Doomsday Book by Connie Willis
Kivrin is studying history at Oxford when she is presented with the opportunity to join one of the super elite teams running trips to and from the past in the name of historical research. (Oh yeah, did I mention this book has time travel? Because it does and it's great.) Of all the periods in history to choose from, Kivrin finds herself in the middle of the Black Plague. Technical difficulties ensue and she has to figure out to navigate the world of the 14th century Europe.
Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller
A young boy, Patroclus, is exiled to a foreign court where he meets and befriends the young prince Achilles. The two grow up and eventually fall in love before heading off to war. This book is great mostly because of the well-written relationship between the two main characters. It is a different and engaging take on a well-known story.
Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett
Medieval villages? Cathedral architecture? Church politics? Sign me up! But even if those three descriptors don't get you running to check this book out, don't despair. Ken Follett does a marvelous job of world and character building so even if you aren't necessarily interested in the finer points of medieval wall supports, the plot and characters will make it well worth your while.
WARNING: this book is very violent at times and does have scenes of sexual assault.
This book chronicles the journey of Nefertiti from a young girl to a powerful Egyptian queen. It's most compelling aspect, however, is the powerful story of the relationship between Nefertiti and her sister Mutnodjmet. Ancient girl power all the way.
The Red Tent by Anita Diamant
Speaking of ancient girl power, this book is another great adaptation of a popular story - in this case, a story from the book of Genesis in the Bible. It follows the journey of Dinah, the daughter of Jacob, as she grows up with her four mothers. Told from Dinah's perspective, it gives a new light to a very old story.