In many ways, time-bending sagas are a timeless genre, asking age-old questions about the limits of love, fate, memory, and forgiveness. But stories that question our experience of time have never felt more relevant than after more than two years (yes, really, two!) of a pandemic and quarantine wreaking havoc on the everyday experience of time in our lives. Find yourself feeling trapped in what feels like the same day again and again? Or feeling like you’ve aged twenty years in the last one? Crack open one of these eleven thought-provoking and pulse-pounding books to explore the twists and turns time can take . . . and to pass some of your own pandemic time a little more pleasurably.
Love Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series? Pick up VEIL OF TIME, the story of Maggie, a woman split between modern and ancient Scotland. After the death of her daughter, Maggie retires to a rural cottage, where she medicates herself into a haze. But through these drug-induced stupors, Maggie finds herself in the eighteenth-century Scottish village of Dunadd. As her flashbacks get longer, Maggie finds herself falling in love with the irresistible Prince Fergus, despite her present-day son’s wish for her to come back home.
The captivating tale of two Scotlands—one modern and one ancient—and the woman who parts the veil between them, Veil of Time has all of the elements that makes Outlander so memorable.
In a near future, a deadly flu is sweeping the nation. Polly, desperate to save her boyfriend Frank’s life, agrees to be sent twelve years into the future as a bounded laborer if the company hiring her gives Frank a cure. While the couple plans to meet up in Texas when Polly arrives, Polly is unexpectedly sent five years further into the future, only to find a completely unrecognizable America and Frank nowhere in sight. AN OCEAN OF MINUTES is a can’t-miss, emotionally astute speculative thriller.
Faye is a devoted mother to her daughters and a loving wife. But one morning she wakes up in 1977 and realizes that she has a once-in-a-lifetime chance to reconnect with the mother she lost when she was seven. As the days go by, Faye befriends her mother in a way she never could before, but she soon realizes she will have to decide between the people she loved in the past and those she’s responsible for in the present.
Heartfelt and irresistible—“a lovely, deeply moving story of loss and love and memory made real” (Diana Gabaldon, #1 New York Times bestselling author)—this enchanting debut follows a woman who travels back in time to be reunited with the mother she lost when she was a child.
Every night, as Faye puts her daughters to bed, she thinks of her own mother, Jeanie, who died when Faye was eight. The pain of that loss has never left her, and that’s why she wants her own girls to know how very much they are loved by her—and always will be, whatever happens.
Then one day, Faye gets her heart’s desire when she’s whisked back into the past and is reunited not just with her mother but with her own younger self.
Jeanie doesn’t recognize grown-up Faye as her daughter, even though there is something eerily familiar about her. But the two women become close friends and share all kinds of secrets—except for the deepest secret of all, the secret of who Faye really is. Faye worries that telling the truth may prevent her from being able to return to the present day, to her dear husband and beloved daughters. Eventually she’ll have to choose between those she loved in the past and those she loves in the here and now, and that knowledge presents her with an impossible choice.
If only she didn’t have to make it....
In this suspenseful and bewitching tale, Jac L’Etoile is the heir to her family’s famed perfume company. But after her mother commits suicide, she leaves her past behind to build a new life in America. Fourteen years later, she and her brother, Robbie, have inherited the company and Robbie has gone missing, leaving behind a dead body. As Jac digs deeper into the incredible discovery Robbie claims to have found in the family archives, she will find herself haunted by much more than just her own past.
A spellbinding novel from the internationally bestselling author!
A Secret Worth Dying For.
Jac L’Etoile is plunged into a world she thought she’d left behind when her brother, coheir to their father’s storied French perfumery, makes an earthshattering discovery in the family archives, and then suddenly goes missing—leaving a dead body in his wake. In Paris to investigate his disappearance, Jac becomes haunted by the legend of the House of L’Etoile. If there is an ancient perfume developed in Cleopatra’s time that holds the power to unlock memories of past lives, possessing it is not only worth living for…it’s worth killing for, too.
Fusing history, passion, and suspense in an intoxicating web that moves from Cleopatra’s Egypt and the terrors of revolutionary France to Tibet’s battle with China and the glamour of modern-day Paris, this marvelous, spellbinding novel comes to life as richly as our most wildly imagined dreams.
Physics prodigy Sophie Jones knows she is on the brink of cracking some of the universe’s core mysteries. But then she meets Jake and discovers there is more to life than trying to demystify it. Years later, when her life undergoes a devastating change, Sophie returns to her studies, determined to pick up where she left off. This time, she has a purpose: to uncover a world in which true love wins out, despite all odds. THE LOVE PROOF is a unique, heart-wrenching novel about love, loss, and the limits of what we can control.
