Last week I wrote about timing and the concept of being in the right place at the right time. This week I’m taking the concept of time and going into a completely different direction – time travel.
Time travel isn’t strictly the domain of science fiction. While not a huge section of the romance market, time travel has definitely made its mark in the romance world. These novels tend to have several things in common. Most of these novels are written by caucasian women; have a connection with the United Kingdom; and, the heroines tend to have a scientific background. They all go back in time instead of to the future. And almost all of them have heroes who are romantic alpha males.
Perhaps the most well know series is Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander. Recently adapted into a TV series, the “Outlander” series has over 10 novels including one spin-off and is over 20 years old. The first novel
was published in 1991. While the most recent novel was published in 2014. Three more are planned to publish in the next 10 years.
The year is 1945. Claire Randall, a former combat nurse, is just back from the war and
reunited with her husband on a second honeymoon when she walks through a standing stone in one of the ancient circles that dot the British Isles. Suddenly she is a Sassenach—an “outlander”—in a Scotland torn by war and raiding border clans in the year of Our Lord…1743.
Hurled back in time by forces she cannot understand, Claire is catapulted into the intrigues of lairds and spies that may threaten her life, and shatter her heart. For here James Fraser, a gallant young Scots warrior, shows her a love so absolute that Claire becomes a woman torn between fidelity and desire—and between two vastly different men in two irreconcilable lives.
Outlander is the story of time traveling nurse, Claire Beauchamp. She finds herself mysteriously sent back in time from 1940’s Scotland to 18th century Scotland. The stories chronicle Claire’s life and loves as she struggles to get back to her own time and husband while falling in love with another man in the past. Wildly popular, Claire and Jamie’s relationship is romantic, difficult and obviously complicated. When Claire isn’t overwhelmed by her romantic issues she struggles to integrate her knowledge of modern medicine and history into a world still on the cusp of the Age of Enlightenment.
Bottom Line: Claire might as well be Wonder Woman because there is nothing this woman can’t do. Jamie is emotional, gallant and quick to act. If you enjoy historical romance and a love that must endure through all manner of challenges this novel is for you.
A more recent series that incorporates a paranormal bent to time travel is Delilah Dawson’s Blud Series. Wicked As They Come (Book 1) introduces us to the alternate dystopian universe of Sang. A steampunk parallel universe the Sang world is populated with vampires, shifters, clairvoyants and multiple supernatural creatures. Traditional supes are given a steampunk twist in this violent landscape. Tish Everett, another nurse, finds herself transported across time to a Victorian inspired alter world where she meets the incredibly romantic, enigmatic and eternally patient Criminy Stain.
When nurse Tish Everett forced open the pesky but lovely locket she found at an estate sale, she had no idea she was answering the call of Criminy Stain, from the far off land of Sang. He’d cast a spell for her, but when she’s transported right to him, she’s not so sure she’s ready to be under the spell of another man. (It didn’t go so well last time with controlling, abusive, domineering Jeff.) If only Criminy wasn’t so deliciously rakish….
Half the inhabitants of Sang are Pinkies—human—and the other half are Bludmen, who in Tish’s world would be called vampires. But they don’t mess with any of the bat/coffin/no sunlight nonsense. They’re rather like you and me, just more fabulous, long living, and mostly indestructible. (They’re also very good kissers.) But when the evil Mayor of Manchester (formerly Bludchester) redoubles his efforts to rid Sang of the Bludmen once and for all, stealing Tish’s locket in hopes of traveling back to her world himself for reinforcements, Criminy and Tish must battle ghosts, sea monsters, wayward submarines, a secret cabal, and thundering Bludmares to get the locket back and allow Tish to return home…but has she found love with Criminy? Could she stay in Sang forever?
The first novel is filled with world building. Tish struggles to get back to her own time while pushing away a love sick Criminy. Together they discover that an enchanted locket may hold the key to Tish’s time travel and Criminy’s attraction. Fast paced and innovative, The Blud Series is a quick read. (As an aside, I had a hard time not thinking Jiminy Cricket every time I read Criminy’s name.)
Bottom Line: Tish is guarded and emotionally overwhelmed through most of the book. Criminy has the patience of Job and is scarily stalker like. Tish’s internal monologue is quite extensive. If you enjoy steampunk worlds, heroines coming into their own strength and heroes who would do anything for the women they love then this is the series for you.
Karen Marie Moning revels in throwing modern day lonely intellectual women into the arms of alpha highland men. Her Highlander Series (8 Books) follows a new pair of lovers in each book but all are interconnected and ultimately lay the ground work for her immensely popular Fever Series. Moning’s
heroines are all brave, opinionated and sexual novices. Her heroes are all dark, wealthy, mysterious and emotionally distant. These stories deliver fiery emotional exchanges and happily ever afters all wrapped up in a Scottish brogue.
An alluring laird…
He was known throughout the kingdom as Hawk, legendary predator of the battlefield and the boudoir. No woman could refuse his touch, but no woman ever stirred his heart—until a vengeful fairy tumbled Adrienne de Simone out of modern-day Seattle and into medieval Scotland. Captive in a century not her own, entirely too bold, too outspoken, she was an irresistible challenge to the sixteenth-century rogue. Coerced into a marriage with Hawk, Adrienne vowed to keep him at arm’s length—but his sweet seduction played havoc with her resolve.
A prisoner in time…
She had a perfect “no” on her perfect lips for the notorious laird, but Hawk swore she would whisper his name with desire, begging for the passion he longed to ignite within her. Not even the barriers of time and space would keep him from winning her love. Despite her uncertainty about following the promptings of her own passionate heart, Adrienne’s reservations were no match for Hawk’s determination to keep her by his side. . . .
Bottom Line: Younger book worm women and their dominant wealthy heroes find true love in spite of the odds. While Gabaldon’s Outlander gives you a cougar heroine, Moning delivers hope that wall flowers can inspire eternal devotion from even the most brutish of warriors.
Time traveling definitely has an appeal.