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In Lucia's Eyes    by Arthur Japin order for
In Lucia's Eyes
by Arthur Japin
Order:  USA  Can
Knopf, 2005 (2005)

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* *   Reviewed by Kerrily Sapet

In his memoirs, Giacomo Casanova described Lucia as the first of only two women he'd wronged. He wrote of Lucia as his great love, telling of their meeting in Pasiano, Italy, her betrayal, and their encounter later in life by which time she had become repulsive. Arthur Japin's In Lucia's Eyes tells Casanova's story through Lucia. What led to her betrayal and the breaking off of their engagement? What happened that she became worse than ugly, in Casanova's words?

Beautiful Lucia first meets Giacomo when she is a servant girl in an Italian manor. They fall deeply in love and become engaged. While Giacomo is in Venice, Lucia is suddenly disfigured by smallpox. Not wanting to hamper her beloved's life, she pretends to have run off with another man. For sixteen years she wanders Europe working at any job she can - finally becoming a much sought after, veiled courtesan. Eventually she crosses paths with Giacomo Casanova again. By this time he has become the stuff that male legend is made of. He wagers that she cannot find a woman who is worse for her relationship with him. Lucia accepts the bet and struggles with both her past and her love.

Arthur Japin beautifully unfolds Lucia's story. He skillfully weaves in the known facts about Lucia's life before she moved to America, becoming Lucy Jamieson and, interestingly, bearing a son named Jacob. Japin has created a wonderful work, blending history and romance, and spinning Casanova's life from a female point of view.

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