Maestra: L S Hilton

This one is a bit of an interesting one. When I first picked up Maestra I was unaware to the contents and its nature. It was accompanied by an un-enlightening blurb. Picture the scene: I have got off a plane around 6am that morning in London, caught a tube to Kings Cross and sat in a coffee shop for a couple of hours, speaking to my parents for the first time in two months. Still disorientated, I browse for reading material and a newspaper – picking this up due to its suitably looking plot-iness and reading ease. I quite literally judged a book by its cover.

For those of you who do not know, Maestra is an erotic novel by Lisa Hilton, ironically a serious history writer. Perhaps I do have a promising career future after all? The book follows Judith Rashleigh, as she attempts to succeed in life – going from working two jobs at an auction house and as a cocktail girl at a nightclub, to a millionaire living in Paris. Along the way there is plenty of murder, art fraud and sunny European coastlines. As a person who read 50 Shades of Grey out of curiosity of its fame, I do not find written sex massively shocking, often it can be laughable. Whilst some of Hilton’s writing was cliche it was not the worst I have ever read, and was not fully essential to the plot – you could take or leave certain descriptions.

It is a gripping read. Interesting. I would not recommend if you cannot stand someone describing every brand they are wearing every time they get dressed. I kind of found that reminiscent of Patrick Bateman in American Psycho, with his obsessive lists of brands, skin routine or bands. Whether I would describe this as a psychological thriller is questionable though: is it something about a woman who shows few emotions that cannot be reconciled with literature? As I noted in one interview online with Hilton, she asks – does anyone wonder how James Bond feels?

As to sex – this is a very different female position to 50 Shades. If a woman is in control of her body and aware of how to use it to her advantage, does that render her less powerful to a man? In many ways this book perpetuates the idea of the male in control of the money and power, with women hanging on for dear life to climb or maintain their position. Is that inaccurate?

If you want something easy to read, with plot, and are not too squeamish about use of the c-word and sexy bits then this is probably the book for you.

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