11 Best Time Travel Romance Novels: Sci Fi with a Kiss

Some say a great romance endures the test of time. The following novels make the case that even if time is not on anybody’s side, romance will find ways to circumvent the force of nature to rekindle. If the idea of the stubbornness of love floats your boat, here are some of the best time travel novels romance to tickle your fancy. Here are 11 of the best Time Travel Romance Novels out there to read right now!

The Girl Who Leapt Through Time (2011) by Yasutaka Tsutsui

Romance that involves a teenage girl almost always calls for some complicated story. Kazuko Yoshiyama, a middle school student, is just about to have a car accident one morning only to find herself transported back exactly to 24 hours in the past. She tells her friends about it and proves her new ability to time-leap by making accurate predictions about a house catching fire and an earthquake. In one of her repeated teleportation through time, she encounters a man named Ken Sogoru, who also is a time-traveller, and falls in love with him. As expected, it is a tricky love story because the man has to go and erase all memories of himself from everyone he has met.

The Time Traveler’s Wife (2003) by Audrey Niffenegger

Time Travel Romance Novels

Henry DeTamble (born 1963) has a genetic disorder known as Chrono-Impairment, which causes him to inadvertently leap through time to the past and future. He neither has control over it nor any idea where or when the next leap will take him. He doesn’t even know how long any trip will last. However, the times and destinations are usually tied to his subconscious. Following a meeting with his future wife, Clare, in 1991, Henry begins to time-travel to the past and meet with her younger version. They had first made love in 1989 or just about two years before the two met. Henry dies when he involuntarily jumps back to 1984 Michigan and is accidentally shot by Clare’s brother. It turns out that a version of Henry from the past can also travel forward into the future and reunite with Clare when she is 82 years old.

Outlander (1991) by Diana Gabaldon

Claire Randall is having a vacation with her husband in Scotland and suddenly leaps back through time into 1743. She is forced to marry a man named Jamie MacKenzie, although she gradually falls for him, anyway. Claire now has to decide whether to find ways back to the future and reunite with her husband or stay with Jamie whom she now believes is the love of her life.

Bid Time Return (1975) by Richard Matheson

Richard Collier has been diagnosed with a brain tumor. Doctors say the tumor is inoperable, practically a death sentence for him. Out of desperation, he decides to live his remaining days at the Hotel del Coronado when he grows to love an actress named Elise McKenna. The only problem is that Elise has been dead for decades. Collier somehow discovers a method to travel back in time and live a love story with Elise. A doctor is not convinced about his ability and believes the whole thing is a mere fantasy of a dying man.

The Sense of the Past (1917) by Henry James

American-British author Henry James left an unfinished work when he died in 1916. The novel ended up getting published anyway, as The Sense of the Past, about a year later. It tells the story of Ralph Pendrel, who discovers that he can travel back in time to his ancestors’ by going to their London home. While spending time in the past, he falls in love with Nan, who reciprocates the feeling. James never had the chance to finish the novel, but leaves a note that Ralph either goes back to the present time and returns to another woman or stays in the past to be with Nan.

The Dancers at the Edge of Time (1981) by Michael Moorecock

First thing first, The Dancers at the Edge of Time is not a stand-alone title but a series of sci-fi novels comprising a trilogy and several short stories. It tells the tale of the end of time where the universe is about to collapse. Jherek Carnelian, one of the few naturally born humans, comes across a time traveler named Amelia Underwood and knows they will fall for each other. The series follows their journey together, bouncing back and forth in time. Their love might just be much more important than what it appears to be.

Time and Again (1970) by Jack Finney

Simon Morley travels back in time to 1882 New York City hoping to solve a mystery. He meets Julia on his journey and falls in love with her. Although she doesn’t return the affection in kind at first, her love for him grows naturally and their adventure is filled with joyful moments. The novel also offers a dense of action and mystery, bound by a love story.

What The Wind Knows (2019) by Amy Harmon

Anne Gallagher takes the trip to Ireland to scatter her grandfather’s ashes and discover more about his family tree. Soon enough, she finds herself lost in a fog and getting shot. Anne is not dead yet, a young doctor named Thomas Smith pulls her out of a lake to safety. Anne comes to realize she has leapt through time and is now in 1921. The young doctor turns out to be the guardian of a small boy, who also is Anne’s grandfather.

Time After Time (2019) by Lisa Grunwald

Joe Reynolds bumps into Nora Lansing, a beautiful yet out-of-style young woman at the Grand Central Station. While walking Nora home to Turtle Bay Gardens, she vanishes without a trace. About a year later, Nora comes back only to disappear again in more or less the same fashion. After some conversation with her father, Joe learns that Nora Lansing is trapped in a time loop and never able to leave Grand Central.

The Here and Now (2014) by Ann Brashares

Prenna James was originally from a place known as Postremo, a scary region of the world where everybody is prone to death-inducing mosquito bites. She moved to 21st-century New York about five years ago, but she never actually went anywhere because the two places are just about the same. The difference is that Postremo exists in the future. She is part of a group of people who travel back in time to prevent disasters. The rules in her community are simple: do not reveal your true identity, never tinker with history, and stay away from having intimate relationships with anybody outside the community itself. She breaks the last rule.

Opposite of Always (2019) by Justin A. Reynolds

Jack King, a senior in high school, believes he is about to embrace a world full of exciting love stories when he meets Kate, a freshman in college. It all seems like she feels the same way he does until one day Kate stands him up for prom and dies. Jack cannot believe such a sad story and begins to time-loop. He relives the relationship and is determined to change the outcome.

Have you read other time-travel romance novels? Do you find any of them providing a satisfactory solution to any time travel paradoxes? We’d love to hear from you.

Other things you might want to know:

Novels in the Outlander series:

  • Outlander (1991)
  • Dragonfly in Amber (1992)
  • Voyager (1994)
  • Drums of Autumn (1997)
  • The Fiery Cross (2001)
  • A Breath of Snow and Ashes (2005)
  • An Echo in the Bone (2009)
  • Written in My Own Heart’s Blood (2014)
  • Go Tell the Bees That I Am Gone (2021)

Besides novels, there are also novellas/short stories, audiobooks and even graphic novels.

Other popular books Amy Harmon:

  • Running Barefoot (2012)
  • Making Faces (2013)
  • A Different Blue (2013)
  • From Sand and Ash (2016)
  • The Smallest Part (2018)
  • Where the Lost Wander (2020)
  • The Unknown Beloved (2022)

What is the first time-travel novel?

“Memoirs of the Twentieth Century” (1733) by Samuel Madden is said to be the first novel in which time travel to the past is used as the premise. That said, many regard H. G. Wells’s “The Time Machine” (1895) as the progenitor of time travel subgenre.

Check out other articles by month: