5 of the Best Romantic Time Travel Novels

Shireen Hakim

Staff Writer

Shireen Hakim is the author of the award-winning refugee story "Rabbi the Rabbit" in the anthology OUT OF MANY, ONE: CELEBRATING DIVERSITY. She is a Contributing Writer for We Need Diverse Books. She has written for HelloGiggles and NaNoWriMo blog. Shireen has a writing certificate from Stanford University Online.

This list of time travel and romance books is sponsored by Flatiron Books, publisher of Oona Out of Order by Margarita Montimore.

Just because life may be out of order, doesn’t mean it’s broken. Oona Out of Order is a remarkably inventive novel that explores what it means to live a life fully in the moment, even if those moments are out of sequence.




We all think back to a potential meet-cute, and say to ourselves what if? But what if you are already in a relationship with the person and wonder if it went differently?

For instance, there are so many potential (romantic) story lines in the many multiverses Marvel superheroes travel to. I am familiar with them because I have read plenty of different versions of Gwen Stacy AKA Spider-Gwen’s love life because I read so many of her comics: she dates Harry Osborn AKA Green Goblin in one version, and slowly but surely falls for Miles Morales AKA Spider-Man in another. So that is how I relate to these time traveler romance novels, and maybe you will, too.

Here are five upcoming 2020 time travel and romance novels that explore the ways timing plays into romantic relationships, rather than just “fate.”

book coverMad, Bad & Dangerous to Know by Samira Ahmed

In Mad, Bad & Dangerous to Know, the reader time travels instead of the protagonist or their love interest. Who would have thought, especially back in the 19th century, that the art—and lives—of Western cultural icons could have been influenced by Africans and Arabs, and even Muslims?! Yet Samira Ahmed spins two mysterious and thrilling tales dating back from the 19th century all the way to present day 21st century, that include French, Arab, and American cultures. If you grew up in the West, you learned about European creative geniuses like Alexandre Dumas and Lord Byron. Mad, Bad & Dangerous to Know is an art history meets romance YA fiction novel. Once again, the New York Times bestselling author of Love, Hate and Other Filters shows the similarities and overlaps of cultures and religions that we would never think to link together. Mad, Bad & Dangerous to Know is available for pre-order.

book riotIn Five Years by Rebecca Serle

In this Freaky Friday meets Groundhog’s Day meets Beaches story, the dramatic plot twist makes this romance a page-turner, and almost a thriller! Heads up, this book is a tearjerker. I don’t usually read romance sagas, but I’m so glad I read this one. In Five Years is available for pre-order.

book coverAll About Us by Tom Ellen

The yearning of the main character Ben in All About Us tugged at my heartstrings. It’s rare that I come across a contemporary book about pining for a lover told from a man’s perspective, so this fiction romance caught my eye. Although it takes place around Christmastime, All About Us can be read by any adult at any time of the year.

book cover The Two Lives of Lydia Bird: A Novel by Josie Silver

#1 New York Times bestselling author Josie Silver writes about the guilt one feels after losing a loved one. It often causes them to think about that person constantly, even if they’ve found someone new. But what if that remorse is so strong it transports them to another reality with the one they lost?

book coverA Long Petal of the Sea by Isabel Allende

Legendary Chilean American New York Times bestselling author Isabel Allende takes us back in time to the 1930s Spanish Civil War. Although the events of the book are based on the past, they will seem startlingly current—refugees fleeing fascism rejected by the country they escape to, women protecting one another from sexual assault, and adjusting to immigrant life. A Long Petal of the Sea is an Amazon #1 New Release in Historical Romance, and the Goodreads reviews are as tantalizing as the book description.

After reading these books about time travel and romance, I realized we all get opportunities to time travel in our own lives. We come across people that are living a life we hope for, and through meeting them we catch a glimpse of what our lives will be.

Last week, I visited The Staples Center to pay my respects to Kobe Bryant and the city of Los Angeles, and I ran into a Muslim lady. What are the odds I would find her out of the hundreds of mourning fans, in a city of millions? She was a lone traveler, a frequent traveler, like me. She was married but her husband lived in a different city so they saw each other a couple times a month. That sounds ideal to me, since I’m an introvert and need my alone time to recharge. I felt like I was looking at my future self. She joined me and my good friend, who lives with her husband and a few cats in lieu of kids. That is definitely my ideal. So she is nearer future me.