Books: Hammock Reading

THE ROMANCE OF CASANOVA (344 pp.) —Richard Aldington—Duell, Sloan & Pearce ($3).

Flirtatiously billed as "the story Casanova didn't dare to tell," Romance actually has no basis in the 18th Century swoonster's Memoirs. In place of truth, Author Aldington offers learned period sets (descriptions of settecento fortune telling, bills of fare, gambling), plenty of escapes and japes, ructions and seductions.

Aldington's Casanova found Henriette —the one real love of his life—in a Venetian canal, where she was drowning. He rescued her, but before he could even sear her lips with a kiss she was whisked home. When he finally found her again she...