Paging through your blog tonight....gotta say, I loved Caleb's Crossing. I came to it after finding Geraldine Brooks through her Year of Wonders (about the Black Death, and a village that saved itself by shutting out the outside world for a year), and People of the Book (the 'biography' of the Sarajevo Haggadah). Both are fascinating snippets of history.
Another author I like is Anita Diamant. The Last Days of Dogtown, about a down-at-heel settlement outside Gloucester, MA, Puritan era, and The Red Tent, a re-telling of a large slice of the Old Testament from the point of view of the women (the red tent is where women removed themselves from society during their periods).
There is little better than well-researched, well-written historical fiction!