Wednesday, October 2, 2013

The Lost Diary of Don Juan by Douglas Carlton Abrams Book Review

Paperback: 336 pages
Publisher: Washington Square Press; Reprint edition (July 1, 2008)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1416532528
ISBN-13: 978-1416532521

Book Synopsis:   In a time of discovery and decadence, when the gold that poured endlessly into the port of Sevilla devalued money, marriage, and love itself, young Juan Tenorio was abandoned and raised by nuns. He grew up loving and worshipping all women, but a clandestine affair with one of the sisters forces him to leave the Church-and his plans for the priesthood-forever. Juan becomes a spy, as well as the world's greatest libertine. But far from the heartless seducer that legend recounts, he seeks liberation and redemption as much as personal pleasure and gratification. He begins to keep a diary of his greatest adventures and the Arts of Passion he has mastered. The most perilous adventure of all-the irresistible fall into the madness of love with the only woman who could ever make him forget all others-finally compels him to confess everything. Douglas Carlton Abrams's magical debut novel captures the heart of the Spanish Golden Age and the secret life of the world's greatest lover-Don Juan-who came to embody the spirit that would inflame the modern age.

This year has really been a great one for me, and let me tell you why. In the past, if someone would have suggested a historical fiction book to me I would have told them that it wasn't my kind of book. All of these years I have steered clear of books of this nature because while in school history was the subject that I liked the least. It is amazing what books like this can do, as now I jump at the chance to read books about history, fiction or not. I admit going in that I didn't know a whole lot about the legendary Don Juan. Just the same information that most of the general public knows...a true ladies man but not one to stay with one woman for any period of time.

This book certainly gives the readers a new look into this man - he truly loved women and his goal was to bring them pleasure by getting them to feel confident about themselves and their bodies. I loved the way this book was written, it sheds a new light on this story and really makes me want to dig into the history of Don Juan and find out more about him. Although this book is about Don Juan, Douglas does an excellent job of depicting 16th century Spain. One of my favorite part in the book is when Fray Ignacio comes to the convent to speak to the nuns about there being a heretic among them. After he questions the nuns, he decides to take one of them-Hermana Jeronima back to the headquarters of the Holy Office in Sevilla where she would be questioned further. She was being taken to the Inquisition...how horrifying! This book was an excellent read, and with its fast pace made for a delightful weekend read. I would highly recommend it.

About the author: Douglas Carlton Abrams is a former editor at the University of California Press and HarperSanFrancisco. He is the co-author of a number of books on love, sexuality, and spirituality, including books written with Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Yogacharya B.K.S. Iyengar, and Taoist Master Mantak Chia. He lives in Santa Cruz, California, with his wife and three children. In his life and work, he is interested in cultivating all aspects of our humanity —body, emotions, mind, and spirit. His goal in writing fiction is to create stories that not only entertain, but also attempt to question, enchant, and transform. Doug’s desire in writing the book was not only to resurrect this greatest of historical lovers and to give voice to his true motives; he was also moved to write a book that would explore the tension between lust and love and that would confront the human question of how any man or woman can find lifelong satisfaction in one committed relationship. To find out more about the origins of The Lost Diary and the myth of Don Juan, and to learn about forthcoming novels, please visit www.LostDiaryofDonJuan.com or www.DouglasCarltonAbrams.com.

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