A Suppressed Cry: The Short Life Of A Victorian Daughter by Victoria Glendinning (Virago, £9.99)

Glendinning's first biography, published in 1969, is a family affair, about the life of her great-aunt, Quaker Winnie Seebohm, who was one of the first students at Newnham College, Cambridge. She died tragically young at only 22, from asthma. Glendinning's eye for period detail and empathy with her subject point to her future career.

The Beginner's Goodbye by Anne Tyler (Vintage, £7.99)

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Thirtysomething Aaron, who is crippled by flu caught as a baby, couldn't help his wife Dorothy when a tree fell on her and killed her. But, after her death, she has returned. There's guilt in loss here, as well as a gentle and kind reminder, in Tyler's deceptively easy prose, not to gloss over past difficulties in a relationship.

The Walking by Laleh Khadivi (Bloomsbury Circus, £12.99)

Khadivi's contemporary tale of Kurish Iranian brothers, Saladin and Ali, who flee to the US after taking part in a massacre, has a strangely distancing style, as though the self-conscious beauty of her prose and the distressing events she writes about are ultimately irreconcilable, which in many ways they are. A disconcerting read.

Summer by Tom Darling (Abacus, £8.99)

Some lovely writing here, about teenage Grace Hooper and her younger brother Billy in the aftermath of their parents' death, reminded me a little of Claire Keegan's superb novella Foster. Darling doesn't have quite the same depth, but his connection with and descriptions of landscape are honest and real and give this sad tale its strength.

Lesley McDowell