sapphire-blue waistcoat with exotic birds sewn all over it, and on his fingers, several jewelled rings.” 0 likes
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