I think I have a problem with time travel romances. I love time-slip novels – like Lauren Willig’s Pink Carnation series – which have two parallel narratives set in different times. I love straight historicals. But I can’t think of a time travel romance – or even time travelling novel that I loved – unless you’re including Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (a couple of hours on the Time turner doesn’t count in my book) or the Thursday Next Series (which is more dimension jumping than time travel). And after reading a time-traveller the other week, I started to wonder why.
Fundamentally, I think that I find it very hard to believe there’ll be a happy outcome – and that’s what you want in romances – because one is either going to have to go back to their own time and be miserable, or one is going to have to stay where they are, and I never believe that that will continue to be happy past the last page. After all, one member of the duo is living out of their time – either with a massive amount of knowledge about the future and the advances there are or with a massive gap in their knowledge of the modern world – and on top of that, everyone they ever knew/loved is either dead or not yet born and thus they’ll never see them again. I text my sister daily, and speak to my mum at least twice a week – and can’t imagine voluntarily chosing to put myself out of contact with them permenantly – and leave them wondering what has happened to me.
And that’s before you get to the fact that I’ve watched a lot of Scifi and fantasy TV over the years – from Star Trek to Crime Traveller and most of the variants in between – and have had it drilled into me that when you’re messing around in the past it’s very easy to change the timeline of the future and destroy the world. And most books just ignore The Implications and don’t mention it or skim over it somehow.
Am I over thinking this? Probably. But that’s the kind of person I am. I once spent 20 minutes crying on my Grandma’s lap because I’d just realised that Kaiser Wilhelm was Queen Victoria’s grandson – and wouldn’t she have been so upset if she’d realised he’d started a war against his grandma’s country. Yes. I was a strange 8 year old. But that gives you a clue as to how my mind works.
So in the spirit of the New Year, does anyone have any really good time travel recommendations for me? Books that I won’t buy and then ignore in favour of everything else ever because I’m convinced I’m going to hate them? Because I got a copy of the first Outlander 18 months ago because everyone else was raving about it – and I still haven’t read it. I took it on holiday with us back in 2014 as one of my paperbacks – and The Boy started reading it instead of me (he never takes enough books with him, but that’s another story) and he didn’t finish it either. It sat under our coffee table for another year after that.
Go on. Change my life. I dare you.