Jane Austen is definitely a very good author to read, I've almost read them all and my favorite is Pride and Prejudice, the second one Sense and Sensibility. I also have read a long time ago The Mists of Avalon series. What I did especially like in the latter was the fact that the famous Arthurian legends was seen from the perspective of the women characters, especially Morgaine who was fighting to save her Celtic religion from the threats of Christianity.
I was thinking of another very good author, unfortunately only some of her novels has been translated in English, German or Spanish for what I know: Catherine Hermary-Vieille. For those who read French and love historical novels, I highly recommend Le Crépuscule des rois trilogy.
In this trilogy, Catherine Hermary-Vieille write about the main human traits such as heroism, cowardice, voluptuous or passionate love affairs evolving between shadow and light, redemption and damnation. She does it with a great talent, kind of like a biography (historical background) spiced up with sensuality. The trilogy is situate between the end of the Middle Ages and the dawn of the Renaissance. Between England, France and Flanders, kings, queens, great lords and adventurers are tearing each other apart for power. A dark and mystical era, sumptuous and violent, haunted by unusual characters, beautiful and ambitious women, such as Marguerite d'Anjou, daughter of King René, and Elizabeth of York, children with a dramatic destiny, such as the two sons of King Edward IV, stifled in the Tower of London by order of their uncle, the highly controversial Richard III. The tragic death of the ultimate descendant of York brought an end to the bloody War of the Two Roses, which from 1455 to 1485 pitted the enemy cousins, Lancaster and York, against each other.
Another author I would recommend in the same way (a man, yes, I think he is doted with a very good sense of femininity and he seems takes on that feminine part of himself) is Gilbert Sinoué. Some of his French books have been translated in Spanish, Italian, even some in German, and also in English, as the second one below. I especially loved and read several times one of his famous novel, Avicenne ou La route d'Ispahan, relating the life of Avicenna, the Persian doctor, philosopher and scientist who struggles between his innate need to care for others and the big love of his life. My second favorite book is The Book of Sapphire which has been translated in English. It's a theological/thriller/history novel that I also read several times, Time travel guaranteed! The story is about three men, a muslim, a christian and a jew, all of them esoteric scholars who got involved together in search for the secret of all secrets, The Book of Sapphire, which would be the living proof of the existence of god, all this happening in the Inquisition time in Spain. Fascinating to read especially about the interaction of the characters and what makes a good relationship between them, including with the main female character (given the three men are religious), it's very well written (I don't know the English translation quality) as well as his other books.
To finish, I would like to talk a bit about The House of the Spirits written by Isabel Allende. The story deals with the absoluteness of love, familiarity and death, all within several generations in a family saga that builds and deconstructs relationships between the master of the estate and members of his family, the servants of the house and the peasants who work in the fields, and whose story fits in with that one of Chile as State.
I love sagas: It gives an idea of what a future can become based on what has happened in the past. That's why I love Darkover as the story runs on more than 2,000 years... recounting unconditional love relationships that have to deal with the prejudices of others and society while struggling to maintain their values, which are not always in line with the dominant culture in which they live.
Thank you Laura for The Sons of Sin series, I added them in my Edition wish-list on Amazon.