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(Maestra #1)

2.84  ·  Rating details ·  13,628 ratings  ·  1,886 reviews
A shockingly original thriller - the launch title of Zaffre, the new fiction imprint of Bonnier Publishing Fiction

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 We
Hardcover, UK, 343 pages
Published March 10th 2016 by Zaffre
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Chris Lewis The bin! Plenty of great books have recently come out so please don't waste pleasurable reading time on this drivel!…moreThe bin! Plenty of great books have recently come out so please don't waste pleasurable reading time on this drivel!(less)
Chris Lewis I would imagine the author felt there was some educational element to the book. When I hurled it in the bin half read, after being thoroughly disappoi…moreI would imagine the author felt there was some educational element to the book. When I hurled it in the bin half read, after being thoroughly disappointed with an appalling book, I did say something along the lines of "Well that's taught me a lesson..." so maybe she achieved her aim......(less)

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Average rating 2.84  · 
Rating details
 ·  13,628 ratings  ·  1,886 reviews

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Apr 21, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This novel is incoherent nonsense. There is a GLIMMER of an interesting idea about rage and class that is destroyed by utter claptrap. The plot makes NO sense. It is choppy. The protagonist hates fat people, or maybe it's the writer, and that's fine, but in the early going it's quite distracting. Then there is the extravagant name brand dropping. The absurd twists that aren't really twists, but perhaps, limp shifts in direction. Nothing in the book is shocking. THIS BOOK DOESN'T MAKE ANY SENSE A ...more
Megan Johnson
I'm going to start from an unconventional place - the ending. (Don't worry, I won't give anything away.) For me, I can love a book but the ending will ruin it if I don't feel it's done well. Alternatively, as is the case for this book, I can like a book alright but the ending makes it so fulfilling that I find myself loving it.

In this book, I enjoyed the story (didn't love it), I was fascinated by the pacing (but didn't find myself unable to put it down)...and yet the ending will be what has me
Wendy Darling
After an uneven start, this became surprisingly entertaining, though it's not a "good" book by any stretch of the imagination, mostly because of the abundance of humorless, meant-to-be shocking sex.

But it's enjoyably sociopathic (or psychopathic, depending on how you interpret the MC's behavior), and it's an interesting/different thriller because of its backdrop of stolen art, expensive clothes and meals, money laundering, and assorted hustlers. I was surprised to see the door left open for ano
Jan 08, 2016 rated it did not like it
Shelves: misc-fiction
"50 Shades" meets "The Goldfinch," but not in a good way. ...more
May 20, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Like a person hypnotized by the evil Count Dracula, I knew what I was doing was wrong, but I was inexplicably compelled to keep going until I was finished. But in this instance, the compulsion was to continue reading Maestra by L.S. Hilton. On some level I believe I would have been happier just opening the attic window and allowing a centuries old vampire (in the guise of a black bat) into my home to savage my family, ultimately turning them into the living dead rather than to keep turning the p ...more
Liz Barnsley
Feb 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Maestra is fabulous darling.

There has been a lot of hype surrounding this title, the first from Bonnier's crime imprint Zaffre, so it was with great interest that I dived into this one and I was immediately and unequivocably absorbed into Judith's world - an artistic world in more ways than one.

Sometimes all it takes to make a book bang on is a decent main character. Well Judith is that and then some - passionate and perfect, the very definition of girl power but with added mayhem. Seemingly pas
Jenny (Reading Envy)
Jan 26, 2016 marked it as did-not-finish
Quit at 30%. It felt like the author really wanted to write about the art world but felt it wasn't interesting enough so created a dark (but unbelievable) underbelly for the main character. The trashy sex scenes did not save the rest of the novel for me, partially because they feel shoved in to keep the reader interested. Sex does not sustain a novel, at least for me, unless it shows something about the character, and she isn't connecting with anyone. Instead those scenes are like the background ...more
Judy D Collins
A special thank you to Penguin and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

L. S. Hilton's MAESTRA --What is not to love about art theft, a female fatale, a psychological mystery crime thriller? Right? Unfortunately, not what I received. Had higher expectations.

Many of you may not agree with my review. To each their own opinion; however, rather than glossing over, my honest thoughts.

The set up was great. The first part of the book, was entertaining and grabbed my attention.
Apr 19, 2016 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: absolutely no one
Well, flagging my review for alleged nudity (come on, Mr Bean in knickers? He's a national treasure!) even though the book's cover alludes to female genitalia and the content is anything but chaste and prim, isn't going to keep this review offline. The time some people have on hand...


