The idea is ageless and universal: What if it were possible to right past wrongs, get an early glimpse of the future, or perhaps even control your destiny? To travel back and forth in time and discover some answers to that eternal question: “What if…?” Ever since H.G. Wells penned his speculations, time travel stories have strayed well beyond the confines of the sci-fi/fantasy genre. The concept has provided a fertile backdrop for many imaginative thrillers, romances, mysteries, and even horror narratives.
For August, I am suggesting some recent books that imagine the possibilities (and consequences) of time travel. These are titles that are perhaps less well-known than the classic Time Machine version, but still preserve the same sense of adventure and possibility.
|The Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes
"Harper Curtis finds a key to a house that opens on to other times. But it comes at a cost. He has to kill the shining girls: bright young women, burning with potential."
|Here and Now and Then by Mike Chen
"Stranded for eighteen years since the 1990s, time-traveling agent Kin Stewart, suffering from memory loss, has started a new life, but when rescuers from the year 2142 finally arrive, he must choose between his current family and the one he left behind in the future."
|Faye Faraway by Helen Fisher
"This enchanting debut follows a woman who travels back in time to be reunited with the mother she lost when she was a child. Faye gets her heart's desire when she's whisked back into the past and is reunited not just with her mother but with her own younger self."
|How to Stop Time by Matt Haig
"Tom Hazard has a dangerous secret. He may look like an ordinary 41-year-old, but owing to a rare condition, he's been alive for centuries. Now, he just wants an ordinary life."
|Before the Coffee Gets Cold by Toshikazu Kawaguchi
"...this coffee shop offers its customers a unique experience: the chance to travel back in time. Toshikazu Kawaguchi’s beautiful, moving story explores the age-old question: what would you change if you could travel back in time? More importantly, who would you want to meet, maybe for one last time?"
|The Rose Garden by Susanna Kearsley
"When Eva finally accepts that she is able to slip between centuries and see and talk to the inhabitants from hundreds of years ago, she soon finds herself falling for Daniel Butler, a man who lived - and died - long before she herself was born."
|All Our Wrong Todays: A Novel by Elan Mastai
"Utterly blindsided by an accident of fate, Tom makes a rash decision that drastically changes not only his own life but the very fabric of the universe itself. In a time-travel mishap, Tom finds himself stranded in our 2016, what we think of as the real world."
|Wrong Place Wrong Time by Gillian McAllister
"Each morning, when Jen wakes, she is further back in the past, first weeks, then years, before the murder. And Jen realizes that somewhere in the past lies the trigger for Todd’s terrible crime…and it is her mission to find it, and prevent it from taking place."
|One Last Stop by Casey McQuiston
"Jane doesn’t just look like an old-school punk rocker. She’s literally displaced in time from the 1970s,...a magical, sexy, big-hearted romance where the impossible becomes possible as August does everything in her power to save a girl lost in time."
|The Future of Another Timeline by Annalee Newitz
"Determined to use time travel to create a safer future, Tess has dedicated her life to visiting key moments in history and fighting for change."
|The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August by Claire North
"Harry August is on his deathbed. Again. No matter what he does or the decisions he makes, when death comes, Harry always returns to where he began, a child with all the knowledge of a life he has already lived a dozen times before."
|In Five Years by Rebecca Serle
"Brimming with joy and heartbreak, In Five Years is an unforgettable love story that reminds us of the power of loyalty, friendship, and the unpredictable nature of destiny."
|Cassandra in Reverse by Holly Smale
"After an extraordinarily bad day during which Cassandra Dankworth's boyfriend breaks up with her and she is fired from her job, she wakes up the next day and has the chance to do it all again, differently."
|This Time Tomorrow by Emma Straub
"With her celebrated humor, insight, and heart, beloved New York Times bestseller Emma Straub offers her own twist on traditional time travel tropes, and a different kind of love story."
|I'll Stop the World by Lauren Thoman
"In a series of events that reverberate through multiple lifetimes, Justin and Rose have a week to get Justin unstuck in time and put each of them in control of their futures―by solving a murder that hasn’t even happened yet."
|Where Ivy Dares to Grow by Marielle Thompson
"Mexican Gothic meets Outlander in this spellbinding, atmospheric timeslip debut novel, as a woman struggling with her mental health spends the winter with her cruel in-laws in their eerie, haunting manor that sweeps her back through time and into the arms of her fiancé's mysterious, alluring 19th-century ancestor."
|The 71/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton
"Evelyn Hardcastle will die. Every day until Aiden Bishop can identify her killer and break the cycle. But every time the day begins again, Aiden wakes up in the body of a different guest. And some of his hosts are more helpful than others ."
|Summaries sourced from publishers' marketing materials|
August's Featured Reviews
Hop on the Holds List
1. The Last Devil to Die (Thursday Murder Club) – Richard Osman (September)
2. After That Night – Karin Slaughter (September)
3. The Exchange – John Grisham (October)
4. The Burnout – Sophie Kinsella (October)
5. NF- The Woman in Me – Britney Spears (October)
If you could travel through time, would you go to the past or future? What would you hope to learn? Tell me all about it! (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Until next time: Be safe, be well, and be well-read!
So, who am I, anyway? I am a resident of West Groton, with a husband, 3 children in college (and one at GDRHS) and a Samoyed that keeps my vacuum well-employed. I am currently working part time at the Groton Public Library and in a former life I was a Director or PR/Marketing at a high-tech consulting firm. My BA is in Psychology, but most of my time was spent in college earning a Concentration on the Novel. That is all to say that I make no claims at being an expert of any kind and my thoughts, opinions and mistakes are solely my own. I am just a person whose passion for books has continued to grow from the moment I was first able to grip and gnaw on them. I have been devouring them ever since.
- November 2023 — Foodie Fiction
- October 2023 — Seven Deadly Sins
- September 2023 — In the Mood
- August 2023 — Time Travel Tales
- July 2023 — By Land, Air and Sea
- June 2023 — Phenomenal Fathers
- May 2023 — Mysterious Massachusetts
- April 2023 — Bridging the Gap
- March 2023 — Spring for Short Stories
- February 2023 — Book Lovers