This was one hell of a read. Unlike Martina's latest work her earlier books are epic reads often spanning many decades and containing many stories within one book. A lot of authors today in this genre are named as 'The Next Martina Cole' or 'As Good As Martina Cole' and whilst they write good books, they are often very short and usually only contain one or two major stories, Martina's earlier work contains much more. Her stories are full of rich history, detailed characters and you have no trouble losing yourself in the worlds she creates. Perhaps it is just modern publishing and the fact that not everybody enjoys long books (my version of this book was 821 pages long).
The story centers around Briony Cavanagh, sold to a rich man when she is thirteen by her family. When the pedophile that bought her impregnates her, his wife and himself take on the child giving Briony money which she then uses to become a madam and eventually one of the most feared women in the East End. That story alone and the years that follow would be enough for one book, but Martina doesn't do things by halves (pre-2008) and the story continues on and on until we meet 'The Twins', two brothers who become the two most feared people in the East End, sound familiar?
Martina always creates fantastic characters and despite many people saying she churns out the same old rubbish: she writes about similar things with each book so similarities are obviously going to be drawn but for me the characters she creates are always 'new' to me and I have no trouble separating them from other books and seeing them as completely new, different characters. I can see this being one of my favourite Martina novels, it is definitely one of her best. An absolutely epic read that the current authors of this genre would find hard to beat. The only one I reckon could come close is Jessie Keane, a fantastic author and in fact her book Nameless is one such book which spans many decades and encompasses many stories in one. Do not miss this if you are a fan of this genre.