My Love Affair With Time Travel

My name is Caren and I’m a time-travel addict. I heard the murmurs of, “Hi, Caren!” coming from you guys, so don’t be shy if you’re an addict, too. I’ve been reflecting on my love affair with time travel romances lately for a couple of reasons. Really good reasons. Even hunky reasons!

Jamie and ClaireIn case you’ve been living under a large and marketing-impervious rock, you’ve probably heard that Diana Gabaldon’s fabulous Outlander is finally coming to the screen! Of course, it’s the small screen and it’s only on the Starz network, but still. It’s coming to our homes! I fell in love with Outlander when it first came out in hardcover. As a recently-graduated-from-college single mom in 1991, I didn’t buy hardcover books. BUT, I joined the Book Of the Month Club. Some of you may have done that, too. I forgot to send back my postcard or something one month and, before I knew it, OutlanderΒ showed up in my mailbox.

outlander-original-cover-jacket-by-diana-gabaldonIt sat around for a few weeks…and then I got bored enough to pick it up. I kind of hated the cover, which featured an ormolu clock whose glass face is in the act of shattering. It made me roll my eyes. But once I cracked the cover and started the tale of Jamie Fraser and Claire Beauchamp, I was HOOKED. I read the novels assiduously until about the sixth one, which came out about the time my life got really complicated and I no longer had time to devote to Clan Fraser. I took a hiatus from time travel romance, but it wasn’t a conscious decision.

Last week, a good friend from church asked me if I had read the books. Duh! She then asked if I wanted to come to her series premiere party. Double duh! She had very expensive invitations made to her premiere party that look like wedding invitations. They are printed with the Fraser plaid on back. Swoon! So yes, August 9th is a highly anticipated date by many time travel romance fans!

dd_everything_200x316Then, another interesting thing happened. My friend Dee Davis, who is one of my Red Door Reads buddies, posted a link yesterday to a collection of six time travel romances for 99 cents! WHAT?!? Yes, I snapped it right up. You should, too! As I clicked the evil “Buy now with 1-Click” button, I reflected that all signs seem to be pointing me toward time travel romance once again. My deep, dark secret is, when I first started writing romance, my very first manuscript was a time travel romance. No one was writing those in 2001! I managed to final in Georgia Romance Writers’ prestigious Maggie contest with that one, but was bested by…Sandy Blair! How could I be upset at being bested by the novel that became her first published time travel romance? πŸ˜€

Have you had a love affair with time travel romance? If so, what books were your gateway drug? If not, what keeps you from indulging? And if you had the chance to travel back in time to be with the super-hot love of your life (Jamie Fraser), would you go? Why or why not? I can’t wait to hear everyone’s time travel experiences! πŸ˜€

Posted in , , , , , , , , , , , ,



  • Jane says:

    Hello Caren,
    I’m haven’t read many time travel romances and I haven’t read Outlander. My friend made me watch “Somewhere in Time” and it’s one of the few time travel movies I like. We even visited the Grand Hotel.

    • Jane, don’t you just love Somewhere in Time? Even the Rooster shed a few tears at that one. I’ve only got it on video and so haven’t seen it in years. Must dig it out again. Christopher Reeve was just wonderful as the hero!

      • Jane says:

        It is a great movie, Anna. It’s my friend’s favorite and I never heard of that movie until she made me watch it with her. It was also nice when we got to see the Grand Hotel in person. It’s so beautiful.

    • Caren Crane says:

      Jane, I was thinking about Somewhere In Time when I was writing this post! I saw it in the 80s when it was ALL OVER cable, all the time! I think that movie is the ONLY reason I gave Outlander a chance.

      I’m sad to say, when I read Outlander, it sort of dusted Somewhere In Time. *ducking* I love the movie, but that book was so much better! Just a very different story, I guess.

      I’m jealous you got to see The Grand Hotel! I would love to see it in person. What a treat! You’ll have to check out the Outlander series on Starz. I was worried about it, but apparently Diana Gabaldon love it, so I have high hopes!