50 Shades meets Dexter. Another computer-tailored "bestseller" mix-and-meshing allegedly established bestseller "recipes" while trying to create hype through breaking taboos by a cool
Maestra is the first installment in an untitled erotic thriller trilogy authored by L.S. Hilton (Lisa Hilton). This novel follows the female lead: Judith as she navigates her bank account, social status, and her pleasure exactly where she sees fit. She exploits her sex appeal and manipulates people and circumstances to get what she wants - she is unapologetic and I loved that. Judith is a dark, driven woman with no shame. I believe this may be exactly the [extreme] point Ms. Hilton is trying
Kylie Westaway
Jan 18, 2016 rated it did not like it
I found myself pushing to get through this, as it was poorly written and the story was badly constructed. The main character, Judith, starts out as a low-paid assistant in an auction house, and very quickly, with no motivation or character development, becomes a thief and a murderer. Her character is never sketched out, we are never even told what she looks like (beyond that she thinks she is too beautiful to have female friends, they would be too jealous of her), and she sleeps her way around I ...more
Mar 27, 2016 rated it really liked it
Judith Rashleigh who is in her mid 30's, works in one of the top art auction houses in London. Her job though is not that glamorous as an entry level doormat, doing all medial tasks and copping constant humiliation. Judith wants to make a name for herself with the most wealthiest, pretentious and unscrupulous clients but after falling broke is forced to take on a second job in a men's bar. Little does she know this will be the unlikely ticket she needs to riches at a cost.

After travelling with a
Apr 18, 2016 rated it really liked it
What can I say about Maestra? It is entertaining and gives us an anti heroine we can get behind. That is Judith, by the way. Finding herself blocked from progressing in the art world that she wanted so much, she discovers that she can happily murder to gain access to the world of the wealthy and their lifestyles. After having been fired after she comes across fraud, Judith takes a job in a bar where its her job to tempt clients to order as much champagne as possible. A client invites her to the ...more
Bill Kupersmith
Jun 09, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book would make excellent reading for Booker Prize judges because like real Booker Prize winners, it has lots of allusions to the history of art, but unlike real Booker Prize winners, it’s actually fun to read. It rather reminded me of a mixture of Patricia Highsmith, Ian Fleming, Sex and the City, and E. H. Gombrich. If you’re pursuing a degree in art history, you’re probably awfully tired of facetious bores intimating that your career prospects are limited to requesting of your clientele, ...more
“Drink from the fountain of love where every drop is eternal passion.”

----Mahogany SilverRain

L.S. Hilton, an English best selling author, has penned a sexy and extremely scandalous thriller, Maestra that narrates the story of a highly educated assistant auctioneer who starts working as a hostess for a shady nightclub to make her ends meet, but when an art dealing goes wrong with a client that makes her to lose her job due to her attitude of sniffing into a possible art fraud case, she plunges
1.5 stars

"Sex sells, Lisa! So do erotic trilogies! Just ask EL James. We're smelling film rights, baby. It's gonna be huge!!! Oh, yeah, ya gotta drop the 'Lisa'. From now on, you're LS Hilton! Smart, sexy and mysterious! A name befitting of your writing!"

So I'm sure went the round-table discussion/slobber-fest at GP Putnam's Sons/Zaffre after Ms. Hilton submitted the rough draft for her erotic thriller Maestra. I'm curious, though, if anyone in the publisher's office actually bothered to read t
Jun 26, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Looking through the other reviews they seem to run as 1,2 or 4 star ratings.
I can see why this is a love it or hate it book. If when you read a book you feel that you really need to relate to one of the characters, this book may not be for you. If you do relate to the main character,Judith Rasheigh... Please seek psychiatric help quickly, before it's to late.

1)I did find the book to be a very good adult thriller. There were some surprises along the way but I had no trouble keeping up with the s
Apr 09, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: trashy-fun
The Talented Mr Ripley meets 50 Shades of Grey meets The Goldfinch meets American Psycho. Reckon that sounds like an unappetising mix? Well, you're right. This started out fine but I was soon skim-reading. Blah blah designer clothes blah blah casual sex blah blah art fraud. And be warned: it ends 'to be continued'. ...more
Mar 01, 2016 rated it did not like it
Being ruthless, ambitious and gorgeous can be a dangerous combination – especially if you have absolutely no empathy or feelings. Judith Rashleigh worked hard in school and thought she had it made when she landed a job at a prestigious auction house in London, but she soon learns her job is far from glamorous. Broke and disheartened, she decides to moonlight at a champagne bar where she flirts with old men for commission on the overpriced champagne sales. She gets sacked from her day job when sh ...more

An unputdownable, 100% original, exquisitely written, erotic (with a dark edge) read. If you are the kind of reader who appreciates well written thrillers and tends to NOT over analyze fiction, definitely give this series a go!