In this “captivating, heartfelt, and utterly unique tale” (Emily Giffin, author of The Lies That Bind), a brilliant physicist studying the nature of time embarks on an unforgettable and life-changing journey to prove that those we love are always connected to us.
Sophie Jones is a physics prodigy on track to unlock the secrets of the universe. When she meets Jake Kristopher during their first week at Yale they instantly feel a deep connection, as if they’ve known each other before. Slowly, their love lures Sophie away from school.
When a shocking development forces Sophie into a new reality, she returns to physics to make sense of her world. She grapples with life’s big questions, including how to cope with unexpected change and loss. Inspired by her connection with Jake, Sophie throws herself into her studies, determined to prove that true loves belong together.
“Fans of The Time Traveler’s Wife will be blown away by Madeleine Henry’s The Love Proof” (PopSugar), a story of lasting connection, time, and intuition. It explores the course that perfect love can take between imperfect people and urges us to listen to our hearts rather than our heads.
FOR ALL TIME is a fresh and wholly romantic story of star-crossed lovers. Over the course of a thousand lives, Tamar and Fayard have been everything from pioneers to warriors, musicians to hustlers. Through it all they’ve loved each other and never been allowed to see how their story ends. Now, they may have discovered what it will take to break the cycle. But will they be able to sacrifice what it takes to see what comes next?
“An unforgettable and artfully crafted romance right down to the very last page.” —Julie Murphy, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Dumplin’
“A romance for the ages. Fresh voices and original predicaments make this one perfect little novel.”
—Stacey Lee, award-winning author of The Downstairs Girl
The Sun Is Also a Star meets Outlander in this vivid, utterly romantic debut novel about two teens who relive their tragic love story over and over until they uncover what they must do to change their fate.
Tamar is a musician, a warrior, a survivor. Fayard? He’s a pioneer, a hustler, a hopeless romantic.
Together, Tamar and Fayard have lived a thousand lives, seen the world build itself up from nothing only to tear itself down again in civil war. They’ve even watched humanity take to the stars. But in each life one thing remains the same: their love and their fight to be together. One love story after another. Their only concern is they never get to see how their story ends. Until now.
When they finally discover what it will take to break the cycle, will they be able to make the sacrifice?
After her beloved grandfather’s death, Anne visits her family’s estranged Irish homeland. There, Anne is transported back to 1921 Ireland. The country is on the brink of chaos, but Anne is drawn to the generous Dr. Thomas Smith and the political causes he supports. Before Anne can decide if she will stay in the past or return to the present, she must first survive the fight at hand. From bestselling author Amy Harmon, this is a poignant story of one woman’s dedication to connecting with her family’s past, no matter the cost.
In 1237, Elias is signed into eternal service to the Profitis Ilias in Mystras, Greece, in exchange for a lifesaving cure for his illness. Over the next eight hundred years, Elias lives on the outskirts of the city, paying his debt by using his own blood to keep the cursed Lusignan family line alive. That is, until he meets Helen, a single mother and scientist visiting Mystras. While Elias and Helen fall in love, Elias’s liminal existence will put both Helen and her son in danger in this romantic, historical epic, perfect for fans of Philippa Gregory.
From the author of the “engrossing historical epic” (Booklist) The Scribe of Siena comes a thrilling tale set in the crumbling city of Mystras, Greece, in which a scientist’s vacation with her young son quickly turns into a fight for their lives after they cross paths with a man out of time.
After the death of her beloved husband and becoming a single parent to her nine-year-old son Alexander, overworked scientist Helen desperately needs an escape. So when Alexander proposes a trip to Greece—somewhere he's always dreamed of visiting—Helen quickly agrees.
After spending several days exploring the tourist-filled streets, they stumble upon the ancient city of Mystras and are instantly drawn to it. Its only resident is Elias, a mysterious tour guide living on the city’s edges…both physically and temporally.
In 1237, Elias’s mother promised his eternal service to the Profitis Ilias in Mystras in exchange for surviving a terrible illness. But during his 800 years of labor, he’s had one common enemy: the noble Lusignan family. The Lusignan line is cursed by a deadly disease that worsens with each generation, and a prophecy hints that Elias’s blood is their only hope for a cure. He has managed to survive throughout the centuries, but the line has dwindled down to the last Lusignan and he is desperate to avert his family’s destiny.