      DO NOT let the GR see that movie again today. He’ll be worse than useless to you then!

  • Marcy Shuler says:

    Hi Caren. I read A Knight in Shining Armor by Jude Deveraux a long time ago and it’s still one of my favorite time travel romances!

    I’d love to visit Medieval Scotland. Castles, warrior men in kilts with that accent. *sigh* But I’d prefer it to be the romance novel version since I do like bathing. LOL

    • Caren Crane says:

      Marcy, I adored that book! Jude Devereaux wrote some of my favorite medievals and her time travel was so good! I totes agree with you about the plumbing. I really enjoy running water in all forms, but especially indoors! πŸ˜€

  • Helen says:

    Hi Caren

    I haven’t read many time travel stories I am sure I have read a few a long time ago and I haven’t read The Outlander series either and I haven’t watched movies about time travel either although I did very much enjoy Kate and Leopold very much maybe I should find some good ones to read πŸ™‚

    Have Fun

    • Caren Crane says:

      Helen, as much as you love historical romance, you have really missed a huge treat in the Outlander series. It’s mostly set in Scotland in the late 1700s. Men in kilts! Battles! True love in terrible circumstances!

      The books are wonderful, but the TV series sounds like it’s going to be good, too. Check some out!

  • Caren, what a fun post – and you reminded me that I used to read a lot of time travel romances too. Love them – love fish out of water romances anyway and someone from another era is REALLY out of water.

    I’m ducking but I’ve never read Outlander. In fact, preparatory to moving house at the end of the year, I’ve been packing up books for charity and I finally ended up putting Outlander in the out pile after having it for years, picking it up a million times and never cracking it open.

    Like Jane, I love Somewhere in Time. And really, Terminator is a time travel romance – and that’s one of my favorite films. I think the romance in that is so powerful and poignant.

    I loved A Knight in Shining Armour too. And I recently read a wonderful YA that finaled in the RITA (I didn’t read it for the RITA so I can say this openly) called Warped by Maurissa Guibord. The hero is trapped in a medieval tapestry. You’d just LOVE it!

    • Caren Crane says:

      Anna, you’ve done yourself a grave disservice by passing your copy along with the move. Once you’re settled and have a moment, just take the plunge and read it. You will never be sorry you did. I highly recommend just gobbling down the first three books. You will love Jamie as much as the rest of us do. *sigh*

      I had a passing thought when I was writing this post about Terminator and some other futuristic time travels. I love those, too! And I have Warped sitting on my bedside table. My youngest told me I needed to read it. πŸ˜€

      • Caren, you’re not alone in telling me that. I think one of a couple of problems I’ve got with it is that it’s set in the Jacobite rebellion and I really loathe books set in that period. I must say the cover of this one is pretty awful too – isn’t it funny how that can impact on our feelings about a book? And I’ve heard so much about it, I kinda feel like I’ve read it already!

        How wonderful that you’ve already got Warped. That was one of my best reads that particular year! Let me know what you think of it.

        • Caren Crane says:

          Fosey, what did the Jacobite rebellion do to you, sweetie? Too many horrid novels set then, or one especially egregious one? Surely it wasn’t worse than Meg Ryan’s hair in Kate and Leopold. Now THAT was a tragedy! *shudder*

  • Amy Herring says:

    I love the Richard Mattieson novel Bid Time Return on which the movie Somewhere in time is based as well as The Outlander. An early time travel novel. Mark Twain’s A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court, is one of my perennial favorites and also has a romantic element, albeit a.minor one. The same is true of another classic, The Time Machine by H. G. Wells. My preference is showing as I tend towards science fiction with regard to my time travel favorites.

    • Caren Crane says:

      Amy, I do love my science fiction time travels as well. I always think, though, that the stakes are far higher – either for staying or getting home – if there is a strong love story.

      My favorite thing about Outlander is that it used ancient Scottish mythology and legend for the time travel component. Many romances don’t bother to base the actual time travel on much (mine certainly didn’t!). πŸ˜€

      • Amy Herring says:

        Caren, I agree wholeheartedly on your assessment of Outlandef. Some SF novelidts, Connie Willis and Paul Levinson, for examples, ryckere on the time machine tradition to explain mechanically the concept of time travel. Fantasy, and presumably romance, is much less rigid in allowing a portal as the entry point, an injury in Twain. preparation and concentration in Matheson. .Gabaldon’s use of myth and sacred landscape is sheer brilliance. If anyone is interested, there is a listing of time travel novels, I think on Wikipedia. I found it when prepping as an emergency sub for a panel at DragonCon and will be referring to it again for a panel at Libertycon in late June. This discussion has been enlightening, looking at time travel through the relatively rosy shades of romance and pondering the implications for genre novels. Fascinating!

  • Alyn says:

    I read a few time travel books for kids back in the mid 90’s. I really liked them but there weren’t many so I kind of forgot all about time traveling books. One that I really liked thought was Jude Deveraux’s Knight in Shining Armor. I was so in love!!! Right now I wouldn’t travel back for any hot guy. I’m married and no matter how I look at it, I just can’t even imagine doing any time travel. If I was still single and had no kids, I would leap at the chance to time travel for love.

    • Caren Crane says:

      Oh, Alyn, I remember being young and feeling the same way. I would have pitched my life here for someone like Jamie Fraser, for sure. Even without indoor plumbing! πŸ˜€

      The late 90s were all very reality-based, for me, with three young kids, a husband and a full-time job. Now that they are all grown, I can think about time travel again. Not sure I would ever actually want such an adventure, but it’s a nice fantasy these days. No lawn to mow! No car to wash! LOL

  • Mozette says:

    There’s a great book I’ve read – and own a copy of – and I’m surprised nobody has mentioned it here. It’s ‘Time and Again’ by Jack Finney… it’s a fantastic time travel book,with romantic twist thrown in for good measure. However, there is a second book he wrote but it’s only available in audio book (and it’s really badly recorded) called ‘Time Over Time’ or something like that… and it’s the continued adventures of the main character from ‘Time and Again.’

    Then, there’s the time traveling movies… like ‘Kate and Leopold’… with Meg Ryan and Hugh ‘hottie’ Jackman… πŸ˜› I have the directors cut of this movie, and love watching it! πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€

    • Caren Crane says:

      Mozette, I had heard of Finney’s book a looong time ago, but never read it. I also saw they are trying (yet again) to turn it into a movie. Maybe with the brouhaha over Outlander on Starz, this may finally get greenlit! It’s a wonderful, twisty-sounding book. I am adding that one to the perennial TBR pile!

      I did enjoy Kate and Leopold, though I wanted to slap Kate for much of the movie. I adored Meg Ryan, but in that movie her hair looked dirty and awful the whole time. I have no idea WHY her hair set me off so badly, but it did. I still can barely watch it! Isn’t that the dumbest thing ever? Still, it’s a thing.

      Yes, I am sincerely crazy at times. πŸ˜€

      • Mozette says:

        Don’t worry, you’re not the only one who wanted to slap her silly about Leopold (I mean, what a wonderfully-spoken man to put up with her for so long!)… and her hair!!! OMG! Get the damn stuff out of her face! PIN it back! I can’t even stand my own hair mis-behaving like that. :/

  • Shannon says:

    I loved the Star Trek episode The City on the Edge of Forever. I was one of the few Star Trek episodes where Kirk was actually in love, not lust.

    Back to the Future was great fun.

    There was a TV series that I cannot remember the name where the hero each episode went back in time to fix whatever is wrong. The star was quite a hotty.

    And of course the Terminator comes from the future.

