Sometimes, just sometimes, book recommendations are worth heeding. It's often the case that you need to match the right book to the author. I'll take one modern example first: Marcus Sedgwick's Blood Red Snow White - a fascinating take on Arthur Ransome's time in Russia. It also has the most beautiful endpapers of period maps. I tried The Foreshadowing after that, but couldn't quite finish it. Then again, I've never found fantasy to be a genre I could read.
The vintage example is Dorita Fairlie Bruce who has legions of fans. I wasn't one of them: her school stories left me bored and it was a real struggle to get past Chapter Three. Then, a friend lent me Triffeny and The Serendipity Shop. Just reprinted by Girls Gone By books, they are much more interesting stories of Scotland, mostly from the social history angle as they relate to established crafts (polishing stones for beads and pottery-making) finding new ways to be relevant to young craftswomen developing alternative markets just as mass tourism arrives.