The Clan of the Cave Bear, by Jean M. AuelRead about another entry on the list.
Timeframe: ~28,000 years ago.
This is, of course, the grandmama of prehistorical fiction. Not only did it sell in amazing quantities and kick off the six-book Earth’s Children series, it sparked a major motion picture (with talk of a TV series on the way). Auel’s novel chronicles the conflict between Neanderthals and Cro-Magnons, a term used to describe the earliest modern humans, who lived in Europe prior to the most recent glaciers. Auel’s book was applauded for its use of modern research in developing the world of its characters, but also for the compelling (and juicy) drama in the chronicling of the life of Ayla, a Cro-Magnon girl taken to live with Neanderthals when she becomes separated from her tribe. Over time, Ayla’s differences put her at odds with her adopted family and lead to a self-discovery that occurs over the rest of the series. Subsequent research has poked holes in Auel’s imagined past, but it was accurate at the time, and remains captivating today.
The Clan of the Cave Bear is among five books that changed Richelle Mead.