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11 Time Travel Books Guaranteed to Provide a Magical Escape

Woman's World books editor (and book lover!) shares 11 enchanting time travel books — enjoy them all!

Sometimes after a draining week or a low-key weekend with no plans, the idea of escaping to another time and place entirely sounds exciting. And there’s no easier, cozier way to escape than through the pages of a richly written time travel book. This fan-favorite genre — which is often a blend of science fiction, romance and fantasy — allows readers to explore vastly different possibilities for characters as they navigate choices amid the mind-bending magic of space and time. Whether they whisk you away to the Scottish Highlands in 1743 or Ireland in the 1900s, these novels promise an entertaining adventure filled with heartfelt nostalgia, illuminating choices and poignant reflections.

Here, we rounded up some of our favorite time travel books — both newer and older — that are sure to dazzle. Keep scrolling to discover 11 of the best time travel books, from romance to thriller, historical fiction and more. Happy time traveling!

The Two Lives of Lydia Bird by Josie Silver

The Two Lives of Lydia Bird by Josie Silver (time travel books)
Ballantine Books

Bursting with undeniable wit and charm, this heart-wrenching yet hope-filled tale follows Lydia Bird after she loses her fiancé, Freddie, in an accident. But when Lydia finds a way to be with Freddie through “lucid dreams,” her mom, sister and best friend, Jonah, begin to worry for her. As Jonah helps Lydia through her grief, she slowly starts to see that reality may hold all the love she needs. 

What readers are saying: “I loved the magical element that is the foundation of the story, but also how it impacted the main character and the way the story developed. The tale is told in first person, with Lydia as a narrator. I wished it was longer, so I could spend more time in this book world, with these wonderful characters.”

The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger

Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger (time travel books)

Spellbinding and deeply romantic, author Audrey Niffenegger captures readers’ hearts in this iconic time-travel novel that was made into both a major motion picture starring Rachel McAdams and an HBO TV series. The story follows dashing librarian Henry DeTamble who is an involuntary time traveler, but when he meets artist Clare Abshire, his life changes again. Soon, the two marry and embark on a passionate adventure across time, hoping that Henry’s condition won’t rip them apart. This novel is perfect for fans of science fiction, romance and magical realism!

What readers are saying: “From the moment I picked this book up I was spellbound. If this book is not on your ‘bucket list’ then you need to get it on there, because it will be the best 518 pages you will ever read.”

The Good Part by Sophie Cousens

The Good Part by Sophie Cousens (time travel books)
G.P. Putnam’s Sons

Memorable scenes, lovable characters and a bit of magic meld in this time-hopping saga. When Lucy Young stumbles upon a wishing machine after a terrible date, she puts in a coin, not knowing what might happen. But she makes a wish anyway: Please, let me skip to the good part of my life. When she wakes up the next morning, she has a husband, a great job and two perfect children. But she soon comes to realize trading her past for her future caused her to miss a huge chunk of her life. Now, she’ll have to decide if going back is worth leaving the good part behind.

What readers are saying: “This delightful blend of women’s fiction and fantasy, infused with enchanting romance vibes, may just be Sophie Cousens’ most hilarious, entertaining and heartwarming work yet. It will remind you of Sophie Kinsella’s Remember Me.”

This Time Tomorrow by Emma Straub

This Time Tomorrow by Emma Straub (time travel books)
Riverhead Books

This tender, thought-provoking story penned by bestselling author Emma Straub offers a clever new twist on traditional time travel tropes. When Alice wakes up on what is supposed to be her 40th birthday, she is back in 1996, reliving her 16th birthday in her 16-year-old body. When she sees her dad, he’s the lively 40-something from her childhood, not the ailing father she’s been caring for. With knowledge of the future, Alice now has to decide if there’s anything she could — or should — change about the past.

What readers are saying: “This was my first book from this author and I absolutely adored it. I am always a sucker for time travel and this one made me laugh, cry and everything in between. It may just be one of my favorite books of the year. Highly recommend!”

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
(time travel books)

An unforgettable romance and captivating characters abound in the first book of Diana Gabaldon’s acclaimed Outlander series, which was made into an immensely popular Starz TV show. In 1945 Scotland, former British combat nurse Claire Randall embarks on a second honeymoon with her husband. While there, she stumbles upon a standing stone in one of the ancient circles, and suddenly, she turns into a Sassenach — an “outlander” in the year 1743. Now, her only chance at survival is a handsome young Scots warrior named Jamie Fraser. What follows is a fiery battle of wills, time, hearts and, ultimately, love.

What readers are saying: “What a compelling and riveting book. I found Outlander a hard book to put down. Of course, I had to since it is 642 pages. Even though I read very fast, I obviously could not read this one in one setting. This is not the first time I have read this book, but I am certainly that glad I made the decision to read it a second time. Ms. Gabaldon’s writing is so fluid and smooth, and it brings the Highlands to life with her vivid description of the landscape. Talk about using all five senses in one’s writing — this author is a master at this.”

In Five Years by Rebecca Serle 

In Five Years by Rebecca Serle
Atria Books

Fans of Me Before You will adore this heartfelt exploration of friendship, loss and love. Dannie Cohan is a lawyer on track to achieve her five-year plan. Then one night, she falls asleep and wakes up in 2025 beside a man — who is not her current fiancé. After an hour, Dannie wakes back up in 2020 and forgets the dream. But four years later, Dannie sees the man from her vision. A dazzling tale about true love and destiny.

