GS v. STA: Time Travel Romance

Stephanie, a lurker (hi lurkers!) asks:

I am hoping you, and the bitchery, may be able to help me out.  Do you know of any time travel romances along the lines of the Meg Ryan movie “Kate and Leopold”?  I’m not picky about who does the time travel or which direction (hero to the future, heroine to the past or vise versa).

There was a time when every third romance was a time travel. This was back in the days when there was a cardboard postcard in the middle of the paperback, either Zebra or Dorchester, and there would invariably be a sex scene on either side of the at postcard. Anyone got a time travel they absolutely love?

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  1. leah says:

    Some of them can be a bit formulaic, but I like Lynn Kurland’s stories.  I think the first was a Dance Through Time.

  2. Janet W says:

    Not sure if you’d call this a romance but it’s marvelous time travel, especially if you’re a fan of the Big Apple: Jack Finney’s Time and Again describes the adventures of an artist who travels back to New York City in the 1890’s; he included period photographs of people and places … quote taken from the Amazon review.

  3. Edie says:

    I have to second the Lynn Kurland books, always enjoyable reads.
    The only other author I have read more than one of is Sandra Hill and her vikings, those books always make me laugh out loud.

  4. Edie says:

    Ok I officially have carp memory, I am sure I enjoyed the Karen Marie Moning Highlander books, they were time-travels weren’t they?

  5. teshara says:

    The Very Thought of You by Lynn Kurland.

    Alex and Margret and hilarious together. It’s the standard ‘serious grouch meets time traveling easy-go-lucky, yet smart’ other half, but in a twist, Margret is the medieval grouch and Alex is the cute, yet brilliant lawyer traveling through time.

    This book is worth reading just for her mistral. Seriously. He’s fantastic.

    LK’s books are kind of like popcorn. You have to keep reading, you can’t just read a chapter at a time. And all of her books intertwine with each other with This Is All I ask as a starting point.

  6. Jasmine says:

    Good one I like is by Angela Knight Jane’s Warlord.  I’m actually a big fan of most of her work: smart women, clever conversation, swift plots and amazing sex all wrapped into one!

    Here’s a quick summary:
    The Warlord is sent back in time from the future by the Temporal Enforcement Agency to protect Jane from being the next victim of a serial killer.  Turns out the serial killer he’s been tracking is also a time traveler who is jumping around in time doing the “unsolved” murders (aka Jack the Ripper).  However, if he messes up and kills someone who is supposed to live he could create a paradox and the whole universe goes kaboom.  Eep!

  7. Cheryl says:

    Constance O’Day Flannery wrote time travel romances starting with Timeless Passion in 1986. In that one the woman goes back to the mid 19th century. They are fun books to read and worth searching for.

  8. valor says:

    Nora Roberts as a pair of time travel romances that were recently reprinted together as, I think, Time and Again.
    I like them, but it is travel from the future to our time.

  9. Tina C. says:

    It’s an oldie, but a goodie (and got me started on reading her books):
    A Knight In Shining Armor, by Jude Deveraux

    If you haven’t read it already, there is time traveling in both directions and I loved the hero to death.  Very fun read.

  10. Claire says:

    And who could forget Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series, though I admit that after the 1st four I started to get a bit… exhausted.

    I second the Lynn Kurland rec. They are some serious sweet comfort reading.

  11. Elizabeth Wadsworth says:

    Dunno if this one is even in print, but Devil in Velvet by John Dickson Carr is a time travel/murder mystery with a strong romantic element.  It concerns a professor who through a deal with the Devil, travels back in time into the body of his Restoration period ancestor (kind of like Sam Beckett in Quantum Leap) to try and solve the murder of said ancestor’s wife, whose portrait he’s fallen in love with.  It’s been decades since I read it, but I recall it as being pretty entertaining.

  12. J. Hunter says:

    Hey Stephanie,

    If you want Time Travel, Romance, Action and you enjoy a smokin’ hot Highlander, check out Brenda Joyce’s Master of Time Series.  They’re showcased on my blog, The Blackraven’s Erotic Cafe.  If you click on the book, it’ll take you directly to Amazon if you decide to purchase them.

