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Two Women - Martina Cole

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      23.04.2013 21:34
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      a good gritty martina cole novel

      I can remember like it was yesterday, being pregnant and staying in on New Year's Eve with my mum and ordering a takeaway and being mindlessly bored. I spotted she had this book on her dining table, so out of interest I picked it up and found it so gripping I literally completed it within 24 hours.

      The story opens with Susan Dalston, in prison for murdering her husband. She is portrayed as a mean, cold woman as she is moving prison for attacking another inmate with a snooker ball in a sock. Her life has been nothing to be proud of, having a philandering mother, a sexually and viciously violent thug of a dad, who is merely replaced in her life by a husband of the same ethos.

      Susans only pride and joy are her children who she dotes on, and although in prison it becomes clear that she is incarcerated through no fault of her own but only out of love and affection for her offspring. The story plays reverts back to 1960 and tells a tale of woe and desperation as Susan clearly has not loving mother or father and is left to take care of the household at the young age of 12. The title of the book applies to Susan eventually ending up in a cellmate with a woman called Mattie who is also convicted of murdering her husband also. Do these women have something in common are are they completely different?!

      This was my first read of a Martina Cole book and I found the writing style, the themes and the expression of raw feeling and drama really evocative and an exciting page turner. In hindsight, this book focuses on many of the same themes that flows through the majority of Martina Cole's novels - incest, violence and drama. There is nothing to smile about in this gritty book but she writes in a way that you feel you are living in the character's lives and you empathise with the position Susan is put in.

      The book is written in excellent detail so you get to grips with all the character's personality and it is expressed so well that I just could not put this book down. Martina Cole is able to address a lot of issues and stigmatised aspects that normally I would not read about light-heartedly in a manner in which it can be easily understood and although I have not been through any of the circumstances I felt I could relate! (Who knows, perhaps it was to do with hormones of pregnancy why I felt so involved in the book!)

      Nevertheless this was a brilliant read, and personally one of the more invoking and interesting Martina Cole books I have read. The themes are slightly repetitive of her usual type that she writes about (gangster men, controlling their inferior wives and just generally being thuggish in and around the East End of London) but this one was one I found more enjoyable so fans of Martina Cole who are yet to read this may well find it a good read.

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      31.07.2012 16:15
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      Fantastic gritty read. Not for the faint hearted

      I am and avid reader of books. I started off only ready one author but this last two years have branched out and have been discovering new authors and genres and absolutely loving it. For me there's nothing better than tucking up in bed at night with a good book.

      After watching two of Martina Coles books adapted for TV on Sky (The Take and The Runaway) and loving them I decided to read one of her books. I always read reviews before buying a book to help me decide if it's worth getting or not. I went onto www.amazon.co.uk and looked up Martina Cole under books and came across Two Women. It had fantastic reviews so I went ahead and bought it.

      This is it's summary:
      Danger and violence have always been part of Sue Dalston's East End upbringing. Unloved by her mother, abused by her father, and brutalised throughout her entire marriage, she smashed her husband's skull in a final act of desperation. All that keeps her sane is knowing that she's done it to protect her four children. At last, they are safe from harm. When she is celled up with murderess Matilda Enderby, their fates become inextricably linked. And no one - least of all Sue - could have predicted the consequences...

      It's available in the kindle edition for £1.99 or new on paperback with free Supersaver delivery for £1.99. As I don't have a Kindle yet I bought it on paperback. Books from Amazon do sometimes take a good few days to arrive which can be frustrating when you have nothing to read. I waited 4 days for this to arrive.

      Although titled Two women this book focuses mainly on one woman called Susan Dalston. We start off seeing Susan as a young child and her turbulant family life living in a flat on a Council Estate. We are with Susan right through childhood, her teenage years, her marriage and finally her incarceration in Prison for the murder of her husband Barry Dalston.

      This book isn't for the faint hearted, it includes graphic description of child abuse and brutal beatings and as with all Martina Cole's books some rather colourful language.

      I found this book a fantastic read, I was really drawn into the story and Susan Dalstons life right from the start. I was shocked at some points during the book but that all added to tell the harrowing take of Susan's life and the choices she ultimately made.

