The Railway In Scotland by PJG Ransom (Birlinn, £20)
This Scottish railway history is a sumptuous production that captures in beautiful photographs the contrast between urban and rural, past and present, the everyday and the special occasion. Ransom's love of the train throws up interesting facts such as Walter Scott's support for the Berwick-Kelso line and those 'phantom' much-promised railway lines that were never to be.
City Of Women by David Gillham (Penguin, £8.99)
Gillham's story isn't just about a married German woman during the war who has an affair with a Jew, it's also about the underground movement in Berlin and his heroine's part in hiding people from the Nazis. A dramatic story told with confidence, if a little lacking in poetry to inspire a strong emotional response.
Granta 125: After The War (Granta, £12.99)
The time after imaginary wars (as in AL Kennedy's Late In Life) or after real wars such as the Soviet-controlled Romania that turns children into spies (as in Herta Muller's excellent Always The Same Snow And Always The Same Uncle) is one of danger and sorrow that lasts indefinitely, as this superb collection of fiction and non-fiction shows.
Sylvia's Lovers by Elizabeth Gaskell (Oxford World's Classics, £10.99)
Gaskell's last and sadly little-read novel was completed just two years before her death in 1865 at the age of 55, but it grew out of the research she did for her biography of Charlotte Brontë and was set in a melodramatic Yorkshire landscape with a romantic yet independent heroine in the Brontë vein. Well worth reading.