What readers are saying: “This book took me on an intriguing roller coaster. Once Dannie had that dream, I kept trying to guess what it meant. Was it a premonition? Was it time travel? Was it her insecurities from her current life manifested in a dream? It was a captivating way to start the book and Rebecca Serle made the pieces come together in a creative way.”

What the Wind Knows by Amy Harmon

What the Wind Knows by Amy Harmon (time travel books)
Lake Union Publishing

Romance and time travel blend in this entrancing novel. Reeling from the loss of her grandfather, Anne Gallagher travels to his ancestral home in Ireland to spread his ashes. She knew this was an enchanting place, but when she awakens to find herself back in 1921, she discovers its magic is real. On the cusp of a war, the Ireland she’s in is different from the one she left. Alone and injured, she’s treated by Dr. Thomas Smith — guardian of the boy who will one day become her grandfather. The spitting image of her missing great-grandmother, Anne takes on her identity, determined to learn how their fates are linked. But will these truths lead her back home or has her heart found a new one?

What readers are saying: “Another Amy Harmon book that I couldn’t put down. I wondered if the time travel aspect would be contrived, but it was so mysterious and magical. I also learned so much about Ireland in the early 1900s. Beautifully written as the story weaves in historical facts with a fictional love story.”

Related: Best ‘Armchair Travel’ Books: Escape to Paris, London, Italy & More Without Leaving Home!

The Dream Daughter by Diane Chamberlain 

The Dream Daughter by Diane Chamberlain (time travel books)
St. Martin’s Press

This rich and breathtakingly written novel begins when Carly Sears, a young woman widowed by the Vietnam war, finds out her unborn baby girl has a heart defect. Contrary to what she’s been told, her brother-in-law, a physicist with a mysterious past, tells her there may be a way to save her baby. Carly’s last hope of rescuing her little one pushes boundaries of faith and science and requires her belief in the unbelievable. 

What readers are saying: “I was blown away by this time travel novel! I have always turned and run from any book or movie about time travel, but Diane’s skill in transporting you forward and backward in time was an absolute work of art.”

Woke Up Like This by Amy Lea 

Woke Up Like This by Amy Lea (time travel books)
Mindy’s Book Studio

A fun and nostalgic story unfolds in Amy Lea’s first time travel novel — and it’s sure to charm the young at heart! All Charlotte Wu needs to do is plan the perfect prom and then she’ll be done with high school. But then, she falls off a ladder right in front of her archnemesis, J. T. Renner. Even worse? When Charlotte wakes up, she finds out that not only is she 30 years old, she’s also engaged to Renner. Now, the two must piece together what happened during the years they missed and try not to fall in love in the process. The book is perfect for fans of the time-travel rom-com Thirteen Going On Thirty!

What readers are saying: “I wasn’t sure about this book at first, but I kept reading and couldn’t put it down. I’d read till I couldn’t keep my eyes open any longer and then when I woke up early the next morning I reached for the book again. The book brought back so many high school memories but also touched on life as an adult. I definitely feel like at times years fly by. Great read and well written!”

The Seven Year Slip by Ashley Poston

The Seven Year Slip by Ashley Poston 
(time travel books)

When book publicist Clementine inherits her late aunt’s apartment, she gets much more than real estate — she inherits a magical place that slips through time, both seven years into the future and seven years into the past. So when she comes home to find a handsome stranger with a Southern accent standing in her kitchen, she realizes her new roommate is from seven years ago. Iwan is an aspiring chef who makes the best lemon pie ever. But time is tricky, and one day he vanishes. Will Clementine reconnect with present-day Iwan? And is the man of today the same one from the past? 

What time travelers are saying: “What a wonderful story this was! The author wove this tale from past to present with a touch of magic that you really feel like believing. The true magic is the magic of love and the meeting of two meant for each other. I really enjoyed this journey.”

Wrong Place Wrong Time by Gillian McAllister

Wrong Place Wrong Time by Gillian McAllister (time travel books)
William Morrow

Bestselling author Gillian McAllister returns with another clever and twisting read. After Jen witnesses her 18-year-old son, seemingly happy son Todd, stab a total stranger on Halloween night, she is distraught. When he’s brought into custody, she falls asleep in total despair. But when she wakes up…it is yesterday — and the murder hasn’t happened yet. Now, Jen must venture back in time to figure out what led Todd to commit such a heinous crime and stop it from happening again. An astonishing, heart-racing thriller!

What readers are saying: “For the first part of Wrong Place Wrong Time, I thought I was the wrong person for this story. Then I rolled with it and was very quickly engrossed in the story. I loved the premise, the storytelling and the plot. The characters were intriguing and the suspense was excellent but most of all, it was a mind game. A mystery thriller that played with your own natural thought process to piece together the plot while the twists kept coming.”

For more of our favorite books, click through the links below!

10 Completely Captivating Cozy Mystery Books to Snuggle Up With!

14 Unputdownable Thrillers Guaranteed to Keep You on The Edge of Your Seat!

11 Enchanting Books That Will Transport You to Ireland Without Ever Leaving Home

And for all of our book roundups, click here!

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