When Elias runs into Helen, he meets his match for the first time—but he unwittingly puts both her and her young son in danger as a result. With time running out and an enemy after them, Elias and Helen are forced to choose between the city they love, and each other.
Blending the historical romance of Diana Gabaldon, the rich detail of Philippa Gregory’s novels, and Dan Brown’s fast-paced suspense, Anticipation is a thrilling and satisfying read like no other.
Katy is devastated when her mother, Carol, dies suddenly just before they were to take a trip to the Amalfi Coast, where Carol spent a summer before meeting Katy’s father. Katy goes to the town of Positano anyway, determined to commemorate her mother, only to find Carol herself as a thirty-year-old already there. As Katy befriends young Carol, she must reconcile the mother she knew with the quite different young woman she is now getting to know in this breathtaking, unexpected love story.
The New York Times bestselling author of the “heartwarming, heartbreaking, and hard to put down” (Laurie Frankel, New York Times bestselling author) modern classic In Five Years returns with a moving and unforgettable exploration of the powerful bond between mother and daughter set on the breathtaking Amalfi Coast.
When Katy’s mother dies, she is left reeling. Carol wasn’t just Katy’s mom, but her best friend and first phone call. She had all the answers and now, when Katy needs her the most, she is gone. To make matters worse, their planned mother-daughter trip of a lifetime looms: two weeks in Positano, the magical town Carol spent the summer right before she met Katy’s father. Katy has been waiting years for Carol to take her, and now she is faced with embarking on the adventure alone.
But as soon as she steps foot on the Amalfi Coast, Katy begins to feel her mother’s spirit. Buoyed by the stunning waters, beautiful cliffsides, delightful residents, and, of course, delectable food, Katy feels herself coming back to life.
And then Carol appears—in the flesh, healthy, sun-tanned, and thirty years old. Katy doesn’t understand what is happening, or how—all she can focus on is that she has somehow, impossibly, gotten her mother back. Over the course of one Italian summer, Katy gets to know Carol, not as her mother, but as the young woman before her. She is not exactly who Katy imagined she might be, however, and soon Katy must reconcile the mother who knew everything with the young woman who does not yet have a clue.
Rebecca Serle’s next great love story is here, and this time it’s between a mother and a daughter. With her signature “heartbreaking, redemptive, and authentic” (Jamie Ford, New York Times bestselling author) prose, Serle has crafted a transcendent novel about how we move on after loss, and how the people we love never truly leave us.
Barrett’s first day of college could not have gone worse: she was humiliated by Miles—the know-it-all in physics—accidentally set fire to a frat house, and got locked out of her dorm. But when she wakes the next morning, it’s her first day all over again. Soon, she discovers that Miles, too, has been stuck replaying the same day. As the two fall in love, they must determine how to fix their timelines . . . and what will happen to their relationship once they do. SEE YOU YESTERDAY is charming romance perfect for fans of the film Palm Springs.
From the author of Today Tonight Tomorrow comes a magical romance in the vein of Groundhog Day about a girl forced to relive her disastrous first day of college—only to discover that her nemesis is stuck in the time loop with her.
Barrett Bloom is hoping college will be a fresh start after a messy high school experience. But when school begins on September 21st, everything goes wrong. She’s humiliated by the know-it-all in her physics class, she botches her interview for the college paper, and at a party that night, she accidentally sets a frat on fire. She panics and flees, and when she realizes her roommate locked her out of their dorm, she falls asleep in the common room.
The next morning, Barrett’s perplexed to find herself back in her dorm room bed, no longer smelling of ashes and crushed dreams. It’s September 21st. Again. And after a confrontation with Miles, the guy from Physics 101, she learns she’s not alone—he’s been trapped for months.
When her attempts to fix her timeline fail, she agrees to work with Miles to find a way out. Soon they’re exploring the mysterious underbelly of the university and going on wild, romantic adventures. As they start falling for each other, they face the universe’s biggest unanswered question yet: what happens to their relationship if they finally make it to tomorrow?
In this much beloved New York Times bestseller, there is more than meets the eye to handsome Henry DeTamble’s life as a librarian. He also inadvertently travels through time, an ability which is never more inconvenient than after he meets Clare Abshire, an artist whose life progresses sequentially. As the two skip in and out of each other’s lives, they must test the power of love. If you’ve read this modern classic before, now’s a perfect time to reread or recommend it to a friend. An HBO adaptation of this utterly romantic and poignant tale debuts in May 2022!
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.
Photo credit: iStock / Nando Castoldi