Maestra – L.S. Hilton
16th March 2016, 352 pages, 3/5 stars
I will admit outright that I enjoyed this book far more than I expected to. But it was definitely a guilty kind of pleasure – I felt throughout that L.S. Hilton is trying to give pornographic fiction literary merit. And that just didn’t feel right for me…..
Allen and Unwin did a pretty great job with the promotion though – look at the mostly naked men handing them out at the beach!!!!! I couldn’t stop laughing when I saw these pictures; wish I’d been at the beach that day! 😛
The main character, Judith Rashleigh, was not likeable. However, her lavish lifestyle did make me consider high-class escorting as a career path – it would be nice to just be a ‘kept’ woman in the world of super yachts and weekends in the French Riviera. (I’m sure I’d get bored, but it was this fantasy that kept me hooked in the story…..) She doesn’t keep friends very well, so there isn’t really anyone else who sticks around for the whole book.
Judith is a dissatisfied assistant at an auction house, who supplements her income by providing company for lonely men. She doesn’t sleep with them though – she works in a club, and encourages men to buy expensive champagne while they talk to her.
When a weekend away goes very wrong, and a man ends up dead, Judith decides to take his money and run. She wants to live the life of luxury, and honestly who can blame her?! She slides into the social group of an obscenely wealthy man, and travels on his yacht for a while. But then she wants to get back into the art game, and a perfect hoax pops up on the scene.
There are a few twists and turns in the novel, but they didn’t tie together very well. A lot of the scenes appeared just for shock appeal. These included but were not limited to the sex parties Judith attended, where multiple partners at once was not uncommon. While I understand that erotica is one of the selling points for Maestra, it just felt too blatant.
I did get very very addicted to the story though, and devoured it in a matter of hours. While it will never attain the status of literary genius, it is an easy, guilty read, and I can definitely see why there are comparisons to Fifty Shades of Grey – don’t be fooled though; Maestra is much darker and grittier than Fifty Shades could ever be!
Sex. Murder. Shoes. A shockingly original and darkly decadent thriller – Gone Girl meets The Talented Mr Ripley.
Judith Rashleigh works as an assistant in a prestigious London auction house, but her dreams of breaking into the art world have been gradually dulled by the blunt forces of snobbery and corruption. To make ends meet she moonlights as a hostess in one of the West End’s less salubrious bars – although her work there pales against her activities on nights off.
When Judith stumbles across a conspiracy at her auction house, she is fired before she can expose the fraud. In desperation, she accepts an offer from one of the bar’s clients to accompany him to the French Riviera. But when an ill-advised attempt to slip him sedatives has momentous consequences, Judith finds herself fleeing for her life. Now alone and in danger, all Judith has to rely on is her consummate ability to fake it amongst the rich and famous – and the inside track on the hugely lucrative art fraud that triggered her dismissal.
Set in the exotic palaces and yachts of Europe’s seriously wealthy, Maestra is a shockingly original thriller. With a heroine as wickedly perceptive as Amy Dunne and as dangerous as Lisbeth Salander, this marks the beginning of a razor-sharp and meteoric sequence of novels that will have readers around the world on the edge of their seats and holding their breath.
Where does erotica fit into your reading habits? What are your guilty reads?