      The second woman featured Matilda Ederby is a very small part of the story, not even worthy of the title Two Women and it didn't add anything to the book really. The main focus is Susan.

      I thoroughly enjoyed this book and would recommend it. I will definitely be buying another Martina Cole novel if this is anything to go by.

      **Also published on Ciao under the same username**

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        29.07.2011 07:30
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        Another fantastic book from Martina Cole.

        Sue Dalston has had a childhood that many would consider as being "dragged up, not brought up". The youngest child in a well known small time villain family, living in the lower classed end of the East end, she has seen more danger than many will see in a lifetime.

        From her early teens she is sexually and physically abused by her father and well known local villain, (which is how he gets away with it too) means that Sue is desperate to get away fro home, and in walks Barry, a smooth and charming Scottish lad who has an idea of becoming what Sue's Dad is to the area, so Sue becomes the step up he needs.

        Sue becomes exactly what she didn't want, another battered wife with no say in her own life, so when Barry is beaten to death by his wife and a claw hammer, is anyone surprised?

        Don't think I have revealed too much or the storyline as the synopsis I have given actually all happens within the first coupe of chapters of the book!

        The book actually starts almost back to front, with Sue being moved to a less secure prison whist awaiting the appeal on her murder charge, this enables her to see more of her children, which again become an integral part of the book.

        Whist the story of the prison and her day to day life is told, this is interspersed with the story and horrors of her childhood and the abuse she had at the hands of her own father, and the complete denial of any problems by her mother, which I have to say made my blood boil, as girls (from when their bodies develop anyway) are expected to have become sexually await at least with their burgeoning hormones.

        The problems caused by the abuse were actually what you would expect from rival lovers, with Sue's mother being jealous of her, this part of the book was extremely hard to read, especially as a mother of a daughter myself!

        As Sue grows and she becomes embroiled with Barry her story gets much worse, with the abuse she has at the hands of her husband being much worse than what she experienced at home, so when she finally flips and murders her husband you actually feel proud of her, but the story is not quite as it would seem.

        Be aware from the start that this book is full of bad language and sexual and violent scene's, which in fairness have become art and parcel of Martina Cole books, but this is (so far) the grittiest book I have read in her collection, but at the same time completely addictive too, recommended!

        Price wise this is available via www.amazon.co.uk for around the £4.00 mark.

        Thanks for reading x

        ISBN 978-0-7553-5057-5

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          02.12.2009 23:05
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          A hard hitting novel with a twist in the tale...well worth reading!

          Martina Cole is a popular novelist, known for her gritty, gutsy, no holds barred style of writing. If readers have experienced any of her other books, they will know that Ms Cole's novels are usually set in the seedy back streets of London's underworld, an area ruled by violence, hard men and poverty. The male characters are archetypical men's men, hard drinking, hard fighting, villains. Their women are generally downtrodden and ill used, if not prostitutes.

          Two Women is set against this backdrop.

          ~~The Plot~~

          The book begins in the 1980's, with convicted murderess Susan Dalston, being transported from Durham prison to Holloway prison. Dalston has lodged an appeal against her life sentence. Dalston's reputation has preceded her, a dangerous woman who battered her husband to death by hitting him over 100 times around the head with a hammer. She was moved to London after assaulting a fellow prisoner in Durham prison with a snooker ball hidden inside a sock. Dalston is a mystery to her lawyers, prison officers and inmates alike, a large, unattractive woman, who refused to speak in her own defence during her trial. Her only statement was that her husband Barry, deserved to die and she would do it again if he was alive. Dalston has stuck to this throughout her time in prison and the story has never changed.


          The plot then reverts to 1960, Susan is a young girl living with her violent thug of a father, Joey McNamarra, her sometime prostitute mother, June and her younger sister, Debbie.
          Susan is the bright one of the family, her school work is excellent and she shows great promise. Her parents however have little interest in education for girls, seeing it as a waste of time as all an East End girl has to look for is a man to give her children and marriage. Joey regularly beats June senseless, usually over her philandering ways. Susan and Debbie are used to their awful existence and do not see it as wrong or unnatural. Their father regularly grabs their breasts to see how they are growing and their mother and grandmother do nothing to stop him, finding the action perfectly acceptable.