  13. MamaNice says:

    @ Edie: Yep, KMM’s Highlander Novels all have the time travel element to them, and I love ‘em. Esp. Dark Highlander.

    @ Tina C.: JD’s KISA – yes!!! My first “time-travel” romance, and I remember thinking…“why hasn’t anyone thought to do this before? (they might have, but this was my first encounter with it).

    @ Claire: DG’s Outlander series is in a class of its own…the time travel element is just one small part of the awesomeness of these books. Not light stuff like Kate & Leopold, but well worth the investment getting into this series needs!

    @ J. Hunter: never read a Brenda Joyce – but combine time travel and Highlanders and I’m sold – I’ll be checking her out, thanks!

    I swear back in the day I read an old-skool Johanna Lindsey that had time travel – a teacher collected old swords and when she touched one it transported a dude right to her.

    I guess part of the attraction for these goes back to my love of the Narnia books…and the possibility that I could walk through a door, mirror, whatever – and find myself in another time.
    And I love the fish-out-of-water storyline of the 16th century warrior in a 21st century world. I don’t care how absurd or cheesy it gets, I eat it up and ask for seconds.

  14. Vanessa says:

    Popping out of lurkdom to put in another good word for Lynn Kurland books 🙂 My most favorite of hers isn’t a time-travel (This Is All I Ask), but most of her other ones are, and I love and own them all. The one about Jamie and Elizabeth is a good place to start, I think its “A Dance Though Time”. She writes primarily about two different families, and they occasionally meet in the past, and the present. It’s fun. 😀

  15. teshara says:

    hee hee. Jamie’s a hottie…

  16. RStewie says:

    One of my alltime favorite time travel romances is Son of the Morning by Linda Howard.  Great writing, and incredibly hot sex.  One of her best, IMO.

    Another was the Outlander series, although I didn’t follow through after Book 4.  (I’m with Clair on that one, it just started to wear me out, although my sister is an avid fan and has the entire series.)

    I must be one of the few that didn’t really like Knight in Shining Armor.  The story was good, but I just wasn’t fond of the ending.  It needed either more, or less…

    I’ll second Jasmine’s recommendation for Jane’s Warlord, though, and heartily.  I LOVE that book.  I let my roommate borrow it when I deployed, though, and have yet to pick up a replacement after she STOLE IT. 

    Another that I really liked was J. Suzanne Frank’s series that begins with Reflections in the Nile.  I may have pimped this series at this or other websites already…it really is great, though, both as a romance, a time-travel story, and as historical fiction.  Check your library, though…they’re old.

  17. Jody W. says:

    Quinn’s Way, an old Harlequin American Romance by Rebecca Flanders is future hero comes to the past. If Jane’s Warlord is like a romance Terminator, Quinn’s Way is like a romance Starman. Naturally, the romance versions have much happier endings :).

    Also recommended: Doomsday Book and To Say Nothing of the Dog. Doomsday has minimal romance, Dog has quite a bit. They’re both sf novels, not romance genre novels.

  18. Tracy Wolff says:

    If you don’t mind hot and sexy, Beth Kery has a really good time travel romance out called Daring Time.  It involves the hero going back in time and the heroine coming forward.  I’m not a big time-travel person, but I thought she did it very, very well.

  19. Janet W says:

    Devil in Velvet is incredible … I’m going to track down my old tattered copy!

  20. HaloKun says:

    I have to second The Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon.

    I am also not a big time travel person but I think Diana Gabaldon handles the “realities” of time travel better than even some science fiction authors.  It’s all very matter of fact for her heroine.  And the side characters really bring the story to life.

    But only book one.

