A review: Maestra – L. S. Hinton

I’ll be honest, I had no idea what this novel was about when I picked it up. It was earlier in December on one of my usual hunts through the charity shops – that are plentiful in the town I live in. I’d seen it on the tables at work ( I work in a bookshop; living the dream) and the blurb was intriguing enough that when I spotted a nice hardback version in one of the charity shops, I picked it up for a lovely £1.50.

Maestra follows Judith Rashleigh, who works at one of the ‘big two’ art auction houses in London. When she runs into an old school friend whilst waiting for the tube, her life dramatically changes into one she had always wanted – just with considerably darker tones.

This review has zero spoilers but will contain a lot of ranting.

As we follow the unraveling life of Judith, you will realise two things; firstly, the character of Judith Rashleigh is incredibly unlikeable. Secondly, she is rather unreliable as a narrator. Her motivations for the atrocities she commits are outrageously unjustified and eventually, it boils down to her doing it simply because she wants to because she can. Her self-righteous and self-important attitude are draining and I quickly lost any empathy that I had from the beginning few chapters of the book. She quickly manifests as the ugly side of humanity.
Honestly, I have no idea what, if any, message this book was trying to portray – there was no moral, no underlying tone; other than greed and getting what you want, when you want. It’s incredibly indulgent in that respect. There’s a lot of brand name dropping – she sure does like her designers, her couture. The superficial overlay only adding the shallow, unlikable nature of the character.
She makes it all look very easier when in fact it’s very calculated. She seemingly hops from country to country as if it were as easy as going from London to Manchester. From Paris, Rome and a few stops in between, we get to see the flair with which our main character believes her life should be. The romantic ideals that she obviously sees herself through – this VIP lifestyle that she oh so deserves.
It felt a lot like American Psycho, mixed with Fifty Shades of Grey, mixed with Gone Girl. Which, admittedly, would sound like an interesting combination, it just doesn’t quite work this time around
The sometimes incredibly random and rather explicit sex scenes are really nothing more than gratuitous and they do not seem to forward the plot at all, other than sharing some insight into the MC’s background and her dubious motivations.

I don’t really know what to do with this book, I don’t know if it was attempting to be edgy and/or shocking, trying to make some form of social commentary and I just happen to be missing the point entirely – and if one of you want to kindly point me in the right direction please feel free to do so!
Overall, this book was not for me, although it obviously did something right as I read in within the time space of a few days and found myself unable to put it down, I was absorbed.


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