Judith Rashleigh, I met this lady last year when I read Maestra by L.S. Hilton. At that time, I wasn’t that convinced with her, given her dangerous ways and murder trail that she left behind. Now this year, I met this woman under a different alias, Elisabeth Teerlinc in the book Domina. And I was simply mesmerized when I was finished with the book. The murder trails made more sense, her passion and dangerous ways were justified. All in all, Judith Rashleigh convinced me why she did what she did through this brilliant book, Domina!
From the very first page, Domina impressed me. Generally, I have seen authors share a hint of what is about to come in the preface of a book. And L.S. Hilton did that too but in a very scary and chilly manner! When you open the book you see Judith aka Elisabeth, killing Alvin in a fashionably grotesque way, which is spine chilling yet admirable! She doesn’t shy way from her reasons to kill, doesn’t give any justification to her actions, and then sets off to finish what she started when she was Judith Rashleigh.
In Domina, Judith is now Elisabeth Teerlinc, who owns a gallery in Venice. But her past has a way of catching up with her, in the form of Russian Oligarch Yermolov, who wants his paintings to be valued by Elisabeth. But somehow, she has a hunch that she should decline the offer. She pays a visit to Yermolov to personally decline the offer. But little did she know her life will soon turn upside down, and the mask that has been saving her from prison will start falling down bit by bit.
They first attacked her mentally by moving things around her home and then killing her Russian tutor. Slowly and gradually, Elisabeth starts accepting the fact that her life may never be normal. She will always be on the run, hiding her identity and leaving a murder trail of people who try to take advantage of her situation.
After much running around and help from her painter friends, she grabs Yermolov and gets her revenge, but this time in a very different manner. Not by killing but by finding out the truth, which was again in a brilliant twist in the story!
One of the best things that I liked about Domina was that there was less sex and more Judith in the second novel which shows how even writers mature. You get a sneak peek into Judith’s past, an alcoholic mother and string of guys who always used her for their benefit. And even when hurt or in heartbreak, she found solace. Domina introduced me to a Judith who doesn’t want a regular life with kids and a husband, a job to survive and make ends meet. She wants her true self, The Domina.
In an overall brilliant novel, the only thing I think could’ve been done better by Hilton was the climax. But even with an okayish climax, I think Domina is a fantastic turnaround from Maestra! I absolutely loved it and make sure you don’t miss out on this brilliant thriller!