6 Time travel books for the imaginative reader

6 Time travel books for the imaginative reader

I love time travel books! Do you believe time travel could actually take place? My husband avers that it’s not possible, or else we’d be seeing people from the future right now. 

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It’s a fun topic to think about, and the creative world has certainly explored the theme in movies, television, and books. The movie Back to the Future is one of my favorites. Then of course, there’s Somewhere in Time (which I’ve only seen once, because I don’t like sad endings), and the charming and cheesy Kate & Leopold.

Somewhere in Time is based on a novel by Richard Matheson which I read on vacation a few years ago. I found that, while the book was well-thought out and had a good story, it left me feeling a little disturbed after I read it. Let’s just say the movie made an improvement on the ending. I’ll include it in the list, but it’s technically not a favorite of mine.

Time travel books:

The Root Cellar by Janet Lunn

I discovered this book when I was around the age of 10. The young heroine is orphaned and goes to live with relatives that she doesn’t know very well. One day she hides in the root cellar, and as she leaves it she finds that she is in 1865 as the Civil War is coming to an end. 

Enchantment by Orson Scott Card

A distinctly Russian-inspired take on the old tale of Sleeping Beauty. A young man finds a woman asleep in the woods and is whisked to a Russia of centuries earlier when he awakens her. Since he is a student of early Russian language, he is amazed to find that he can understand what they are saying and it piques his scholarly interest.  Baba Yaga, Russian gods, and and magic from an unexpected quarter make for a clever take on the fairy tale. I’ve read this one three times.

Intertwine by Nichole Van (the first in a series)

Nichole’s House of Oak series is an unabashedly fun, romantic romp through the 2010s and 1810s. A portal, destiny, Jane Austen’s English countryside, and our modern world wind through the books with several imaginative threads. And how genius to have her modern heroine have a solar-powered phone charger when she’s stranded in 1818, right? (This one is very inexpensive on Kindle and is included FREE with a Kindle Unlimited subscription!)

A Murder in Time by Julie McElwain

The lovely cover and suggestive title caught my eye when it was featured on the home page of Overdrive. This is the first novel in the Kendra Donovan series, in which a highly-trained CIA operative finds herself unexpectedly in Regency England and works through the societal prejudices of the day to help solve a murder. *Please note that the opening scene could possibly be upsetting to someone who has experienced sexual abuse. You can skip it and still follow the story just fine.

A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court 

This hilarious and (somewhat bitterly) satirical novel by Mark Twain features a practical, late nineteenth century, American man transported into Arthurian England after a blow to the head. With classic Yankee ingenuity, he manages to convince the court that he’s a magician and begins building a community on the sly that has such modern marvels as telephones, electricity, and even trains. Interestingly, this was published six years before H.G. Wells’ time travel novel The Time Machine.

Bid Time Return by Richard Matheson (published under the title Somewhere in Time after the movie)

While the film starring Jane Seymour and Christopher Reeve was filmed at the fabulous Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island, the book is set at the historic Coronado Hotel at the seaside in California.

The book features a screenwriter with an inoperable brain tumor who sees a photograph at the hotel of an actress who had performed there nearly one hundred years before. He becomes obsessed with finding out about her and finally devises a way to travel back in time, where he does actually encounter her.

Bonus book!

Since writing this the first time (it vanished without me having a complete backup), I’ve read another time travel book that I thought I’d include. It’s middle grade fiction, and I can’t believe I didn’t discover it as a child. 

Time at the Top by Edward Ormondroyd

A girl goes missing in an apartment building leaving her widowed father, neighbors, and the police frantically looking for her. Turns out that after meeting a mysterious woman, the elevator in her building has become a time portal for her, leaving her in the exact place her 1960s apartment building was built but in 1881 when a farmhouse occupied the spot. She meets the daughter of the house and they set up a scheme  wherein they attempt to foil a person trying to take advantage of the family that lives there.

Have you read any of these? I would love to hear any time travel favorites of your own!


  1. Oh my goodness! The Root Cellar was one of my favorite books as a child. I don’t think I’d ever met anyone else who’d read it before. I loved it so much!

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