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The Sixteen Pleasures
by Robert Hellenga

This engrossing novel follows the adventures of Margot Harrington, a book conservator who travels to Italy in 1966 to help recover and restore rare and antique books after the flood in Florence. Margot begins working in a convent, where a rare and valuable book of Renaissance erotica is discovered. As she restores the book and becomes involved with the process of selling it, Margot also beings a passionate affair with an older man, an art restorer also working in Florence.
I loved the way Hellenga treated Margot's love affair and her work restoring the book with an equal amount of detail, passion, and sensuality. I also really liked Margot, especially her bravery in following her dreams and longings, and her bravery in facing herself and getting on with her life even in the face of deep loss. I also happy about the way the book, its restoration, and its sale, not her love affair and its ending, are the drivers for Margot's self-discovery and emerging control over her own life.


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