          June leaves the family's flat and sets up home with another man, Jimmy. She leaves the girls with their father and Susan has to take on her mother's role, cooking, cleaning and sleeping with her father, even though she is only 12 years old. When Jimmy is murdered on Christmas Eve, June decides to move back with Joey and the violence and heartache begin all over again. The local gossips think that Joey killed Jimmy, which he did not, but he makes no attempt to put them right, as the assumptions lead to him increasing his credibility as a hard man, a reputation Joey revels in.

          Susan meets a young man, Barry Dalston. Barry is a younger version of Joey and Susan loves him, even though she knows he is unfaithful to her. Joey is jealous but when Barry puts some 'business' his way, he decides that Barry can marry Susan as soon as she is old enough. Barry and Susan marry when she is barely 16 and already eight months pregnant. On the eve of their wedding, Barry and Joey get roaring drunk and pick up two off duty prostitutes. Unfortunately for Barry, the woman he sleeps with has a sexually transmitted disease which he then passes to Susan and her cousin who he has a fling with at the wedding reception. When Susan finds out about the venereal disease, she goes into premature labour and as a result her baby dies.
          This sets the scene really for the rest of Susan's married life, regular beatings, four children, several miscarriages and a life of having to watch every word and action for fear of upsetting Barry. Barry and Joey are local hard men for a few years until it is obvious that they are nothing more than thugs. As their kudos in the criminal fraternity diminishes so their violence towards their womenfolk increases.

          Susan Dalston is an exemplary mother, she dotes on her children who are well cared for and loved by their mother, barely tolerated by their father. During Susan's pregnancy with the youngest child, Barry gets a job as a doorman for a private club. He is in his element, prostitutes, drink and drugs on tap and a position of power seem to be his. He begins a relationship with Roselle, an ex prostitute and partner in the club.

          Roselle is shocked by Barry's careless attitude towards Susan and the children and takes Susan under her wing. Roselle makes sure that some of Barry's earnings go directly to Susan, otherwise Barry would leave her and the children penniless. For once in her life, Susan has security, money and freedom thanks to her husband's mistress. She also has something she has never had before in her life, a female friend, Roselle.
          Barry is unable to resist chasing woman and contracts herpes from a woman he has been seeing. Roselle throws him out and he returns to Susan.

          Susan comes home after an evening out to find her eldest daughter, Wendy in a terrible state. Barry has raped his own child even knowing that he has herpes. Wendy is around the same age as Susan was when her own father began to interfere with her. Barry is upstairs on the bed, oblivious to the drama and horror he has caused. Susan sends the children to a neighbour, finds a hammer and puts an end to Barry, then, still covered in blood and gore after the attack on her husband, Susan calmly makes herself a cup of coffee before phoning Roselle and the Police.

          The plot then moves back to Holloway prison, where Susan is 'celled up' with another murderer, Matilda Enderby, also known as Mattie. Mattie killed her husband, a leading barrister and like Susan Dalston, is appealing against her sentence. The two women are very different yet form an uneasy friendship, Susan soon realises that Mattie is not all she seems. Mattie confides to Susan that she murdered her husband in cold blood because he was boring and not a violent sexual deviant, as she had claimed in her defence.

          Susan is living only for the times when her beloved children are brought to visit her. Wendy is living in a children's home, she is suffering badly as her father infected her with herpes and she misses her mother terribly, it is only her visits to Roselle that keep the girl sane. The youngest child, Rosie has been placed with foster parents and the other two children, Alana and Barry are in yet another children's home. Susan's family were asked by Social Services to have the children, but refused. June and Joey went to the national press after Barry's death and sold their story as being the wronged parents of a murderess.

          The plot thickens and twists from this point and builds up to an unexpected climax. I will say no more here for fear of spoiling the book for others!


