10 Dual Timeline Novels with Plots You’ll Be Desperate to Unravel

Sarah Walsh
January 23 2020
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There’s something special about books that traipse between different timelines—the nonsequential events of the past and present forming one intriguing narrative spread throughout time. If you enjoy novels that piece together different moments in history over the course of the book, make sure you check out these amazing novels that will surely have your mind working in overdrive to figure out how all of the puzzle pieces fit together.

The Light Over London
by Julia Kelly

When Cara Hargraves stumbles upon an old tin that holds an unfinished diary from WWII and a photo of a young woman in uniform, she becomes determine to find the author. While Cara works to unravel the story, Louise Keene’s life changes in 1941 when she meets pilot and is inspired to join the women’s auxiliary branch of the British Army. You’ll be reading Julia Kelly’s Light Over London with bated breath to find out how these two women’s stories intertwine.

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The Light Over London
Julia Kelly

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The Thirteenth Tale
by Diane Setterfield

No one knows much about reclusive author Vida Winter, the writer of twelve famous stories, as she has spent sixty years coming up with alternate realities of her life’s story. Finally ready to reveal her true story, she reaches out to biographer Margaret Lea who has struggled with her own history. As the two work together to reveal Vida’s truth, they both discover more about themselves than they could ever imagine.

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The Thirteenth Tale
Diane Setterfield

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In this novel, biographer Margaret Lea is approached by a well-loved but gravely ill author with a surprising request: she wants Margaret to capture her life story before it’s too late. Although Margaret has never read the author’s work, she’s intrigued, and soon gets immersed in her strange and troubling history. Now both women will have to confront their pasts—and grapple with the ghosts that still haunt them.

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The Clockmaker's Daughter
by Kate Morton

From the streets of Victorian London as a thief to becoming an artist’s muse and lover, one unnamed woman’s life changes dramatically in the summer of 1862 when a gun shot at Birchwood Manor leaves one woman dead and another missing. But the truth behind what happened that day remains a mystery for over a century until another young woman feels the pull of the manor.

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The Clockmaker's Daughter
Kate Morton

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Then She Was Gone
by Lisa Jewell

At 15, Ellie Mack, the perfect daughter, disappears without a trace. Her mother Laurel spends a decade trying to put her life together but never truly moves past her daughter’s disappearance. One day Laurel meets a handsome man who she develops a relationship with, only to find out his daughter bears a striking resemblance to Ellie. As the little girl continues to remind Laurel more of her own daughter, her desire to find out what really happened to Ellie is renewed…leading her to ask who exactly this man is and why does his daughter look so much like Ellie?

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Then She Was Gone
Lisa Jewell

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The Silent Patient
by Alex Michaelides

Alicia Berenson has the perfect life as a famous artist until one night her photographer husband comes home and she shoots him in the face five times, never speaking again. Criminal psychotherapist Theo Faber is intrigued by Alicia’s story and waits for years until he gets his chance to speak to her. As he works to get Alicia to speak, Theo becomes obsessed with the case, which may ultimately consume him.

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The Silent Patient
Alex Michaelides

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The Time Traveler's Wife
by Audrey Niffenegger

In Audrey Niffenegger’s novel, we find an untraditional love story that changes the lives of one couple. Henry DeTamble is a handsome librarian…who just happens to inadvertently travel through time. Despite Henry’s inability to stay in one moment in time for long, he meets and falls in love with Clare Abshire, an artist whose life runs a normal course. Will their love endure separation through time, or are the feelings that draw them to each other not strong enough?

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The Time Traveler's Wife
Audrey Niffenegger

Is time a parabola? If you asked the couple at the heart of this remarkable story, Henry DeTamble, a dashing, adventuresome librarian who travels involuntarily through time and Clare Abshire, an artist whose life takes a natural sequential course, they'd probably both say yes. Henry and Clare's passionate love affair endures across a sea of time and captures the two lovers in an impossibly romantic trap, and it is Audrey Niffenegger's cinematic storytelling that makes the novel's unconventional chronology so vibrantly triumphant.

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The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo
by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Hollywood icon Evelyn Hugo finally decides to tell the truth about her life’s story and chooses the relatively unknown reporter Monique Grant, who is currently struggling through her own personal tragedies. As Monique records Evelyn’s story, readers are taken back through time to Los Angeles in 1950s and forward to Evelyn’s choice to step away from stardom in the 1980s. As Evelyn continues to reveal her story, it seems like Monique might not have been a randomly chosen writer after all.

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The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo
Taylor Jenkins Reid

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Next Year in Havana
by Chanel Cleeton

In Next Year in Havana, readers are transported forward and backward in time between Havana in 1958 and Miami in 2017. In Miami, writer Marisol Ferrera wants to fulfill the final wish of her beloved grandmother, Elisa, and take her ashes to her homeland of Cuba. As Marisol arrives in Cuba, she learns more about her grandmother’s life as the reader experiences Havana in the 1950s through Elisa’s eyes as the daughter of a sugar baron. Marisol uses the lessons from her grandmother’s past to grow her own courage.

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Next Year in Havana
Chanel Cleeton

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The Winemaker's Wife
by Kristin Harmel

Newly married Inès’s life in the 1940s becomes much more harrowing when the Germans invade Champagne, the home of their champagne house Maison Chauveau, and her husband becomes part of the Résistance. Not only does Inès fear for their lives but also well-being of her friend Céline, the wife of their chef de cave, who is half-Jewish. In present-day New York, Liv Kent is struggling when her French grandmother shows up unexpectedly to tell her granddaughter the story of her past that leads Liv to Maison Chauveau.

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The Winemaker's Wife
Kristin Harmel

The author of the “engrossing” (People) international bestseller The Room on Rue Amélie returns with a moving story set amid the champagne vineyards of France during the darkest days of World War II, perfect for fans of Heather Morris’s The Tattooist of Auschwitz.

Champagne, 1940: Inès has just married Michel, the owner of storied champagne house Maison Chauveau, when the Germans invade. As the danger mounts, Michel turns his back on his marriage to begin hiding munitions for the Résistance. Inès fears they’ll be exposed, but for Céline, the French-Jewish wife of Chauveau’s chef de cave, the risk is even greater—rumors abound of Jews being shipped east to an unspeakable fate.

When Céline recklessly follows her heart in one desperate bid for happiness, and Inès makes a dangerous mistake with a Nazi collaborator, they risk the lives of those they love—and the vineyard that ties them together.

New York, 2019: Recently divorced, Liv Kent is at rock bottom when her feisty, eccentric French grandmother shows up unannounced, insisting on a trip to France. But the older woman has an ulterior motive—and a tragic, decades-old story to share. When past and present finally collide, Liv finds herself on a road to salvation that leads right to the caves of the Maison Chauveau.

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The Alice Network
by Kate Quinn

Kate Quinn’s historical novel tells the story of two cousins living extremely different lives during World War I and II—one a spy part of the Alice Network in France and the other an unconventional American socialite. When Charlie St. Clair, the socialite, finds herself pregnant 1947, she’s kicked out of her proper family and charts her own course to find out what happened to her beloved cousin. But in 1915 a different story is unrolling as Eve Gardiner becomes a secret agent during the Great War, which ultimately comes to a head 30 years later when Eve and Charlie meet in London.

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The Alice Network
Kate Quinn

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Photo credit: Ylanite Koppens/iStock

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