Book Review: Maestra by L S Hilton


Fatal Attraction meets The Talented Mr Ripley, and soon to be a major Hollywood film – prepare for this year’s The Girl on the Train
By day Judith Rashleigh is a put-upon assistant at a London auction house.
By night she’s a hostess in one of the capital’s unsavoury bars.
Desperate to make something of herself, Judith knows she has to play the game. She’s learned to dress, speak and act in the interests of men. She’s learned to be a good girl. But after uncovering a dark secret at the heart of the art world, Judith is fired and her dreams of a better life are torn apart.
So she turns to a long-neglected friend.
A friend that kept her chin up and back straight through every past slight.
A friend that a good girl like her shouldn’t have: Rage.
The Talented Mr Ripley meets Gone Girl in this darkly decadent and compelling new thriller that asks:
Where do you go when you’ve gone too far?”

First things first – this book is VERY sexually explicit.  The prologue is set at a sex party, and the C word (the really rude one, not Christmas) is used in a gynaecological sense on page 2.  This sets the tone for the book, so if that’s not your bag, I would suggest you don’t even start reading this book.

It follows Judith (although she has other guises too) as the central character – but I have to say, I didn’t really like her.  I’m not sure I particularly liked anyone in the book at all!  Which does tie in with people comparing it to Gone Girl (although I’m not sure that was the reasoning for the comparison on the cover #everyoneisunlikeable)

The book jumps between fabulous locations – London, the French Riviera, Lake Como, Rome, Geneva, Paris – and you could almost see it being made a film (and I believe the film rights have already been sold).  Lots of the characters have fabulous lifestyles (materialistically at least #deep)with the author describing art in a very knowledgeable way – along with the clothes Judith wears – almost with a similar reverence.

I haven’t read 50 Shades (deliberately!) but from what I’ve heard (and who hasn’t heard) I think this seems to be trying to be a more cultured version of that – but with just as explicit sex scenes – wrapped up in a more highbrow arena, and with a female protagonist.

I was intrigued to find out what happened next and how the story developed – but I didn’t love this book.  I found the sex scenes a bit forced, almost as if they’d been written separately and slotted in to the book at various points to tick that box.  I also felt like the author was a bit ‘superior’ just in little things such as calling the Mona Lisa ‘La Gioconda’ – now, I know that’s the painting’s real name (although only because we went to see it in October!) but it’s not what people usually call it.

I also wouldn’t say it was a ‘thriller’ really – it was interconnecting stories of altogether not very nice people, with the link being artwork…….

All in all the book was ok – but I think has been totally over hyped in the press, and is a bit disturbing to be honest.

There is a sneak preview of the next book (it’s going to be a trilogy) at the end – and Judith is now masquerading as Elisabeth (with an S – like me!) – but even that may not tempt me to read it…….







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