Questions for Discussion
You may have come to the story with preconceived ideas about Giacomo Casanova, perhaps not knowing that “Casanova” was an historical man and not just a myth. Did the book challenge your view of him?
Some readers may find it shocking that the main character, Caterina, is fourteen years old. How do you think our culture views fourteen year-olds today, versus what is portrayed in the book? What were you like at this age?
Caterina persists in seeing herself as a wife despite Giacomo’s behavior. Were you sympathetic to her beliefs in the sacredness of their promises, or do you think she should have cast him off sooner? What would you have done in these circumstances?
How do you think Giacomo truly felt about Caterina?
Did you find anything about Marina to admire?
Caterina notes that “A woman with no children has to explain herself to society.” Do you think this is still true in our society? If yes, why do you think this idea persists, and if not, in what ways do you think this attitude has changed?
Caterina comes to see that she loves her husband, Bastiano, at least on some level. Do you think happiness and satisfaction can result from this kind of slow, rational realization, or is an instinctive physical attraction (such as Caterina experiences with Giacomo) necessary for true love?
What are the messages the author communicates to readers in telling this story?