Although I have a fondness for historical fiction, nothing beats reading a novel that was written in the time of its setting. I'd like to introduce you to a guilty pleasure author that warms my grandmotherly heart, Mary Stewart.
Many of her books are gothic romance with some fast-paced suspense. I suppose she's almost a mix of Daphne duMaurier and Mary Higgins Clark, but set about 60 years ago in England. Just the titles alone sound like they come from a bygone era: <i>Touch Not the Cat, Nine Coaches Waiting, Thornyhold</i>. The settings for Stewart's books are usually a remote and spooky European estate, with a naive young lady who is unfamiliar with her surroundings. Of course, she is simultaneously wooed and misled by a man she has just met, be he her employer or some other authority figure. It's up to her to decide whether he wants to marry her or kill her (or both!).
Full of suspense and danger, with just a touch of romance; something you could share with your grandmother over afternoon tea. Mary Stewart's books are like butterscotch candy: delicious, full of empty calories, but you still want more. I recommend you start with <i>Nine Coaches Waiting</i>. Let me know if you give her a try.