Newest Review: ... 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 ... more
One of my first Martina Cole reads!
Two Women - Martina Cole
Member Name: MsTricia
Two Women - Martina Cole
Advantages: really gripping, raw, couldn't put it down
Disadvantages: bit repetitive of her usual writing
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.
Summary: a good gritty martina cole novel