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The Sixteen Pleasuresby Robert Hellenga
Synopses & Reviews
Margot Harrington is an American volunteer, an expert at book conservancy. While struggling to save a waterlogged convent library, she discovers a fabulous volume of sixteen erotic drawings by Giulio Romano that accompany sixteen steamy sonnets by Pietro Aretino. When published more than four centuries earlier, the Vatican had insisted all copies be destroyed. This one—now unique—volume has survived.
The abbess, with wonderful aplomb, prevails upon Margot to save the order’s finances by selling the magnificently illustrated erotica, discreetly. Meaning: without the bishop’s knowledge.
The young American’s other clandestine project is a middle-aged Italian who is boldly trying radical measures to save endangered frescoes. She is 29 and available: he, older and married. He shares her sense of mission and then her bed in this ambrosial story of spiritual longing and early desire.
Robert Hellenga was educated at the University of Michigan and Princeton University. His novels include The Fall of a Sparrow, Blues Lessons, The Italian Lover, and The Confessions of Frances Godwin. He is the recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship, two Illinois Arts Council grants, and a PEN Fiction Award.
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