Now, you know me. If you're going to go out and buy a book as a gift for someone, you know I'd prefer it if you bought them nonfiction. But, even I will admit that some people just want fiction. Fair enough.
One of my favorite novels of the year was Anna Dean's Bellfield Hall, which I read when I was going through a particularly Anglophile phase (I think the BBC production of Emma had just finished up on PBS or something). I'll leave it up to Melissa at the Running with Books blog to describe the plot (as she does it better than I could) but rest assured that this Regency-era mystery is an engaging read with a delightful main character, Miss Dido Kent, who manages to be both a believably drawn eighteenth-century woman and a somewhat feisty dame.*
So who might like this book?
Anyone who loves Jane Austen but is out of Jane Austen books to read.
Anglophiles of any sort.
Mystery readers who enjoy British settings or historical mysteries. Another great series for those readers who prefer Victorian times is Charles Finch's Inspector Lennox series, starting with A Beautiful Blue Death. VERY British, very Victorian--you could almost believe you were sitting in London while you read them.
*If you can't tell (Diana Athill, Julia Child, Miss Dido Kent), I really enjoy feisty dames.