By chance I have recently read five books which, whilst all different, provide an interesting historical background to France and would be of interest to anyone living here. I say by chance because 4 of them came from the Oxfam shop and one was lent to us, but they do all hang together quite well. You can probably get most of them on Amazon.
The French Revolution is well written and obviously covers a later period – the 1790s. You soon start thinking whenever a new name is mentioned that he will have his day and then fairly soon he will be denounced and his head removed and someone else will take over only for the same thing to happen to them and so on.
Celestine is a wonderful book about an English woman buying a house in France and discovering some old letters in it, which sets her off on a quest to research the village and its people. It is a must read for everyone living here. It covers the last 200 years.