“The Sixteen Pleasures is set in Florence, Italy in the 1960's. Margot, a 29 year old woman, a book conservator, feels compelled to travel to flood ravaged Florence in order to offer her restoration skills to a multinational effort. She leaves behind the home she shared with her father and a job at a library practicing her trade.
She gets swept up by Italy all over again. She lived in Florence with her mother as a teenager, attending school there, and growing up amongst other Italians. Her memories of Italy come flooding back, but with them come more painful ones about the Ivy League education that couldn't be and her mother's fatal illness. In turmoil over these memories, she throws herself into her book conservation at a library located within a convent.
This library was given to the convent as part of the "dowry" of a wealthy de Medici woman. Unbeknownst to the sisters, their library contained a rare book of Renaissance erotica, which was hidden in the middle of a prayer book. All copies of this book were thought to have been destroyed through a Papal decree. The book is entrusted to Margot, who has plans to somehow make some money from the book in order to help the sisters (and perhaps herself). She lovingly restores it and puts her plan into action.
Meanwhile, she becomes romantically involved with Dr. Sandro Postiglione, a specialist in art restoration. He is married, but is trying to obtain an annulment. Margot lets him into the secrets of the book, and her plans for it. Despite his love for Margot, Sandro isn't completely honest with her....
I loved all the details in this book. There were passages concerning book restoration, art restoration, annulments, and Italian life. I really felt for Margot, as I was once a somewhat lost young woman like her....I found myself scolding her for getting involved with Sandro, and cheering for her final triumph. I also loved revisiting Florence in my mind's eye.
A great read!”