  21. Noodle says:

    De-lurking to say that I think my favorite time-travel romance was Lady Hilary’s Halloween by Anne Barbour.  It’s got a mix of my fave heroine/hero, regency bluestockings and their haughty nobleman “Women have brains? pshaw!” intellectual equals plus, Romans!  The part I really like about this one (aside from it’s being very charming and well-written with no egregious ancient historical errors) is that the roman centurion time traveller is a catalyst for the romance, not one of our protags.

    See, I’ve never been able to get into TT, mostly because while I will accept a lot of anachronistic (for lack of a better term) elements in my romance, the fantasy that my one true love was born 800 years ago is just too depressing for words.  (Also, I hate the women who choose to live 300 years ago with their OTL instead of bringing him to modern times where we have awesome things like sanitation! iPods! the right to vote!)

    Okay, back to regularly scheduled lurking.

  22. Lahni says:

    I second To Say Nothing of the Dog.  Not a traditional romance novel but there is a love story and there is time travel.  And it’s funny!

  23. Carin says:

    I’m putting in a vote for A Knight In Shining Armor, by Jude Deveraux.  That was my first time travel and I still love it. 

    I also love Jane’s Warlord, by Angela Knight.  I just finished reading Guardian (and Warrior, a while back, too).  It looks like Knight is doing a series of Time Travelers and they are good!

    I also really enjoyed Spell of the Highlander, by Karen Marie Moning, and now I want to read the rest!  I had no problem reading a book near/at the end of her series.  Very fun!

  24. Lita says:

    There’s a great pair of time travel romances, from the mid-1980’s – unfortunately I can’t remember the names of the books or the authors (which kind of makes this a HABO post).

    I do remember the particulars – divorced woman, living in Connecticut is driving home and all of a sudden, a Regency buck appears in her car!  He’s an earl, it think.  Things, of course, take their course, they fall in love and want to get married, but they are worried that he might be pulled back to his time.  They go to England and the old ancestral home, explore the family records and find that the XXth earl disappeared one night, never to be seen again!  They get married and have a baby, and just as the book is ending, the heroine, holding the baby, gets pulled into a time vortex…

    The second book starts with the heroine, now an indentured servant, scrubbing floors (or something) in a house in Colonial – era Connecticut, and the husband shows up as a guest of the family (maybe engaged to the daughter?).  The second book was definitely a let down – the heroine, a strong and independent person in book one, became a whiney, clingy, dishrag in the second.  I know I really enjoyed book one enough to read it more than once, but I don’t think I actually finished the second – except the skip to the ending to find the HEA.

    Anyone know these books?


  25. Katiebabs says:

    Outlander hands down.
    Also miss the good old days of when Dara Joy didn’t lose it. Rejar and Knight of a Trillion Stars are my favorite time travels.

  26. Caroline says:

    Julianne Lee wrote a book series called Knight’s Tenebrae, Knight’s Blood, and Knight’s Lady which are quite good.

    The series is based on two people, Alex and Lindsay, who are thrown back into 14th century Scotland from the 21st Century. its an interesting story, and I kind of disliked Lindsay’s (the heroine) character (a bit), but found the story engrossing.

    It has good elements of magic, love, history, and of course, knights and horses and armour OH MY!

  27. DS says:

    @Lita – are those Joann Simon’s time travel novels?  Can’t remember the titles.

    I would like to put a word in for Time and Again by Beverly Sommers.  It was published mid 80’s but kind of fun.  Contemporary heroine ends up back in San Francisco at time of the earthquake.

  28. Sandra says:

    Green Darkness by Anya Seton.  First published in 1972.  It’s an oldie but a goodie.

  29. LG says:

    I remember really liking A Knight in Shining Armor by Jude Deveraux.  There’s also Outlander by Diana Gabaldon (and the books that come after, although I found that I got bored with Claire, Jamie, and their relationship after a while).  There’s also Rejar by Dara Joy – it’s not the first book in the series, but it’s the one that’s most like other time travel romances (don’t expect the book to be a stickler for historical accuracy, though).  Knight of a Trillion Stars by Dara Joy is also sort of a time travel romance, but, in my opinion, it leans much more heavily on the “futuristic” or “fantasy” romance side.

