It is really hard to recommend a new biography that does not look like patting on the back a friend and colleague.

Obviously Jane Ridley is a master of the art where royal biography is concerned but increasingly I am turning for pleasure towards memoir more than full-blown biography. Of the books I have read in the last month, I think Lea Ypi’s memoir Free about growing up in Albania was powerful and enjoyable (my no 1 choice… it brought back my own memories of travelling to Albania for Mother Teresa research).

But if I can go a little further back, I thought Keggie Carew’s memoir of her father Dadland was standout brilliant for both the sleuthing and the touching way she recreated her father’s life and war.

Group biography is another possibility in which case I’d pick Women of Rothschild as I love books that take women out of the shadows of their more famous husbands or fathers.

Anne Sebba’s new book Ethel Rosenberg: A Cold War Tragedy is out now.

Anne Sebba