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The Sixteen Pleasures: A Novel

The Sixteen Pleasures - Robert Hellenga A pleasant, complex, tale of an American book restorer who volunteers her services in 1966 to save some water-damaged rare books after a flood in Tuscany, Italy. In a rural convent, she discovers a rare antique work of erotic fiction, whose sale could save the convent's financial problems... but of course the nuns are ambivalent about the sale of such a work, and are bound by church law to surrender their windfall to the Vatican. As a side plot, the heroine falls for an older Italian fellow, which is portrayed in an intimate (but not lurid) style. Overall this is an excellent tale, which is very underrated. There seems to be a perception that this work is a "chick book", but that is an unfair, reductive dismissal of a perfectly good read for anybody.