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460
4.6 out of 5 stars
Two Women
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49 of 52 people found the following review helpful
on 8 August 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
on 11 June 2002
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
on 19 July 2009
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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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 12 December 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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27 of 31 people found the following review helpful
on 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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22 of 26 people found the following review helpful
TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon 12 November 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. It’s very vaguely like TV’s ‘EastEnders’ on steroids and consequently it is immensely more entertaining and realistic.
The language is profane throughout but necessarily so to achieve any sense of credibility. The sexual activity is depressing from the outset, limited almost exclusively to father/daughter rape, prostitution, abortion, miscarriages and sexually transmitted diseases. There is a love vacuum throughout as far as marital relations are concerned, with most of the key husbands or male partners being aggressive, violent and verbally humiliating.
Character development is one of Martina Cole’s strengths along with her ability to pull on the heartstrings of her readers. The vocabulary is generally simplistic but no less powerful for that, and there can be little doubt that the author has a genuine take on the lifestyles she portrays and gives me the impression that she might have been close to living such experiences herself in times past.
It would be easy to pick holes in the authenticity of this tale (such as the willingness of the police to turn a blind eye to extreme violence and even murder within this sub-culture) but for me I buy books for entertainment and Martina Cole delivers that many times over. I’ve already bought another of her books and I expect to build up a collection – she’s good!
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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on 11 October 2011
Well written, I was gripped. Unfortunately, I was not taken by it in a good way. I had to finish it solely because I hate starting a book and not finishing it or at least giving it a chance. And I had to finish it quickly as it was so depressing right up until the very last few pages with a ridiculous,sudden, miraculous happy ending. Characters she had built up throughout the novel suddenly had personality transplants in order to create an ending. The overall story was good, I agree with other reviews on that, but that the story-telling was too explicit. There was no suspense, no intrigue, no writing skill in building the story. It was too persistently graphic that there was no shock value after the first few pages. I became almost desentitised to the constant blatant (and unecessary) vivid descriptions of incest and sexual abuse that I binned the book in the recylcing bin when done! I have read most of Cole's books (and enjoyed many) but I am starting to find her style and turn of phrase (even within the one book) becoming so repetitive. The gangster characters are almost over characterised and sterotypical now of men and women in Cole's world. I am still going to order another book of hers though that I have not read now as there are a few very good ones in her collection- it just takes a (frustrating) effort to fish them out!
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on 12 August 2012
I watched 'the take' on TV & found it gripping so decided to try her writing. The first 3/4 of the book are un-put-downable! I was hooked on the book (finished this in 4days) I really got into the story & characters, I could relate with Susan and some times made me re-think my own childhood, this aside the last part of the book seriously went down hill fast, I could tell what was coming, everyone saw the error of there ways, it was very happy and even a wee bit twee in my humble opinion. I felt the writer was a bit lazy in the writing towards the end it was all summed up in short character sentences- I had a Kathy Burke voice in my head for the voices 'it will all be aright mate, chin up mate, miss him I do mate etc... was a real shame as I did get very engrossed in the book and the end I felt Susan would not of lived her life with whom she let back in etc & the MAJOR turn around of certain characters in the book had me shaking my head in disbelief! But I will try another of her books and see how it goes, she is a very interesting writer and did have a way with detail for characters.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 17 September 2000
I could not put this book down! What an amazing thing to be able to write such a gripping story. I actually cried for the first time ever reading a book, and I have read a few believe me! I was baffled by the title and the picture at the front though. What was that all about? And if you want to read this book - DON'T read the back of it, 'cause it tells you more than you should know. I read the back, and was surprised to find that I still wasn't there after reading more than half the book...
Excellent book! I feel as though I know all the characters personally.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 8 April 2014
I read this when it first came out and enjoyed it. As I like this genre I thought I would read it again. But I was very disappointed this time. There are far better books in this style now and having read several of them, particularly Kimberley Chambers' books, I don't think I'll go back to MC again.
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