Domina by L.S. Hilton
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Judith Rashleigh has made it. Living in luxury amidst the splendours of Venice, she's finally enjoying the life she killed for.
But someone knows what Judith's done.
Judith can only save herself by finding a priceless painting - unfortunately, one that she's convinced doesn't even exist.
And she's not the only one seeking it.
This time, Judith isn't in control. Outflanked and out-thought, outrun and outgunned, she faces an enemy more ruthless and more powerful than she ever imagined.
And if she doesn't win, she dies.
This is the second book in a trilogy - I hadn't read the first book but think that this doesn't really matter as I was able to pick it up fairly easily. I did have a bit of a problem knowing about her murdering past but it fell into place eventually. I gathered that after having got herself into a mess as Judith Rashleigh in the first book she had to change identity and became Elisabeth Teerlinc in the second. Elisabeth's new identity is an art gallery owner in Venice who has a luxurious lifestyle buying and selling works of art to the rich and privileged. All seems to be going well until a Russian oligarch contacts her via an intermediary and wants her to value his private collection and who is also after a Caravaggio drawing on linen which he wants and intends to get her to obtain it for him. She knows that Caravaggio didn't do prep drawings of his paintings and this must therefore be a fake which leads her to wonder why then the Russian wants it. This situation quickly becomes dangerously threatening for Elisabeth and her new identity which brings Judith out to find out who has threatened to expose her new life.
Naturally we need to have art reference here and being interested in art I did like this aspect but I did feel that in some cases it was a bit overkill in that it started to become more of a history of Caravaggio that focusing on the action in the book. I found the main character very hard and almost masculine, several times at the start of the book I had to remind myself that this was a woman. Lack of softness and empathy in the character added to the masculine feel for me.
I didn't really connect with the character, she was so cold, so calculated, so manufactured that it was just a 'story' for me not something that I could buy into or find plausible.
I did enjoy aspects of the book and for that reason will give it 3 stars and would be interested to read the last in the trilogy if only to find out if Elisabeth or Judith prevails and what she becomes in the end. An acceptable holiday read.
I would like to thank the publisher for sending this in exchange for an honest review.