Liberty's Dawn:

A People's History Of The Industrial Revolution by Emma Griffin (Yale University Press, £12.99)

Not only did few working-class women from the era of the Industrial Revolution write their memoirs, their husbands rarely mentioned them in theirs. Griffin's excellent history of writing by those born in poverty does at least shine a light on what working men endured, though, and what they felt about it, in their own words.

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Runner by Patrick Lee (Penguin Crime, £6.99)

Lee's thriller is a compelling page-turner, if wholly traditional with its action-man hero, former soldier Sam Dryden, called upon to help a maiden in distress, in this case a young girl of 11 called Rachel, whom he comes across while out jogging one night. It's a simple set-up but an effective one.

If It's Not One Thing It's Your Mother by Julia Sweeney (Bloomsbury, £8.99)

Sweeney used to appear on Saturday Night Live and knows how to deliver a line. She does it easily and regularly in what seems superficially frothy but is actually a perceptive account of a mid-thirtysomething woman's life. Having survived cervical cancer, motherhood became crucial; this tracks the unusual way she achieved it.

The Girl From Station X by Elisa Segrave (Aurum Press, £9.99)

Memoirs of mothers by their daughters are often a way of repairing a breach between them, or exposing one. Mommie Dearest is probably the most vicious example of the latter kind. Here, Segrave heals memories of an often drunk and unreliable mother whose wartime diaries showed a very different woman, courageous and exciting.

Lesley McDowell