About the Author

Martin has lived in Portugal for thirty years, having previously been a school teacher in which he taught English as a foreign language in Brazil. The author currently resides in Cascais, in which he affirmed that “Portugal is my home and I am very fond of the place. I am proud and happy to have Portuguese citizenship.”

“False as Water” Synopsis

Martin then kindly shared: “I was married with three children and a busy job and I never got round to writing but it was always an ambition of mine to write a novel as I just liked the process of writing.” He added, “Years ago, when I taught English as a foreign language, I wrote a course book which had sales all around the world and was quite successful but I was dying to write a story and it wasn’t until I stopped working five years ago that I suddenly had the time, which is how this novel came about following a successful blog.”

Martin went on to share a synopsis of “False as Water” so readers can have a taste of what to expect: “Lisbon, 2019. Divorced loner Ralph Thompson has long given up on romance and has settled for eking out a cautious existence as a middle-aged schoolteacher with no ties or emotional entanglements. But when an attractive, troubled housewife crashes into his car in a supermarket car park, he is drawn out of his shell and finds himself involved in another person’s life again.

“The problem is, Heather Ribeiro’s life also includes her husband, a jealous, abusive, and dangerous police detective - and as Heather and Ralph’s slow-burning relationship develops, it gradually becomes clear that they are heading for bad trouble.”


Martin Mills told The Portugal News that the novel came from “partly having the time and I was writing up my blog and I was following up on something Trump had said and I ended up discovering misogynist websites written by mad young men in America who were anti-women and it really struck me as quite shocking.”

“I also went to a couple of demonstrations in Lisbon and domestic abuse in Portugal has become much bigger news in the last five to eight years and then I personally knew women who had married unsuccessfully and these marriages involved being knocked about and being mistreated. A friend of mine currently at that time was in the process of being treated quite badly by her husband so it all stirred me up and I thought I could write about that topic.”

My initial thought was how intriguing the title of the novel is and I asked Martin where the idea came from. Martin explained that he has included in the preface a very important scene from Othello, in which Othello believes Desdemona to be “false as water” despite her innocence. The title comes from this scene as the story is about marital abuse and I suppose rescue and the fact that jealousy causes a lot of problems in resentful men. He explained that water is associated with purity and life but also it can easily be false, jokingly adding “If it’s good enough for Shakespeare!”. The title comes from the scene in Othello, the story is about marital abuse and I suppose rescue, with jealousy causing a lot of problems with resentful men.

Author: Martin Mills;

Believable Characters

When asked about the protagonist called Ralph Thompson, the author explained that “He is a divorced loner who has given up on romance, and has settled for eking out a cautious existence as a middle-aged schoolteacher with no ties or emotional entanglements.” Adding that “I sort of invented a character like me but not quite as there are considerable differences between us. Ralph just wants to mind his own little plot and keep himself out of trouble after a painful experience in marriage. I tried to make him a good teacher and a good listener.”

He then added, “What I am proud about in the book is that both characters are believable and the dialogue is normal and I like keeping them down to earth.”

Martin affirmed that “It is a really simple story really and it does not have a thriller plot except the last third, there is a lot of suspense. Everybody who has read the book and got back to me has said that they really couldn’t put it down.”

“False as Water” has received positive reviews with an example of this being one Goodreads reader giving it five stars and stating that it is “A thrilling, gripping read. False as Water is a love story which draws the reader in through its exploration of the horror of domestic violence and the entrapment experienced by so many women behind the curtains of everyday life.” Adding “The characters feel real and totally original and the dialogue feels true and laden with insightful observations on love, marriage and gender roles which stay with the reader long after the book is finished.”

Martin revealed that there will not be a sequel to the book but that he will continue writing and a second book is on the cards. If you would like to purchase a copy of “False as Water”, you can find this wonderful novel as a paperback on Amazon Spain and Amazon.com with the option to purchase it on Kindle.


Following undertaking her university degree in English with American Literature in the UK, Cristina da Costa Brookes moved back to Portugal to pursue a career in Journalism, where she has worked at The Portugal News for 3 years. Cristina’s passion lies with Arts & Culture as well as sharing all important community-related news.

Cristina da Costa Brookes