    I am among those who never read Outlander. I just couldn’t get beyond like page 20 for some reason. Probably because when it came out, I was in my have to read everything non-fiction for work. If I get the job I applied for, I will have to go into that mode. I interviewed on Thursday and haven’t heard yet.

    The first book I read after my must read phase was a time travel by Lynn Kurland about a skilled jeweler who went back in time and falls in love with the daughter of a powerful lord who won’t let her marry him because he doesn’t have land or money or sword skill to protect her.

    • Caren Crane says:

      Shannon, I loved that Star Trek episode, too! I also loved the STNG episode where Cpt Picard experienced the life of the man from the planet that had died. After that, he could still play the wind instrument the man had played. They referred back to it several times over the life of the series. I loved that!

      Yes, Back To the Future is STILL a great time to watch. I have the whole series, McFly! πŸ˜€

      I will say that if written today, no one would give Diana Gabaldon 35 pages to get Claire back to the future while she hunts for obscure plants and thinks about her falling-apart marriage to Frank. You didn’t even get to Scotland! Definitely worth slogging through the first chapter to get to the good stuff. Just remember, books didn’t start quickly in 1991! πŸ˜€

  • Laurie G says:

    Linda Lael Miller – HERE & THEN, THERE & NOW


    Janet Chapman has a whole HIGHLANDER series set in Maine

    Heather Graham -THE LAST CAVALIER

    Mark Twain- A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court

    • Caren Crane says:

      Laurie, what a great list! People looking to do some investgative reading into time travel could use it as a great jumping-off point. Except, I didn’t love Nora’s time travels. I’m not sure why, since I love her books and I love time travel, but hers didn’t really do it for me.

      If you never read Outlander, it really is masterful (though very realistic about violence and death). Best hero ever, though!

  • Becke says:

    Definitely, say yes to the genre. But as I read your post, I didn’t come up with many stories on my own. For me, Gabaldon’s series just took over for that genre.

    However, I have read and seen some of the movies/books other bloggers mentioned.

    Dean Koontz had an early book as a time travel. Not sure about the title (It was one of the single word titles) but the hero was from WW II and came to present to save the heroine.


    • Caren Crane says:

      Becke, isn’t it fascinating just how many time travel stories there are across genres when you start to really think about it? I recall Lightning as of one Koontz’s better books (back when I read him, it’s been a while).

      I didn’t see Looper with Bruce Willis but I intend to. The premise was fascinating to me! Another one I enjoyed recently was a small indie film starring Aubrey Plaza (adore her!) called Safety Not Guaranteed. The main male character is convinced he can travel back in time and convinces her to believe it, too. The end sort of leaves it to you to decide whether they did or not. It was brilliant and little seen!

  • Becke says:

    Okay, it was driving me crazy. The Koontz book on time travel was Lightning.

  • Hi Caren!

    I’m in the middle of writing a time-travel right now. It’s been kicking around in my head for some time and I figured it was time to let it out. We’ll have to see how it goes.

    Oh my YES! on Outlander. That’s the book that introduced me to romance. I have the book cover – the one with the shattering clock – framed in my office. I really loved that book. Oh- and I have it autographed by Diana Gabaldon herself. Definitely a fan.

    • Caren Crane says:

      Donna, I stood in a horrendously long line when the 4th book came out and got Diana to sign ALL of my books in the series – all hardcovers! I do cherish them, even though she has denied writing “romance” for many years now. I think she thought it was a dismissive label to be shelved as “historical romance” or “paranormal romance.” Pffft on that! πŸ˜€

  • Minna says:

    I love time travel romance! This reminds me I must check if there are any time travel books from my wish list available on BookMooch at the moment…

    One of my favorites is Time and Again by Nora Roberts. And then there’s Miranda’s Viking by Maggie Shayne. Though that one is more “Sleeping Handsome” than actual time travel romance.

    Looking at my book list on BookMooch, most recently I’ve read
    Allie Mackay: Highlander in Her Dreams
    Tall, Dark and Kilted
    Linda Lael Miller: Pirates
    Patricia Werner Ride The Thunder (Timeless Love) (Harlequin Intrigue, No 431)

    (If You wonder what BookMooch is, it’s a book swap webpage).

