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This book is described on the cover as a thriller. And it is, although the thrilling bits are interspersed with details about clothes and designers, class aspirations, information about the fine art world, the history of particular paintings and large chunks of erotica.  Shades of Grey is so last year!  Despite finding the story disjointed, it was an easy read – a page turner in fact with a trail of intrigue spreading through the flesh pots of Europe.  And between the thrilling bits chapters with the next fascinating expose about the art world, the world of the ultra rich in Europe and another chunk of heavy breathing erotica.

The heroine has several names as the story progresses but she begins as Judith.  She’s not a likeable person with tendencies similar to some spiders but to say more would be a spoiler alert…….I was amazed at how much she learnt – one assumes from the Internet – about an extraordinary range of topics which wouldn’t have been included in an English degree from Oxford. And reading about the swingers parties was truly fascinating! How the other half lives – perhaps! 

Maestra is the first of three books and it will be interesting to see if Lisa Hilton can maintain the tension throughout the next two.  Before Maestra she wrote some well respected historical fiction so this new book is a real change of direction.  One wonders if Maestra is part autobiography. Lisa Hilton came from NW England and so does Judith.   They both read English at Oxford and studied art in France and Italy before working with one of the big art dealers in London.  However Lisa describes herself as a sedate single mother with a ten year old daughter.

Judith is a complex character always trying to be what she isn’t, in class terms. She strives to speak properly, wear the right clothes and has very little empathy for anyone – especially herself.

No doubt there is much more money to be made from erotica.  In fact the film rights for the book have already been sold. The sedate single mother will be able to afford a different life style now!

Author L.S. Hilton
Publisher Bonnier
ISBN 9781785760839
Distributor Allen & Unwin
Released March 2016