          ~~About the Author~~

          Martina Cole was born in 1958 and was brought up in Essex. Her first novel, Dangerous Lady, was an instant best-seller and became a highly successful TV drama series. Since then Martina Cole has written fourteen more best selling novels set in the criminal underworld of London. Ms Cole is no stranger to hardship and has taken many knocks in life herself. Her parents both died when she was young and by 18 years of age, she was living alone in a Tilbury council flat with her baby son. She began writing as a way of escaping her own problems. She has in her own words 'always been a grafter' and has built a comfortable life on the strength of her books. She has been married and divorced twice and has a son, a daughter and a grandchild. Martina Cole teaches creative writing to inmates at Wandsworth and Belmarsh prisons and is a patron of Chelmsford Women's Aid, which she says is her way of putting something back into society.

          I have noticed that Martina Cole invariably dedicates her novels to family members and friends from her past, a very human touch in my opinion.
          For further information about the author and her books, visit Headline and Martina's own website
          www.headline.co.uk
          www.martinacole.co.uk

          ~~Cost and Availability~~


          My copy bears the jacket price of £6.99, however copies can be obtained from various online retailers for as little as £2.49 or from 1p used from www.amazon.com

          ~~My Thoughts and Conclusion~~

          This book is not for the feint hearted, it contains scenes of graphic domestic violence, incestuous rape and extremely bad language from start to finish. If you can get past these, Two Women is a remarkably readable novel. The characters are strong, believable and very well drawn. Some characters are so awful that I cringed as I read of their doings, others like Susan Dalston, evoked feelings of pity, sympathy, anger and sheer frustration at her treatment at the hands of first her father and then her husband. I am sure that Two Women would be very uncomfortable reading for anyone who had experienced a life like Susan's, yet I found it an un-put-down-able novel.
          I would recommend it to others with the proviso that the language and subject matter are liable to offend some people.

          Thank you for reading.

          ©brittle1906 December 2009

          NB My reviews may be found on other review sites under the same user name.

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            31.08.2009 13:22
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            A classic Martina Cole

            Martina Cole is a very successful novelist, whose books often end up top of the bestseller charts. She is from Essex and her books are always focused around the criminal underworld of London.

            I was first introduced to Martina Cole when I read The Take which was a really great book and soon after I went and got another of her novels, Two Women. This was one of her earlier novels and was first published in 1999. After now reading all of Martina Cole's novels I think her earlier work is of a much better standard, more grittier and powerful. The characters are more intriguing and the storylines much more dramatic. I find her novels published in the last few years much tamer.

            Two Women begins with The Prologue telling you of how Susan Dalston is serving time in prison and she is just introduced to her new cell mate Matilda Enderby. Re-wind 25 years and the book starts with us meeting Susan Dalston as a child, we follow her life through the next 25 years until she meets Matilda in prison and the fates of these women becomes linked, with no-one able to predict the consequences of these two women meeting.

            The book is split into thirty two chapters and three different 'books' each focusing on different times in Susan's life. Book One begins in 1960 when Susan is just a child, she is unloved by her mother and abused by her father, we here of Susan's troubled childhood which goes on to shape her character and ultimately is the cause for what she goes on to do. All she wants is to protect her own children from what the horrific experiences she had to live through as a child.

            Book Two begins in 1969, Susan is married to Barry and they have a child Wendy. Barry however is not the perfect Husband and just like her father is abusive. They go on to have three more children and as the abuse continues Susans instinct to keep her children safe ends with dire consequences. She ends up in prison but happy in the knowledge that her children are now safe.

            Book Three begins in 1985, Susan Dalston is in prison and we get introduced to her cellmate Matilda Enderby, as we read how their reltionship develops the book takes a surprising twist and the book will leave you shocked.

            I really enjoyed this book and loved the way is was set out covering over twenty years, you really become to understand and emphasise with the main character, realising why she does what she does. It is a gripping and powerful novel which will keep you on the edge of your seat right till the end.

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            25.01.2009 14:31
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            If you haven't discovered Martina Cole yet, now is the time to start!

            This is a heavily biased review as in my eyes Martina Cole can do no wrong....but that in itself says a lot about how good she is as an author.

            This was one of her earlier books - and this is her at her gritty best. No punches are pulled and in true Martina style it will turn your stomach as it deals heavily with rape, domestic violence and incest.

