This is probably The Favorite setting, only because everything about it attracts me. Even the fact that the air was polluted and the streets were dirty. Horse and buggies, top hats, clock towers, pocket watches. Fascinating and so much playing room for the writer to take the story to astounding and wonderful heights. And when steampunk is added in and interwoven--WOW.
The Roaring Twenties
The flappers, dangerous and thrilling speakeasies, jazz, sex, the charleston, the rise of gangsters, lavish and extravagant parties and events. Dazzling, sparkling, incredible!
Example(s): Vixen by Jillian Larkin
Sadly, I haven't read any very contemporary books that take place in the crazy 1920s! I hope to find more books like Vixen.
This is another favorite for a few reasons. First being that I love castles. I love, love, love castles and the towns and structures that link up to it. AND since medieval is usually paired with fantasy makes it even better. There are no cars, there's no technology to get in the way. People ride horses and everybody is so proper and well-spoken. It's just so appealing in the face of such a technologically-inclined generation.
Mixed with time-travel, though, and this setting can help add to something heart-stopping and totally addictive! Which brings me to...
16th Century Italy
I had to do it, had to. I had to make a reference to the setting of Lisa T. Bergren's PHENOMENAL River of Time series. In a place like 16th century Italy you can expect to find well-spoken, thoughtful, chivalrous knights who's "prowess in battle" is nearly as amazing as they are. There are raging battles and turf wars, crazy politics, courtly intrigue, and such emphasis on family bonding and faith that makes you happy to read something so great in this type of setting. Horse-back riding, weapon training. And battles! I can't stress that enough only because I'm ALWAYS looking for the next fight to sink my teeth into and shake up my nerves. With the books set in Italy so long ago, the River of Time series does both of those things!
Look out for next week's Male Characters that make me want to read a book in Hand Over That Book, Please!! III What are YOUR favorite settings to read about?