Melissa Rea

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Melissa Rea has degrees in psychology with a minor in French, is an amateur Casinovist. A dedicated researcher, she has read Histoire de Ma Vie many times in English and in its original Archaic French. She traveled to Paris to see the handwritten manuscript when it was displayed for the first time in over two hundred years, and has stayed in the hotel in Venice that was Giacomo Casanova’s home for nine years. Originally from Louisiana, Rea has a degree in dentistry from the University of Missouri-Kansas City. She practices in St. Louis where she lives with her husband, and is at work on her third novel. When not drilling, reading or writing, she is in search of the next Madmen/50s era dress and a matching bon mot.

Conjuring Casanova Cover

Conjuring Casanova

BY Melissa Rea • POSTED ON June 7, 2015

A lonely doctor conjures up a famous lover in Rea’s time-traveling romance.

Dr. Elizabeth Hillman has an obsession with the past. She immerses herself in the 12-volume memoir of the legendary Italian lover Giacomo Casanova in an attempt to escape her memories of devastating breakups and a stressful job as an ER doc. In the wake of a tragic death, Lizzy escapes from Chicago to modern-day Venice for some needed time off. Somehow, her tears manage to summon Casanova through the centuries, and he appears on her hotel rooftop in 2016. What follows is an entertaining—and often steamy—update for the infamous lover boy. Casanova seems to take the trappings of modern society in stride. Lizzy helps him update his wardrobe, arranges for a thorough teeth cleaning, and doses him with a course of antibiotics to clear up any lingering STDs. Casanova lives up to his reputation, offering Lizzy comfort and support while seducing any female within sight. Despite her best efforts, she finds herself falling for Casanova’s smooth moves, sharp intellect, and, eventually, amazing talents in the bedroom. Though Casanova might not be able to stay, he teaches Lizzy a thing or two about life and love. Rea offers a small spin on the popular time-travel trope by bringing the past to the very near future. The narrative is full of the practical—and often humorous—problems that arise when one meets an 18th-century libertine; his predilection for young girls, for example, was more acceptable in the 18th century than in the 21st. In addition, Rea sprinkles bits of well-researched history amid the romantic tension, working in specific details from Casanova’s life, such as his appreciation of intelligent women. A trip to Paris provides some of the most satisfying parts of the book. Casanova reminiscences on the Paris of old are entertaining, and the city provides a satisfying romantic conclusion after all of the flirtation. Though falling in love with an infamous playboy may be ill-advised, Rea makes it seem like a wonderful idea.

A light, enjoyable romp through time.

Pub Date: June 7, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-63152-056-3

Publisher: She Writes Press

Review Posted Online: Nov. 24, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2015