I've read lots of historical fiction. This is second only to Gone with the Wind
. It has the added bonus of lacking a poorly-written sequel, so the end is the end. If you've ever wanted to escape to Restoration England without resorting to Harlequin Romances, this is your ticket. It's fun, bawdy (by 1940s standards), and as atmospheric as the most atmosphere-filled Dickens could ever be (and I love Dickens!).