"The Thirteenth Tale" by Diane Setterfield? I really enjoyed it anyway!
"North and South" by Elizabeth Gaskell maybe? It's set in England during the Industrial Revolution. It's my favorite, after Pride and Prejudice. :)
I'm reading Jane Eyre right now and I'm really enjoying it. :)
"Pillars of the Earth" by Ken Follet is a sweeping historical epic and is one of the largest selling novels of all time. READ ON...
thanks i will definitely add some of these to my list
Gone with the Wind -- mainly from the perspective of Scarlett O'Hara. Amazing novel. Bridget Jones' Diary. Comedy, but highly intelligent.
The Words of Extraordinary Women--Also, I have a tag for Interesting and Unusual Women on my Shelfari many of which are historical. Also: Silent Spring by Rachel Carson AND The Story Of My Life by Helen Keller
Cleopatra: a Life by Stacy Schiff, a biography of the ultimate intelligent female.
The Tenant of Wildfell Hall- Charlotte BronteVery good.
the red necklace by Sally Gardner
Nobel Prize Women in Science: Their Lives, Struggles and Momentous Discoveries by Sharon Bertsch McGrayne
wow thanks. i'm very keen to read the tenant of wildfell hall especially. i love charlotte bronte.
Oh sheesh, it's by Anne Bronte. Sorry about that! Anne is Charlotte's sister, but she is also an amazing writer. Not stuffy or hard to read.
haha okay. it's already on my shelf so i should have known. lol.
Not sure if you like poetry or not, but Emily Bronte has a collection called "Poems of Solitude", it's one of my very favorite poetry books.Also, have you read any of Alison Weir's historical fiction? She's first and foremost a historian, mainly of British and French royalty, but she has 3 works of fiction that are amazing, and you know they're historically accurate, they're written by a historian! "Innocent Traitor" is about Lady Jane Grey (absolutely heart pounding), "Lady Elizabeth" is about Queen Elizabeth I in her early years from 3 yrs on, and "Captive Queen" is about Eleanor of Aquitane. (sp?) Wonderful books!
Sharon Key Penman is a good historical fiction writer, centers around medieval England and sometimes France. HERE BE DRAGONS is the first book in a three part series telling the story of Llewelyn Prince of Wales and King John. John's illegitimate daughter, Joanna, marries Llewelyn and one of the central story lines is their love story, and how it affects King John's court, since he has his eyes on taking over Wales. Sharon Kay Penman also wrote another historical novel, WHEN CHRIST AND HIS SAINTS SLEPT, about Maude, Countess of Anjou who preceded Eleanor of Aquitaine. I would recommend her writing.
Fingersmith by Sarah WatersCrimson Petal and the White by Michael Faber
The Millenium series by Stieg Larsson has a highly intelligent female protagonist (but it's not historical). The first book is The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo.
Breaking Night A Memoir of Forgiveness, Survival, and My Journey from Homeless to Harvardby Liz Murray
wow thanks for all the suggestions. i didn't even realise people were still writing on this post!
Please add The Red Tent (Anita Diamant) wonderfully written, you will read it more than once! More recently, Shanghai Girls (Lisa See) - beautiful story written around two sisters. 1000 Splendid Suns (Khaled Hosseini) - a book that cannot be read without tears running down your cheeks. I can think of dozens more and have learned through your post that historical books with feminine influence must be my favorite!
"Madame Godin, Love and Tragedy in the Amazon," by Sandra Gross. Female protagonist, endless spirit and courage to love, and a setting that treks through the Amazon.
Try Jeanette Winterson. "Written on the body" is my personal favourite. Intelligent, thought-provoking, brilliantly written. Basically it's about relationships. Not a soppy romance story, it's good literature.
You did not say if it had to be a novel (and it's not historical, but feminine all the way)...so I would suggest "Verses" by Ani Difranco; it's an awesome book of poetry writen by the politically minded "lefty" folk-rock guitarist, one of the best I've ever read! I hope you enjoy her as much as I do. Happy reading...