Tracy Chevalier writes excellent historical fiction. Best known for Girl with a Pearl Earring, Chevalier is also the author of several of my favorite historical novels, including Falling Angels, which includes several scenes set in Highgate Cemetary, in London. A few years ago on a visit to London I dragged my friend Catherine to this eerie place, and I'm not sure she's forgiven me yet.
Remarkable Creatures is a fictionalized story of a real person, Mary Anning, a 19th-century working-class woman who was a skilled fossil hunter in Lyme Regis, in England. Anning found the first ichthyosaurus skeleton, among many other important fossils, in the chalk cliffs on the beach in Lyme Regis.
Chevalier writes beautifully from the point of view of Anning's friend Elizabeth Philpot (also a real person and a fossil hunter). Anning's struggles for recognition by the male scientific establishment are infuriating; frequently her discoveries were appropriated by others (men) and only in the last few decades has she gotten the notice she deserves. Chevalier has a nice website about the book and about Anning.
Becky Holmes blogs about books at A Book A Week.