Quick review for a truly abhorrent reading experience (for me). This was a random library read I picked up, and suffice to say I won't be reading the sequel to this.

*sighs* I'll put it like this: it's a bad sign when you have nothing good to say about a book upon finishing it, but it's even worse when the experience is so bad that you have little to nothing to say about it. Usually when I'm writing reviews about a book that I dislike, I have a plethora of things to say that was wrong with the ex
Jan 27, 2016 rated it it was ok
I was all set to give this book three stars, maybe even four. Yes, it was a trashy read. Yes, it had a lot of unnecessary graphic sex scenes. However, it was a zillion times better than 50 Shades of Grey (I think most trashy books are) and it was lots of fun to read. Judith, aka Lauren, aka whoever she felt like being, was a fun, sociopathic girl, with a wry sense of humor, and a scarily good head on her shoulders. I should read more books with jet-setting, murderous femme fatales like her. I ha ...more
CD {Boulder Blvd}
Jun 01, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: over-rated, dnf
I read the hype and decided to check this out of the library. It's now due back and after numerous attempts I admit defeat and list this as a DNF. I just couldn't get into it. I wasn't thrilled with the story, couldn't get into it, tried skipping pages, still a no and finally couldn't even tell what I had read and what I didn't.

I need to to tell myself not to read any "hype" about a book. For me, it's almost always wrong.
I'm in a funky reading mood, I've been trying several books and audiobooks and nothing works. I saw this one was available on the library overdrive so I downloaded it.

The beginning was decent, writing and story wise. Our heroine, Judith, is a British young woman from the North; she's moved to London and got a job in a well-known art auction house. She also works in a bar, as a hostess of sorts, getting men to buy expensive drinks. Initially, she appears prim and proper, just a hard-working, well
Cora Tea Party Princess
Mar 29, 2016 marked it as did-not-finish

Not really my cup of tea, I don't get the hype.
Bree T
Feb 24, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arc, psuedo-mystery
This book confused me.

And I don’t mean that I couldn’t follow the plot, because that was easy enough. It’s just….it felt very much like it wasn’t really sure what it wanted to be. It starts out innocently enough – Judith works for a very prestigious London art house, constantly subject to outrageous demands and exasperation when she cannot complete her impossible or vaguely related tasks. Born into poverty with a mother who drank, Judith has pulled herself up, moderating her speech to hide her b
Tracy Fenton
Mar 11, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This crime thriller set between the London Art World and Europe's Billionaire playboy scene is being hotly tipped to be as successful as 50SOG due to the explicit sexual exploits of the main character Judith. I had to read this book purely because of my FOMO and my early opinion was. ..OK then what's all the hype about?. Well I can confirm that comparisons to The Talented Mr Ripley would be reasonably accurate. This book primarily is an intelligent thriller with a strong female lead. The rather ...more
Rachel Hall
May 07, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Promoted as "the most shocking thriller you'll read this year", Maestra is certainly shocking, as in shockingly poor! Whilst I had no intention of buying this one I came across it in a bargain bin and thought I would see what I was missing.

Judith Rashleigh is a bullied and patronised assistant in one of the two major auction houses in London, busily seeking a passport to the realms of the upper classes that she seems to almost sycophantically admire. When Judith comes across an attempt by her em
Apr 20, 2016 rated it liked it
Maestra is the debut novel of author L.S.Hilton and if I am honest I was pulled in by the unrealistic and inaccurate claims in the advertising. 'The most shocking thriller you will read this year', I don't think so and not even close.
What I did get was an interesting and entertaining story with a plot that had many holes that I could forgive due to it been a debut novel. The hype really didn't help the author only in getting me to read it in the first place which maybe is seen as a good thing. B
Ashley Daviau
This book was quite a disappointment for me. I thought the idea was brilliant but the execution was really lacking. The unnecessary sex scenes is what killed it for me. This book had SO much going for it and it really didn’t need to have four page sex scenes to make it better. (I might be slightly exaggerating on how many pages they were) It could have stood much more solidly without that thrown in. The idea was so interesting and really had me hooked but the vulgar sex just spoiled it for me!
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L. S. Hilton grew up in England and has lived in Key West, New York City, Paris, and Milan. After graduating from Oxford, she studied art history in Paris and Florence. She has worked as a journalist, art critic, and broadcaster, and is presently based in London. ~ Penguin Books

Other books in the series

Maestra (3 books)
  • Domina (Maestra #2)
  • Ultima (Maestra, #3)

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