The Lost Diary of Don Juan
The Lost Diary of Don Juan is a fresh, new imagining of a legendary character. Don Juan is made for historical fiction, especially if he’s given a pagan philosopher’s gloss. Abrams transforms his Juan from a cruel seducer, a man who coldly kept lists of his conquests, into a charming and sympathetic lover.
Born poor, this Juan has climbed literally into a new life. Beginning as a boy burglar, he is patronized by a Marquis, who uses Juan’s skills at spying and stealing to blackmail his own way to power at the corrupt Spanish court of Philip II. Juan is a faithful servant; he becomes a favorite of his dissolute benefactor, and is rewarded with the gentleman’s attribution by which we know him. These conquests by the hero are not only motivated by lust, but are also portrayed as acts of mercy. The women of 16th-centurySpain are utterly repressed and powerless, and there are plenty of unhappy, neglected wives, war widows, and virgins facing either loveless marriages or the convent for Juan to liberate. Of course, the trap which Nature sets in a life of episodic sexual pleasure is Love. Don Juan finally meets the one woman to whom he can be true. Unfortunately, his choice sets him at odds with his patron, who has his own plans for the lady.
The story is replete with period flair, elegant language, and the musings of the hero as he ponders the equation of love and lust—often while caressing a woman’s body. The Lost Diary of Don Juan is both what you’d expect and a great deal more. If you start this one, you won’t be able to stop.