The Innocents by Francesca Segal (Vintage, £7.99)

This debut novel by the Costa Book Award winner about a North London Jewish couple, Adam and Rachel, and the threat to their future marriage by Rachel's wayward artistic cousin, Ellie, takes a very long time to get started and you rather weary of all the capitalised signposts warning of disaster on the way there.

Aftermath: On Marriage And Separation by Rachel Cusk (Faber, £8.99)

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Cusk attracted a great deal of disapproval with this public examination of the end of her marriage and her attitude to the feminism that began in rebellion against her mother and which made her the breadwinner in the family. But it's also a remarkable process of self-examination that Cusk intelligently turns outward as well.

Amateurs In Eden: The Story Of A Bohemian Marriage: Nancy And Lawrence Durrell by Joanna Hodgkin (£9.99)

Hodgkin writes clearly and honestly about her beautiful mother's marriage to Lawrence Durrell, once a hot literary star and sadly under-read nowadays. Nancy escaped an unhappy mother to become an art student, then hooked up with Durrell for an impoverished writer's life in Corfu. Interestingly, Henry Miller encouraged her art, which Durrell never did.

The Uninvited Guests by Sadie Jones (Vintage, £7.99)

Jones's third novel wasn't just a complete change of direction for her, nor is it simply a delicious ghost story set in a shabby stately home between the world wars; it's also an intelligent and poignant reflection on death and loss, things young Emerald Torrington must get to grips with and soon. A fabulous read.

Lesley McDowell