Goodnight Lady, Martina Cole – A Book Review

goodnight lady2

Happy 2018 – Gosh where did 2017 go? Let’s hope the NEW YEAR is starting with a bang for you! While I am on the subject of starting January 2018 with a bang, here is my favourite Martina Cole book. Yes, that British crime writer who started her career 26 years ago with the bestselling novel Dangerous Lady.

Goodnight Lady

Briony Cavanagh emerges as the head of the Cavanagh family from a background of extreme poverty, a world from which she would not typically escape from! However, Briony Cavanagh is ambitious and tough, qualities that stand her in good stead for the difficult life she has ahead of her.


When her eldest sister Eileen is sold at twelve by her father to a wealthy man for sexual services it is this money her poor family come to depend on to ease their hardship. But Eileen understandably does not get on with the situation and becomes ill as a result, something she never recovers from.

However, at ten years old it’s clear that Briony Cavanagh is made from different stuff and offers to take the place of her older sister. She sees living in extreme poverty where getting a daily meal and being warm and clean are nothing she can ever expect.  She decides that performing sexual services for this wealthy man is tolerable if it means being able to help her family.

This is the basic plot for this colossal work by Martina Cole. And if you are familiar with her work, her books are never short of twists and turns.

Back to the plot. So Briony Cavanagh has been sold into prostitution as a child which in itself poses all kinds of problems from the disapproval of her religious mother Molly, to the self-loathing and disgust of her drunken father, Paddy.  Her sisters of which she has four, including the disabled Rosalee, are divided. Later on in a book that spans about one hundred years we see the sisters plot against each other and Briony in turn. However, it is Briony that they turn to in difficult times and Briony in turn is willing to help, such is her devotion to her family. Such is the sacrifice she is making for them by continuing to be the child mistress to the wealthy, Henry Dumas.

As the plot of Goodnight Lady thickens we see Briony Cavanagh grow and become mature beyond her years in a short space of time. Through a turn of fate she gains the money to open let’s just say, high-end adult clubs. She effectively becomes a madam, thus becoming very wealthy and powerful in the process.

However, at the heart of this rags to riches saga is a timeless, enduring love story between Briony and pivotal character, Tommy Lane. They meet during childhood,  forming a bond that at times seems unbreakable. They also become business partners, but as you can expect from a Martina Cole novel, the road for Briony and Tommy is not a smooth one.

Goodnight Lady is a novel about the highs and lows of being born into an impoverished family and one young woman’s attempt to climb out of the life that fate dealt her. Yet despite her evident financial success, there is one thing that money cannot buy and this haunts Briony Cavanagh throughout this lengthy tale.

Goodnight Lady is a crime novel with a difference. You will be engrossed by the colourful characters and will be caught up in the strong sense of atmosphere that the novel has.

Give it a read and tell me what you think. Only, don’t plan to go anywhere as Goodnight Lady will have you hooked from the first page! You heard it here first!

Until next time

Happy Reading, S

martina cole

Published by Sharon's Writers Tidbits

Sharon is a writer who lives in north London and has a long-held passion for the art and craft of creative writing. Sharon's main interests are novels, short stories and poetry. She also enjoys writing non-fiction. She is an avid reader and has a threatening TBR pile of books!

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