I have been reading novels by Tracy Chevalier after a recommendation from a friend who lent me the first I read.
The first novel I read was Girl with Pearl Earring. I have always admired the paintings of Vermeer so this setting for the story suited me. What I liked most about the work was the lack of a plot in the sense that many modern novels have a bullet-like plot-thread. Tracy allows one to look around and come to know the characters as though they are people you might meet rather than means to show how clever the author is. Towards the end Tracy clearly felt the need for closure and a small plot emerges that allows her to wind up the story.
The second book I read was Remarkable Creatures. I would make the same comments as above, but also add the shame I felt for not knowing about Mary Anning and Elizabeth Philpot. The names of the male palaeontologists of the time were familiar to me. Thanks to Tracy I not only got some biography from the novel but also read more about them thanks to Google.