Reading has always been a passion of mine, however I’ve neglected my bookshelf of late. When my friend Lesley told me about her book club, I immediately convinced her into starting another one with me and Nikki (and Sarahjane for #2)! I’m also quite happy with my status of ‘Reader’ again as (in an academic environment) it suggests I have a better job than a PhD, ha!
The first book selected for us to immerse ourselves in was ‘Maestra’ by L. S. Hilton. New out for March 2016, this one had caught the eyes of both Nikki and Lesley, so we agreed it was a good place to start. I picked up my copy from Waterstones for £12.99, but you could probably get it cheaper, as the paperback is now available. It is also available on the Kindle, but I prefer to go ‘old school’ with my reading!
When it comes to choosing a new book, I’m always sceptical about leaving my usual comfort zone. Anything that doesn’t involve zombies or vampires often doesn’t appear on my radar, but being part of a book club will hopefully widen my search area and introduce me to some hidden gems of the literary world!
The book begins with a brief prologue (which I later learned was an excerpt from a future chapter) and immediately drops the c bomb – a particularly lovely swear word that always makes me cringe! After this revelation, I was not surprised when the rest of the novel contained various sex scenes and sexual references, although both Lesley and Nikki felt most of this was unnecessary – warn your grannies now!
The rest of the novel follows Judith Rashleigh, an art graduate employed in a London gallery, as she struggles to make a life for herself under a difficult employer. After a chance encounter with an old school friend, a series of events are set in motion, pushing Judith out of her comfort zone and down a path from which there is no turning back. Travelling across Europe, she is exposed to a life she could only dream of, but how far would she go to get what she wants?
The book is described as ‘the most shocking thriller you’ll read this year’, a statement I would mostly agree with. Throughout the plot, I was continually surprised by the various ways Judith responded to situations, and also by her complete lack of remorse for any of her actions. All major plot points were cleverly disguised and then expertly sprung upon me as I read on, unsuspecting. Despite having two months to read the story, I was done within a couple of weeks and would have been done sooner if work hadn’t got in the way!
While we all agreed that the continual twists and turns made for an exciting read, both Nikki and Lesley felt that the plot was a little far-fetched, with a lot of unnecessary waffle. Despite this, I thoroughly enjoyed it and would give it 4.5/5! When I buy a book, I expect to feel immersed in its world and this book did that perfectly. For weeks after putting it down, I was planning my European mini-break and admiring all the designer clothing I wish I had the money to buy! There are even whispers of a movie adaptation, so I know it will be high on my list of future cinema trips!
Our next book is my choice and more suited to my regular comfort zone – ‘The Walking Dead – Rise of the Governor’ by Robert Kirkman and Jay Bonansinga. Join us again in July to see how this one turns out!