G.P. Putnam’s Sons
Published March 10, 2016
ISBN: 0399184260 (ISBN13: 9780399184260)
Judith Rashleigh is an ambitious social climber with a love of class, art, and fashion. At her job in a prestigious London art house, she stumbles into a case of fraud, and her boss fires her before she can expose it. Moonlighting at a champagne hostess club, she convinces a rich client to take her and an acquaintance to the French Riviera, where things begin to spiral quickly. Because neither woman really wants to spend the evening with their rich but unattractive benefactor, they hatch a plot to drug his evening champagne.
Things progress almost predictably from here to Judith jet setting around Europe, hoping not to be tied to the man’s death. Conning more rich men to pay for her shopping habit while cadging money to pay for her dream of starting her own small art house. Naturally, she wanders back into the fraud case that started it all, and manages to turn things to her advantage.
Maestra is a book about a really horrible person. Part American Psycho, part Sex in the City, part The Goldfinch with a dash of Fifty Shades. Judith is horribly shallow, sociopathic, and self-absorbed. She hates fat people, poor people, and gets awfully comfortable with murder. It’s much like a spectacular car wreck–once you get started, it’s hard to look away. It’s not what I’d normally grab to read, but it was definitely…diverting? More than once, I found myself saying out loud “Oh my god…it she really going to…yes, yes she is.” There’s more than a few scenes that will make some uncomfortable, there’s a near assault scene that reads like it’s geared to generate some sympathy for the character–because otherwise, Judith was not a character a reader will have much engagement with?–but it more falls a bit flat.
JL Jamieson is a strange book nerd who writes technical documents by day, and book news, reviews, and other assorted opinions for you by night. She is working on her own fiction, and spends time making jewelry to sell at local conventions, as well as stalking the social media accounts of all your favorite writers.