            You are drawn into the life of battered and abused wife (formerly battered, abused and raped daughter) Susan Dalston as she tries against all odds to protect her beloved children from the monster she married in a bid to flee her own horrific childhood home. Her husband Barry ends up dead at her hands in a brutal and frenzied attack, and the book begins in the Prologue with Susan in a prison van on her way to court. As the tale unravels you are gripped with every page, drawn into her desperate plight and willing her to survive.

            It is a unique talent that Martina Cole possesses in the way she writes from the viewpoint of her characters that makes you feel empathy for some of even the wosrt acts committed. You understand what the characters are motivated by in their violence which makes them far more real. Sometimes when reading this with tears streaming down my face, I have to remind myself that it is only fiction!

            A real page-turner and one not to be missed by any Martina fan - I have read it countless times and am gripped from cover to cover each time.

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            23.11.2004 07:34
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            Having been so impressed by my first Martina Cole experience it’s hardly surprising that I’ve picked up another book by the same author so soon. It looks as if Martina Cole’s central theme is “strong” East End women, who demonstrate unconditional love for their children and are expert at overcoming adversity. Two Women is written in the same vein.

            Susan is a plain ordinary girl, child of an alcoholic, violent father and an abusive, distant, promiscuous mother. This book IS Susan’s story from her violent, abusive, adolescent childhood through to her journey into the adult world.

            Cole has a talent for drawing the reader in and making them feel empathy for her characters. This child/woman (she’s often treated as a woman at the tender age of 14, because she has large breasts!) is a deep, thoughtful girl who shows a love of books, and aspires to better herself. However, after the condescending behaviour of a teacher and abuse at the hands of her father, Susan runs straight into a violent, abusive marriage, heavily pregnant at just 16.

            Susan ends up with four children (after having many others “beaten out of her”) who are her life, whom she loves unconditionally and who she is determined will have a better start in life than she had. She does this through the true love of a mother and she is rewarded with the adoration and unconditional love of her children. Her husband is a violent, drunken lout who really just took the place of her father, bullying and manipulative and undermining Susan at every opportunity, through beatings, rape and promiscuity.

            There is nothing Susan will not do to protect her children. This story is about the extent to which Susan will go to protect her children from harm and keep them safe.
            After one particularly life changing incident, Susan forms a friendship with the unlikeliest ally – her husband’s lover. The “two women” become the best of friends, forming a deep, lasting and unbreakable friendship that ends up lasting a lifetime. It could be said that this book is testament to the strength and depth of some female friendships.

            To say any more about the story itself would be to give the plot away, and I don’t intend to do that. This book is worthy of reading the story for yourself.

            My opinion of the book is that I was initially disappointed, as I felt that the overall quality of writing was not as good as my first Martina Cole experience of reading “The Know”.

            The first half of the book in my opinion is too long. I can see what the author has tried to achieve here; I think she has tried to set the scene for the most significant aspect of the story. She paints hideously violent domestic situations over and over and over again. The language is designed to shock and it does with the *F* word being common place two or three times in every sentence. The story at this point in the book is not “articulated” well, but having now finished the book I begin to understand why, although I still believe that this could have been achieved more concisely, not to mention articulately.

            What Cole achieves through the use of colloquial language and speech is the drawing in of the reader into the lifestyle, environment and personalities of the central characters. The second half of the book moves out of the East End family environment into one where a different class, culture and lifestyle are evident and this is supported by a “sharper” story telling style.

            Another thing that Martina Cole does well is tie up loose ends in a storyline. Everything is tidied up, loose threads trimmed, “packages” boxed and conclusions reached, so the reader is left in no doubt that this is the end of the story. I have mixed feelings about this personally. I like it and yet I end up yearning for that feeling of “wanting to know more”.

            Men are not given a particularly good press in any of the Cole novels that I’ve read so far. They have a tendency to be weak, violent bullies with a fondness for alcohol. However, I found I liked some male characters in “The Know”, but there were definitely no likeable rogues on this occasion!

            On the whole, another sensational, thrilling, compelling offering from this author. The read definitely draws you in and at points you do not want to put the book down. At other times, the violence had me putting the book down in disgust; but that could be my over active imagination!

