A Terrific Beach Read – 5 Stars for CONJURING CASANOVA by Melissa Rea – BOOK REVIEW



Author: Melissa Rea

Type of Book: Softcover

Genre: Fiction

Length: 259 pages

Release Date: June 2015

Publisher: She Writes Press

Cover Design: Julie Metz

Print ISBN: 978-1-63152-056-3

Price: $16.95 USD

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

I’m not quite sure how to start this book review. There is so much to say about CONJURING CASANOVA that it is difficult to figure out where to begin, so I will just dive right in.

Elizabeth “Lizzy” Hillman is a forty-nine year old Emergency Room Doctor who happens to be single and who also happens to have an obsession with the eighteenth century and one of its most notorious inhabitants – Giacomo Casanova.

I can’t think of anyone who has not heard of Casanova. Even if you don’t know much (or anything at all) about the actual historical figure of Casanova, his name is synonymous with being a “ladies man.” Lizzy is fascinated by his memoir and spends all her free time reading about his exploits.


This is the sexy Casanova himself - obviously female tastes have changed over the centuries.

After a horrific day in the emergency room where a seven year old girl died, Lizzy returns home to try to escape the sadness of her day in the only way she knows how; with her favorite man: Giacomo Casanova. Lizzy believed that “Casanova was all male. Reading his memoir was like having a man for a friend without any risk to her heart.”

After being forced to take a vacation, Lizzy decides to head to Venice to explore the many places she has read about in Casanova’s memoir. 

Staying at a hotel where Casanova once lived two hundred years earlier, Lizzy finds herself giving in to self-pity on the rooftop terrace where breakfast is now served by the hotel staff.

When the real Casanova suddenly appears at her side, chivalrously holding out a handkerchief for her to use to dry her tears, Lizzy is appropriately stunned.

Casanova is Casanova and even in the twenty-first century he oozes both charm and sexuality. But, Lizzy is too smart (and too jaded) to fall for what she considers his ‘act’.

But, she has a problem (well, several problems actually) how the heck is she going to send him back to where he belongs?

This book is a fun-filled romp that carries the reader along on Lizzy’s journey of unexpected self-discovery and world travels. From the gritty, real world of a Chicago Emergency room where children die for no good reason to the majesty that is the modern city of Venice, readers will be afraid to put this book down for fear of having to come back to their own reality.

As I found when I began reading this book, the author is a ‘quote-machine’. She throws out tiny pearls of wisdom as she writes that had me saving quotes right from the first chapter. Not only did she include many meaningful quotes in her writing, but she also included some terrific one-liners. I have included a few of my favorites at the end of this review.

Melissa Rea has a gift for describing people. With only a few sentences she is able to describe a character so vividly that you would swear to be looking at a photograph rather than reading a book. A perfect example of this is her description of Lizzy’s cleaning lady: “Roxanne had an athletic figure that made it impossible to guess her age, and three-inch braids all over her head that made her look like a hedgehog or a sea urchin, if either had gorgeous brown eyes and a bright generous smile. Today she wore a little lime green rompers that made her skin look even more like a big cup of hot chocolate, brown and comforting.”

Obviously this book is pure fantasy and escapism, but that is exactly what makes it such a perfect ‘Beach Read’. 


Photo obtained from the author's Twitter page

Have you ever had a conversation with friends where you were asked; “If you could have dinner with only one person,  living or dead, who would it be?” This book takes that concept to the next level. 

I enjoyed the story for what it is; a fun, light-hearted fantasy. This book is entertaining. The author has done a good job of including details from the eighteenth century but the entire process of Casanova becoming acclimated to life in the twenty-first century is glossed over. But, if the author had focused on those details I believe it would have weighed down the story so, in this instance it works.

I am rating CONJURING CASANOVA as 5 out of 5 stars.🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

I received a free copy of this book through the Goodreads Giveaway program.


“Things did not have to last forever to bring happiness.”

Her vagina was certainly not unhappy, just a little lonely.”  

“He loved women like modern men loved NASCSR, football, and corporate takeovers…”

“It surprised her how much it still hurt to think of her mother’s death after a year, and how little gin helped. No one deserved lung cancer, no matter how much they smoked.”

“Lizzy noted that the big mama spider-vein on her thigh must have had babies over the winter.”

“…Lizzy had decided long ago; priorities were priorities. If she only had money for one, a cleaning lady took precedence over food.”

“The man and the dream were never the same.”



Melissa Rea hss a degree in psychology with a minor in French and is an amateur Casanovist.

A dedicated researcher, she has read Giacomo Casanova’s memoir 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 studied dentistry at 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 

To learn more about Melissa Rea and her books visit her online:

Official Melissa Rea Website