What Casanova Told Me
Luce Adams, a twenty-seven-year-old archivist, travels to present-day Venice to attend her mother’s memorial at the request of her mother’s still-grieving partner. Luce is also tasked with delivering documents dating from 1797 to a Venetian archive. In one of these documents, Asked For Adams, niece of John Adams, details a business trip to Venice with her father and rather dull fiancé. Asked For’s journal interests the Venetians because of her relationship with an elderly though still virile Casanova. But the journal’s impact on Luce goes beyond interest in her ancestors. By following Asked For’s path in Venice, Luce meets people who affect her life, most notably by introducing her to Ender Mecid. A scholar from Istanbul, Ender helps Luce translate a letter in Italian that was found with Asked For’s journal. The letter continues the chronicle of Asked For’s travels, and Ender and Luce form a connection as they discover Asked For’s fate.
The two stories intertwine as Luce reads from the journal, which is presented as indented text throughout the novel, while she travels through Venice, Athens, and Istanbul. Swan provides opportunities for comparison between the two young Adams ladies, adeptly conveying their feelings of awkwardness. Both women have parental issues to resolve and dispositions stronger than they ever imagined.
Readers will be sure to enjoy this gentle book about relationships, love, and finding contentment with what one has been given.