Set in the mid-18th century, Dutch author Japin's elegant second novel (after The Two Hearts of Kwasi Boachi) richly imagines the plight of Casanova's first youthful heartbreak. Lucia is 14 and a servant girl in a noble house in Pasiano, Italy, when she first meets the young seminarian visitor Giacomo Casanova, who is as virginal as she. They fall into a frolicsome love affair until Lucia contracts the dreaded smallpox. Horribly disfigured from the disease, she concocts a story to turn Giacomo away and flees her home to embrace adventures across Europe, in turn working as a servant, a secretary to an enlightened woman philosopher, and a prostitute, who "learned to accept what other women found intolerable." Years later, having reinvented herself as Galathee, a well-heeled madam in Amsterdam, she finds a mysterious liberation in the use of a veil to attract her clients and meets Casanova again, now the practiced seducer le Chevalier de Seingalt. Their mature affair is conducted in the form of a cynical wager, and they dance rhetorically around the tender feelings of their youth. Despite the awkward conceit of the prostitute's veil and the sometimes stilted language of this translation, Japin has incorporated Casanova's Story of My Life to beguiling effect. (Nov.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Now I'm reading Queenmaker by India Edghill. This novel is book one of a two-book series, the second novel being Wisdom's Daughter. I actually read the second book first, as my library didn't have the first one. Plus, on the back cover, there's a quote that says "Like The Red Tent, but better." I had to see it for myself. However, I'm really liking the first book just as much as I did the second! Here, again, is the B&N synopsis.
FROM THE PUBLISHER
For over forty years, Michal lived and reigned in David's court. She was the beautiful and proud daughter of King Saul and the prize David would risk his kingdom to win. Behind the palace doors, beneath the burning sun of the desert, or fleeing from Absalom's warriors, Michal was at the center of court intrigues.
Queenmaker introduces in unforgettable detail the characters of one of the greatest periods in Biblical history--their public deeds and private thoughts--and gives us the court of the kings as only a woman could see it.