Karleen Koen’s Through a Glass Darkly (1986) is one of my go-to historical fiction finds. It has a strong female protagonist, rich historical detail, and both a prequel and a sequel, to boot, for if the patron enjoys it.
Set in eighteenth-century England, it’s the tale of headstrong Barbara Alderley, who was born into a rapidly declining noble family. At age 16 she’s betrothed to a neighboring earl, who is only after her family’s land. But no matter, because she’s actually in love with him, despite a 26-year age difference. He takes her on a whirlwind trip through society, including the French court (ooh-la-la!).
Sweeping, romantic, and absorbing, Through a Glass Darkly was followed 10 years later by Now Face to Face (1996), which continues Barbara’s adventures in the New World; another 10 years after that came the prequel, Dark Angels (2006), with the story of Barbara’s grandmother. This epic which spans decades is a sure bet for reading enjoyment!