  30. wendy says:

    If you like ancient Egypt and early civilization there’s a pretty good series by Suzanne Frank about a couple who try to find one another again and reconnect after they get separated in different time periods. The three books in order are : Reflections in the Nile, Shadows on the Agean, and Sunrise on the Mediterranean.

  31. Melissandre says:

    If you love time travel, you can’t go wrong with Lynn Kurland.  Definitely read her stuff in publication order, since her later books are completely intertwined.  The character reunions get a little tedious, but her early stuff is great.  Like many others, I’ve also got to promote Outlander and A Knight in Shining Armor.  I also love time travel, and these are the best.

    I also really enjoyed a book called Knight Errant (book one in a trilogy)by R. Garcia y Robertson.  A woman travels back to the War of the Roses, a prince falls in love with her, and she gains magic powers.  It’s not a strict romance, but has a lot of great historical detail.  And, though not time travel books per se, you might enjoy the Goddess Summoning series by P.C. Cast.  They all include a modern woman who find romance when transported into a mythical world, or gods who travel to ours.  If what you enjoy is the conflict of cultures, this will fit the bill (plus, gods are hawt).

    I haven’t read them yet, but you might try Seducing Mr. Darcy and Tumbling Through Time by Gwyn Cready.  I don’t know the quality, but they do include some time travel (and book travel, I guess).  They’re in my TBR pile.

  32. Lovecow2000 says:

    Question: Does anyone remember the author or title for the following:
    A country singer is on video shoot in England and gets lost in a maze and ends up in Tudor/Elizabethan England? I think there is a rose in the title?

    I thought this might be a CFoD book, but am not sure.

    Anyway, it was good.

  33. Casi Nerina says:

    Everyone seems to be touching on the oldies (and usually goodies) that occurred before my time…

    Here’s an author that’s writing a Time-Traveling Viking-Navy SEAL series: Sandra Hill.  She actually has two viking/time traveling series, but my favorite is the second series which starts with “The Last Viking” and currently has about ten books in it.  Plus, she’s still adding more t both series.

  34. Himani says:

    Blue-eyed Bandit by Stobie Piel.

    Stobie Piel was the author of the first romance book I ever read, back when I was an impressionable teenager, and I enjoyed the story thoroughly. I went to find more of her work and stumbled upon this sweet, fun novel. The reason I loved it: the guy was a virgin and the woman wasn’t (but, it still sticks to the romance rules of “the true love will give the orgasms” :D). Great male hero, overall fun. Later, when I read the first Highlander book (which, by the way, is another time-traveling romance), I saw similarities, although I liked this one MUCH better.

  35. wylykat says:

    The Changeling Bride and George and the Virgin both by Lisa Cach and The Charm Stone by Donna Kauffman.

  36. SonomaLass says:

    Another word for Connie Willis, a fantasy writer who does love stories very well. To Say Nothing of the Dog is brilliant, as are all her other books, IMO.

    Diana Gabaldon’s books are a huge investment in time and energy, but I loved them.  Got a little burned out around book five, but that was my own fault for reading them too close together.  I gave myself time off and just read the sixth one, and it was well worth it. Now I’m ready for book seven, coming later this month.  My favorite was the third book, Voyager, because to me it was the most romantic.

    My problem with most time-travel romance is the way the premise is developed—it’s a world-building element, and too often I find that aspect simplistic.  As a reader of epic fantasy, I can get grumpy when I don’t get good world building.

  37. Wow, yes, what happened to time travel romances?  They died, didn’t they?  I haven’t seen one for ages.

  38. SonomaLass says:

    Also, Jane over at Dear Author has a piece about the Pioneers of Paranormal Romance that includes some time travel books.

  39. Melissandre says:


    I read that book too!  I found the title!  Once Upon a Rose by Judith O’Brien.

  40. Natasha R says:

    A few people have mentioned this already but… try the Highlander series by Karen Marie Moning! I love that series and I’m not a big fan of time travel! 🙂

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