    • Caren Crane says:

      Good ones, Minna! I’m glad you love time travel, too. I really think it’s one of the most fun suspensions of disbelief ever. I’m always ready to go on that ride!

  • catslady says:

    My first time travel was by Lynn Kurland – A Garden in the Rain and I loved it. I started collecting the Outlander series when it came out in paperback. I wanted to wait until they all came out before starting to read and I had no idea there were going to be so many books – I think it’s at 6 now? But she is still writing them, right? So there they sit (sigh). And they are a bit daunting since they are such big books (I use to always buy the longest books but not so much any more lol). I can’t watch the movie if I don’t start reading!!!

    • Caren Crane says:

      Catslady, I love Lynn Kurland! I haven’t read one of her books in a long while now, but she was a favorite of mine back in the day. All my Outlander books are in hardcover. I can never wait for the paperback! And yes, the next book is due out this summer. You’ll have to read fasst! πŸ˜€

  • Fun post, Caren! I loved Outlander. I bought it in a bookstore in Scotland when I’d run out of books to read. So glad I did! (Yes, that was me, name-dropping my fave country. πŸ™‚ )

    But truly, my hands-down, all-time favorite time travel is Linda Howard’s SON OF THE MORNING. Do not miss this one! It’s a combination time-travel-thriller-sexy-romance and it’s fabulous!

    • Kate, how could I forget that fantastic book that out-Da Vincis the Da Vinci Code? Re-read it for a review for our friends at the Romance Dish last year and it’s still bloomin’ fantastic! Oh, and man, is it hot!

    • Caren Crane says:

      What the…? How did I miss that one?!? Must see if it’s available for Kindle now. I adore Linda Howard!!

      Also, UNFAIR name-dropping Scotland! I am officially sticking my tongue out at you now. My mother would be appalled. πŸ˜€

  • Debbie Oxier says:

    Read a time-travel recently by Emma Chase. It was great. If I could go back in time it would either be to the old west or the revolutionary war. Would like to find out what made our Founding Fathers tick or spend time in the company of a sexy rancher!

    • Caren Crane says:

      Debbie, isn’t it a fun fantasy to entertain? I think the Old West would be fun if you were in a fairly safe place with plenty of rain and drinking water. I would even get over the lack of indoor plumbing if we lived in the mountains and had a reliable well! πŸ˜€

  • Pissenlit says:

    Yay! Time travel AND romance! Two funs make an awesome! I really enjoyed Janet Chapman’s Pine Creek Highlander series(and the subsequent spinoff series) and Sandra Hill’s Viking II series(after the first three books, she also throws in some Navy SEALS) πŸ˜€ Oh, and I also enjoyed Audrey Niffenegger’s The Time Traveler’s Wife.

    • Caren Crane says:

      Pissenlit, it IS a marriage of two majorly awesome things, isn’t it? Love them both!! I confess I haven’t read Chapman’s or Hill’s time travels. But anyone who can somehow combine Vikings and Navy SEALs must be worth a read, huh? πŸ˜€

      And I LOVED “The Time Traveler’s Wife” even though it’s a bit tragic. Really, there was no way for it to end in a way that would satisfy ME. Kind of like “Gone Girl”!

      • Pissenlit says:

        I didn’t even know there were going to be Navy SEALs so that was a bonus πŸ˜€ I actually started with the third book because of the title, “The Very Virile Viking”, which totally made me crack up as did the synopsis. Hee hee hee!

        Yes! It was tragic. I’m a sucker for tragic even though I totally dislike not-happy things!

        • Caren Crane says:

          Ha! Yes, who could resist “The Very Virile Viking”? That’s my favorite romance title EVER! πŸ˜€

          I also am a sucker for a tragic ending. We must have been trained a bit too well by Shakespeare!