Meet Judith Rashleigh, your new Anastasia Steele...
Until now, author Lisa Hilton has made a career as a historian and biographer, penning rigorously researched accounts of the lives of medieval queens and renaissance figureheads. But the Oxford-graduate’s latest work is a complete departure.
Enter Maestra, a fictional thriller that’s set to rival Fifty Shades of Grey in the sex stakes and pack as much punch as Gone Girl. The new book is tipped to be an addictive collision of sex, suspense, violence and intricate power plays.
So what’s the plot? Judith Rashleigh is Maestra’s protagonist – a woman determined to get what she wants in every sphere. She’s powerful socially, sexually and financially (she enjoys her body and doesn’t talk emotions), boasts an Oxbridge degree (just like the author) and a sought-after job in an influential London auction house.
So far, our reaction involves some shrugging and a ‘meh’ noise. Sounds a lot like a lot of what we’ve heard before. Need more persuading too?
Well, Maestra, twists and turns to morph in to a crime thriller (packed with racy bits). There’s all sorts of hedonistic nighttime activity that leads to a pivotal incident with some sedatives (it all goes horribly wrong). Cue many more nail-biting antics and scandalous seductions in exotic palaces, on yachts, witnessed by Europe’s ridiculously wealthy (which does all sound kind of exciting).
But Hilton tells it better over 384 pages so we’ll leave you to read the full version. Or just wait for the film. Because the Telegraph reports that Hilton’s initial draft caused such furious excitement in Hollywood last summer that it prompted a seven-figure bidding war. Amy Pascal (producer of the female-led Ghostbusters) was the winning bidder and it’s since been announced that the screenplay will be written by Erin Cressida Wilsons, who wrote Secretary and The Girl on the Train.
What’s more, a three book publishing deal has also been agreed and the trilogy will be sold in 36 countries.
Yup, the Fifty Shades-style frenzy has already begun.