            As I moved into the second half of the book, I found it harder to put down, and recovered from the initial disappointment as the story then started moving at a much faster pace.

            I certainly enjoyed this book, although I doubt if I would read this particular one again. However, it has indeed confirmed that I’ll be looking out for other Martina Cole offerings in the future.

            Thanks for reading.

            Cheers

            © Christina ;-) x

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              21.09.2004 12:33
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              INTRODUCTION

              I have phases of reading. I always have at least one book on the go, but sometimes reading gets pushed to the back of the queue. First it was the Olympics, then a rather dull Pratchett book that prioritised other things over reading.

              However, this week, the situation has been reversed. I have been going to bed early to read, neglecting Ciao and ignoring emails. Why? I have been reading another Martina Cole novel. This one was Two Women and – like with all her books I have read – it is so easy to get hooked!

              Cole’s books often follow familiar themes – gangland murders, prostitution, abused women, horrific violence – and some of these are present in this novel too, but overall, I found Two Women to be the LEAST violent of her books that I have read. Guns are rarely used, there are no mass murderers and this one stood out as being something rather different.

              The strong women characters still feature as much as ever and I am sure they are a major factor in Cole’s success. She creates women who fight back, who protect their children, who struggle – but win. There are many inspiring females here.

              The men, on the other hand, get rather short-changed. They are the child abusers, the wife beaters, the heartless, the ruthless, the bullies. I wonder how many male fans Cole has in her readership?

              PLOT

              Two Women is the story of a woman called Susan. We follow her through childhood, her teenage years and into adulthood. She is a pathetic figure in many ways and initially seems to have little going for her. Her only asset appears to be her large breasts, but these get her into trouble – first, being raped by her father, then a major draw to her boyfriend Barry.

              Believing Barry loves her as she loves him; they marry and begin a family. But when Susan’s dream is realised, she discovers it is more like a nightmare. Barry was attracted to Susan because of her father, Joey McNamara’s reputation for being a hard man. He wants to follow the same kind of lifestyle as Joey and soon it becomes obvious to Susan that Barry is like her father in many ways.

              Her life becomes hell, as she is faced with a demanding, violent and abusive husband. He uses drugs, visits prostitutes and takes what he wants from Susan when he wants it. Her only comfort is her children, who she loves and adores. Everyone knows she is a wonderful mother, despite her husband and her childhood experiences.

              As any parent knows, that instinct to protect your kids is a very strong one. When Barry becomes a threat to their kids, what is Susan supposed to do?

              REVIEW

              It is always difficult to review Martina Cole’s novels, because there are so many twists and surprises and you don’t want to spoil any of them. I would even suggest you don’t read the blurb on the back of the book, as I think it gives away more than you need to know.

              The plot turns and hidden shocks just keep on coming in this book. The final surprise is quite near the end and I hadn’t even guessed it, although in hindsight there were clues. It makes this book the page turner it is.

              I read large chunks of this, literally unable to take my eyes off the words or to put the book down. I think Cole’s novels would be ideal for taking on holiday, as they are thick enough to be a decent read (Two Women is over 660 pages long.) but won’t take you more than a week to read, as you become desperate to discover what happens next!

              The characters are all so well described that you care about them very quickly. Even minor characters are easy to picture. Cole is also an expert on dynamics. She understands that some people click, others clash. This creates tension, as you can feel it coming off the page and hold your breath, waiting to find out what happens. Hatred, passion and desperation are here in equal measure and we see how Barry, for example, behaves differently in each situation, showing how people have facades and roles they fit into, depending on who they are with.

              The role of the family is another present theme in Cole’s books. This is not to say that her fictional families are perfectly happy! They are far too real to be perfect. Even the heroes and heroines of her novels have faults – but haven’t we all? That’s what makes us humans, not robots and this is why her books are so believable and easy to get into.

              Her family relationships demonstrate the whole range from the worst to the best. In Two Women, Susan has a bad childhood – an abusive father, a philandering mother, an interfering grandmother. When she becomes a mother herself, she ensures her own children are treated much better and she understands you do this by showing them love.

