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Two Women [Kindle Edition]

Martina Cole
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (443 customer reviews)

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Book Description

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's convicted of smashing 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 . . .

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Amazon Review

Neither the elegant middle-class Matilda nor the downtrodden Susan are precisely what they appear to be: when they meet in a prison cell, both are notorious husband killers. Matilda's appeal is imminent. She claims severe provocation in the shape of endless beatings from the husband she stabbed while Susan hardly bothered to defend herself in court. Most of Two Women is a flashback--a powerful venue for portraying domestic violence and criminal manners. Susan's murder of Barry resulted from years of brutality and sexual abuse by him and his partner in low-level gangland violence, her father Joey. "Joey would set people up and Barry execute the acts of violence and robbery, leaving Joe with the wedge and the kudos of being number one bailiff to the criminal community, while at the same time earning off the people stupid enough not to have him as their protection".

Martina Cole is darkly funny about Christmasses and weddings ruined by alcoholic mayhem; she is also good on the ways in which women support each other and let each other down--Susan gets little help from her mother or her grandmother and yet finds a best friend in the most unlikely of places. Martina Cole brings to her novels all the emotional force of her best television scripts. This is a vivid picture of the working-class criminal world in which everyone is supposed to live by a code and where that code is broken by any person violent enough to get away with it. --Roz Kaveney


'The book is well written and the charcters solid' Evening Standard (New Zealand)

'An excellent read' Wangami Chronicle

The story will grip you from the first pages (Best)

Gritty novel from an author who knows intimately the world she writes about (Express)

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1228 KB
  • Print Length: 544 pages
  • Publisher: Headline (4 Sept. 2008)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Not enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (443 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #2,026 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Martina Cole is the No. 1 bestselling author of sixteen hugely successful novels. Hard Girls went straight to No. 1 on the Sunday Times hardback bestseller list. The Business was the No. 1 bestselling hardback adult fiction title of 2008 and was a No. 1 Sunday Times hardback bestseller, along with Faces, Close and The Take. The Take also won the British Book Award for Crime Thriller of the Year and has been adapted for Sky One - with remarkable reviews - and The Runaway is currently in production. The Know was selected by Richard & Judy as one of the Top Ten Best Reads of 2003. Maura's Game, Faceless and The Graft also shot straight to No. 1 on the Sunday Times bestseller lists, and total sales of Martina's novels are now at ten million copies. Martina Cole has a son and daughter and lives in Kent. Martina Cole is highly acclaimed for her hard-hitting, uncompromising and haunting writing, as well as for her incredible success.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
48 of 51 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gripping, Deadly, Horrific .....Wow ! 8 Aug. 2000
.. From the begining of the book, you felt that there were parts you could relate to, although some of the incidents were just so horific, you pittied Susan right from the start, yet also held a torch for her and others who in real life had been treated that way. The more you read, the more hostile your feelings got to her Husband, Father and Mother and like another reviewer had written, you were willing Susan not to stay. This is the first Martina Cole book I have ever read, or heard of, and it would certainly not be one that I would have chosen as I prefer Science Fiction - but in reading this..., I found myself transported into the underbelly of Londons East End, and believe me, Ian Beale and Dot Cotton were nowhere to be found! Read it, Weep and promise yourself it would never happen to you! This book is one that you pick up and read from start to finish in one go - you will not be able to put it down!
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28 of 30 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A gripping and realistic read. 11 Jun. 2002
By A Customer
A fantastic book with a great twist in plot towards the end. However, just one criticism - the title "Two Women" is really misleading as is the synopsis which states "when Sue Dalston is celled up with murderess Matilda Enderby their fates become inextricably linked". Actually, their fates do not become inextricably linked. The protaganist, Sue Dalston, doesn't meet Matilda Enderby until two thirds of the way through the book, and even then the only way their lives interlink is that they briefly share a prison cell and also share the same barrister for a while - hardly "inextricably" linked.
Sue Dalston is a fantastic characterisation - I don't doubt there are plenty of real life Sue Dalston's out there. Martina writes about her with such clarity and realism that I really feel she must personally know a Sue Dalston. You get drawn into Sue's life and realise how she is trapped. You really end up understanding why she behaves as she does.
One more slight criticism of this otherwise five star read is that all through the book Sue's mother is a total scumbag, yet towards the end of the book she miraculously discovers maternal feelings. It's as though Martina wants to tie up all the loose ends nicely and provide a nice happy ending. The family party towards the end of the book - with all the family members getting along and enjoying themselves together just seems unreal and spoils it a bit. Memo to Martina : your books are based on realism, real life doesn't have happy endings all the time.
The book is definately a page turner and Martina knows how to work the reader. Agripping read to the end and you won't be disapointed by the twist in the tale as you really feel that it could happen. Very cleverly written.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Poor moralising 12 Dec. 2012
The first I've read by Cole. And the last. It's all the things the one star reviewers say. And in between all that violence and sex are little passages to tell us what the characters should be thinking or doing if they were 'proper' people. I don't need the moral of the story spelling out. Leave well alone! Loads of great books out there.
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26 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I WAS WELL IMPRESSED WITH THIS BOOK, BUT.. 5 April 2008
I enjoyed this book so much that i decided to put cole on my list of favourite authors. However, she wasn`t there long because every book of hers that i read after that was like a re-run - loads of sex, violence, ill-gotten wealth,glamour, `gangsters`, drugs, prostitutes, beaten wives etc etc. You can only read the same stuff a couple of times before you get tired. I think it`s time cole either changed the record or put away the type writer for good.I give this book 5 stars as it deserves it - but she can`t expect to keep selling the same story under a different title and a different front cover.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Quite good but not different. 19 July 2009
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Two Women I enjoyed this book as I used to be a mini cab driver in London & came across a few of the characters described in it! However, after reading several of Martina Cole's books I'm afraid that I am finding them rather similar. There always seem to be an Irish father who is violent towards the women in the family when he's had a few too many, a young girl who is abused by other family members or men their Mother (who is always rather generous with her sexual favours) is associated with and a young thug with ambitions to become a 'face' in the East End who comes to a violent demise! Therefore, I am finding that the plot is more or less the same just written in a slightly different way.
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21 of 25 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Only One Woman, really 12 Nov. 2005
This was my first go at a Martina Cole novel and I was very impressed. Slightly feminist in its overall style (there’s hardly a decent man to be found among the dozens of characters) and basically a tale of one woman’s rise from the depths of abuse and despair to a happy-ever-after mother hen proudly tending her chicks.
But this is an uncompromisingly violent and unpleasant observation of life in London’s East End covering a forty-year time span and focusing principally on Susan Dalston, at first the unattractively plump pubescent daughter of an underworld gangster/paedophile, later the wife of another underworld gangster/paedophile, and ends up as the devoted mother of four children who become the centre of her life. As the title suggests there are in fact two women, but the second one, Matilda ‘Matty’ Enderby, is really no more significant a character within the novel than any of the dozen or so other females (good and bad) who feature along the way. I think this book should really gave been called One Woman, because Susan is the undoubted heroine and the main bad-guy in the tale is her extremely dislikeable husband. Since it is written on the back cover, I am giving nothing away by mentioning the fact that Susan clubs him over the head with a hammer and her resulting imprisonment brings about her meeting with ‘the other woman’, Matty which, we are led to believe in the back-cover summary, will bring unforeseeable consequences upon Susan. To be honest this is a build-up that never fulfils such a premise, but it matters little because the 400-odd pages preceding this prison-cell meeting are so relentlessly full of emotion and tragedy that there is more than enough to satisfy the soap-opera-loving reader.
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