I guess that's why I LOVE to read books that are set in... where else? NEW YORK! It's like reading about stuff that happens in my own backyard. The most recent book I've finished that is now on my "All Time Favorites" shelf is New York: The Novel by Edward Rutherfurd. This book should be required reading for anyone who considers themself a New Yorker!
An absolute epic, it spans hundreds of years - from the discovery of the Hudson River right up to the tragic end of The World Trade Center. So rich with history, the pages turned as if by themselves. I loved reading about Manhattan - how it started as all farm land and has grown through the centuries into the metropolis it is today.
Edward Rutherfurd is one the best authors of historical novels that I know of. His descriptions are spot on; just close your eyes and you're there! I think I especially liked this because I could picture in my mind's eye the mansions on Fifth Avenue, the building of the Empire State Building, Henry Hudson sailing up the river to trade furs with the Native Americans. All of it was so real. And all of it so familiar to me.
But just like Rutherfurd's other works (i.e. Sarum, Russka, The Rebels of Ireland) New York is not a quick read. It is ambitious, to say the least. It is an epic; a nice fat book that will keep you reading looong into the night.
So, that being said... I think novels that are set in New York would definitely be very high on my list of books to read. Especially turn of the century, 1900 New York City! I don't know what it is about this time period, but when I encounter a book with this setting, I am drawn in like a bee to honey.
The next book I am starting (when it arrives in my mailbox!) is The Luxe by Anna Godbersen. Set in the same time period (turn of the century Manhattan) this series focuses on two "society" girls who are used to the finer things in life. Touted as the Gossip Girl of 1900... I can't wait to start! And for good measure, I also ordered the second book in the series, Rumors. There is no doubt in my mind I will be back for Book #3 - Envy; and Book #4 - Splendor.
Some other "turn of the century New York" authors and books you might like:
Murder On Astor Place by Victoria Thompson - "gaslight" mystery series about a midwife in Manhattan c. 1898
City of Light by Lauren Belfer - Niagara Falls c. 1901
The Day The Falls Stood Still by Cathy Marie Buchanan - Niagara Falls c. 1915
Deadly Love by Brenda Joyce - "Deadly" series about a debutante in Manhattan c. 1900
I know there are some more that I haven't mentioned, but if you are interested in historicals for this time period, this list should get you started. I would love to hear of any others that you may know about that maybe I don't.
Do you have a favorite setting or era that particularly interests you?