A few more not to be missed.
Tobias Smollett, a wonderfully funny novelist and one of Dickens’ favourites. I suggest starting with Roderick Random and then Humphrey Clinker (in my opinion his best work.)
Samuel Richardson. The master of the epistolary novel. Try Pamela and the massive Clarissa Harlowe (daunting in its sheer size but once you’re into it you won’t want to put it down.) Henry Fielding wrote a wickedly funny parody of Pamela entitled Shamela (the two writers were poles apart and cordially detested each other). In fact Joseph Williams, Fielding’s first major novel (Shamela and Jonathan Wild are satires rather than novels) begins as a parody of Pamela, Joseph being supposedly Pamela‘s brother, but soon drops the parody and becomes one of the greatest comic novels in English, limbering Fielding up for his masterpiece Tom Jones. You won’t easily forget such characters as Parson Williams, Partridge the servant and the inimitable Mrs Slipslop, the worthy predecessor of Mrs Malaprop. (I admire Richardson but I love Fielding, who was also one of the greatest comic playwrights in English, his stage career being cut short by the infamous Licensing Act of 1737 and consequent censorship of plays.)
I’m getting carried away so I’ll cut it short with a quick recommendation of the precocious Fanny Burney and her Evelina (Samuel Johnson delighted in it) and don’t miss her diaries of life at Court and George III ("What, what, what?").
BTW the incredible sales of Richardson’s Pamela (it was said that a dog-eared copy could be found on the window-sill of every inn in England) resulted in the name’s sudden rise to become one of the most common in England. Hitherto it had been practically unknown save for readers of Sir Philip Sidney’s Arcadia , of which work she is the heroine.