The Lost Diary of Don Juan
Author: Douglas Carlton Abrams
Publisher: Washington Square Press (Reprint Ed.; July 1, 2008)
Set in 16th century Seville during Spain’s Golden Age and the Spanish Inquisition, The Lost Diary of Don Juan is an action-packed look at the life and passion of the world’s greatest lover.
The son of a prostitute, Juan Tenorio is abandoned as an infant at the gates of a convent. He grows into a young man under the sisters’ loving care and instruction. Juan seems destined for the priesthood until he falls in love with one of the nuns, Sister Teresa. The two begin a passionate affair, meeting in secret each evening. When they are eventually discovered, Juan is forced to leave the Church.
The teenaged Juan Tenorio then joins a burglary ring in order to support himself. His skill as a thief and usefulness as a spy soon attracts the attention of the Marquis de la Monta, Don Pedro. The Marquis trains Juan as a libertine – one unbridled by traditional morality – and even secures a nobility title for the young man. Don Juan is a natural when it comes to the art of seduction, and his conquests are soon the stuff of legend. Unbeknownst to Don Juan, the Marquis is blackmailing the husbands and fathers of the women Don Juan seduces. Once Juan learns of this, he continues his libertine ways but refuses to reveal the identity of his partners to the Marquis.
When the beautiful Dona Ana captures Don Juan’s eye, the world’s greatest lover finds himself embarking on his most challenging conquest of all: the mastery of his own heart. Can one who has enjoyed the pleasures of so many women find himself content with one woman for the rest of his life?
Douglas Carlton Abrams gives us an intriguing look into the soul of a character who is usually portrayed as a villain and a rapist. Instead of depicting Don Juan as someone who preys on women, Abrams shows us a more tender side of the mythical lover. Passion is a central theme, not just sexual passion but also passion for life.
One of the things I really enjoyed about this book was the humor. At one point, Don Juan is climbing a tree to reach a woman’s bedroom. As the rough bark digs into his hands, he tells himself that one day, he will seduce a woman on the ground floor.
As one would expect, sex plays a large part in this book. The Lost Diary of Don Juan is very sensual but never crass. The prose seems, on occasion, a little too flowery, but the compelling story tends to compensate for much of the florid language.
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