The Sixteen Pleasures Summary & Study Guide

Robert Hellenga
This Study Guide consists of approximately 35 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of The Sixteen Pleasures.
This section contains 471 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
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The Sixteen Pleasures Summary & Study Guide Description

The Sixteen Pleasures Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:

This detailed literature summary also contains Topics for Discussion and a Free Quiz on The Sixteen Pleasures by Robert Hellenga.

"The Sixteen Pleasures" by Robert Hellenga is a novel filled with art, intrigue, and self-discovery. Margot Harrington, age 29, decides to fly from Chicago, where she lives, to Italy. She plans to help repair old books that were damaged when the Arno River flooded. In Italy, Margot learns about religion, love, comes to terms with her mother's death, and learns about convent living.

Margot spent time in Italy with her mother when Margot was younger. It was a very happy period of her life where her future looked golden. Life took a harsh turn and Rita's mother died. Now Margot is back in Italy surrounded by the memories.

She works with people from Harvard, a school she almost attended herself. She is a translator and she gets to work sharing her book restoration knowledge with students. Margot meets a man who restores paintings who takes a great interest in her life. Through his connections, she finds a place to stay long-term, a convent.

Margot has a gift for book restoration. She is working in the convent, trying to repair flood-damaged books in the convent library. It is strange for her since she is not religious and publicly announces the fact. While she is in the convent, she develops close relationships with the nuns and comes to greatly respect and admire them. While Margot is working in the library, they find a rare book, which the abbess shows her. It is a pornographic book from a famous artist and it is the only copy left since the book was banned. The abbess asks Margot to take the book to determine a value for it.

Seeing it as the adventure of her life, Margot lovingly restores the book while keeping it out of the greedy bishop's hands. He has heard about the book and she foils him by giving him a copy of another old book while she restores the Aretino. As she is doing this, she is growing as a person and learning about love.

Life is looking wonderful once again for Margot after many years of darkness. Then she is betrayed. This time, she finds the will inside herself to go on with life. She sticks to her original goal of getting the rare book to auction and using the money to help the nuns at the convent. This takes a serious amount of planning and strategy since she has to prove that the book came from out of the country. She also has to arrange finances so that the bishop never gets hold of the donation.

Margot finds a way to accomplish all this. As she does so and as she travels around, she is able come to terms with her mother's death. She also learns to appreciate her family and home at an entirely different level.

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This section contains 471 words
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