              Martina Cole’s books are enlightening in many ways. She convinces us that prostitutes can be heroines, murders can be justified and life is not always what it seems. I am not generally a reader of thrillers or a fan of violence and swearing, yet her books have become my favourites and with each new one, my admiration for this author increases.

              All I can say, in conclusion, is try one of her books. I doubt you’ll be disappointed.



              £6.99 paperback
              ISBN 0-7472-5540-7
              www.headline.co.uk


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                19.09.2003 20:08
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                Well I am not one for reading books, i more a film person. But on a recent trip to Ibiza, my mum leant me this book!! It looked so big and I thought id never get through all 600+ pages. But come second week of my holidays and i had read the daily paper, my friends were all asleep or reading there own books. I thought i would start reading the book my mam had leant me, I pulled it out of my bag, it was covered in sand, and was slighlt wet from the bottle of water in my bag but I began to read, and the next thing I knew my friends were dragging me back to the apartment for our early evening sleep. They all slept and i just read and read and read! Even though this book is so big not much actually happens, baiscally girl grows up and gets sexually abused by her father, then her husband. After smashing a hammer over her husbands head she is sent to prison for his murder! You may think this is alot but for the size of the book it aint alot really!! The size of the book does not bother me, even though after an hour of reading the book seams really heavy! Its the subject to detail Martina Cole has, its fantastic, and you think you are there with Sue going through everything she is going through! Whenshe laughs you wanna laugh too, and as corney as it sounds when she is down you too are down!! This book is so good, and Ihad read the book by the time I had come home from Ibiza, and was nagging my mum for more Martina Coles books. I was so pleaseed when i found out she had written more books. This book is gripping, exciting, powerful, sensational, great, funny, witty, clever book!! I would recommend this book to anyone. I know all the other reviews are all written when book was first written, but if you have read the book hope this makes you wanna pick it up and read it again. if you havent read the book, I stongly recommed you do!! Male or female!!

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                  13.08.2001 20:21
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                  This is the 2nd Martina Cole novel I have read. The first being Dangerous Lady, which I thoroughly enjoyed and persuaded me to try another by Miss Cole. I chose Two Women after reading the back of the cover. Firstly I must advise, DO NOT READ THE BLURB. I found this very misleading and a dead give away to what happens to the main character Susan Dalston. The Blurb states that Sue Dalston meets an inmate in prison and they have more in common than she realises. This meeting of "Two Women" does not actually occur until 3/4's of the way through the novel. Anyhow, back to the review. The novel follows the harrowing and very disturbing story of Susan Dalston, growing up in the East End with an abusive father and mother, and followed by an increasingly abusive Husband. Parts of the novel are highly unbelievable, it is very hard to believe how much abuse a human being will put up with for the sake of her children. I also do not believe that you can forgive your family as easily as Sue Dalston does in this novel. The novel is very violent, and describes acts which some people will find extremely disturbing (as I did), however the novel does get you gripped from the first page. But when I finally reached the end of the novel - I realised I was not impressed at all, and I had just kept on reading in hope that it would get better. Oh yeah and be careful, you may find yourself slipping into the ol' East End tongue now and again! Know what i mean!

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                    25.08.2000 02:16

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                    This book is very good and difficult to stop reading until you reach the end.All through this book you will be amazed at the strength of charecter shown by the "leading ladies". The experiences described by Martina Cole are plausable, although ficticious will still have you weeping for the injustices suffered by the main charecter. If you enjoy this book then go on and read the others by the same author, some contain more violence and graphic descriptions of scenes which may offend the faint hearted, however you will find them necessary to set the scene and colour the story.

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                    17.08.2000 17:20
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                    We recently read this book on ukmother.com and all met up afterwards to review it. I found the book to be really good only problem was that once you'd picked it up it was very difficult to put down. Although the book is fictious it was very easy to relate it to real life and when you sat and thought about it you realised that these things happen in real life. It is all about a Women and the life she leads she's raped by her father and then marries and her husband treats her really badly as well (I don't want to go into too much detail and spoil it for you) All I would say is this book is one not to be missed.

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