One of the most well-known time-travel books of all time is A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L’Engle. This beloved story about Meg Murry, her precocious younger brother Charles Wallace, and the forces of good and evil that impact their family is already a classic, and it’s about to become even more famous due to the new movie starring Oprah Winfrey, Chris Pine, Mindy Kaling, and Reese Witherspoon that is due to be released in March 2018.
In honor of Madeline L’Engle, who was one of the first women to win the Life Achievement Award from the World Fantasy Awards, here are five other fantastic books by women with thrilling time-travel plots.
The Time Traveler’s Wife
The Time Traveler’s Wife is a complex story that examines the marriage of Henry and Clare, who face challenges both common and uncommon in their relationship. Henry is an involuntary time-traveler; he cannot control his time leaps and often faces physical danger because of when and where he appears. Despite their passionate love for one another, this unpredictability tests their relationship and examines the way forces that we sometimes cannot predict or control can threaten the things we love most.
Outlander is the first in a series of popular time-travel novels featuring Claire Randall, who is a former WWII nurse in 1945 recently reunited with her beloved husband on a second honeymoon in Scotland. Unexpectedly she is transported back to the Scotland of 1743 with no way to know if she will ever be able to return to her own time again. Claire is quickly caught up in the intrigue of a war-torn Scotland – and the attentions of a Scottish warrior, Jamie Fraser. There are nine books with one more planned by author Diana Gabaldon. Plus, the Outlander novels are the basis for the hit Starz television show that premiered in 2014.
When You Reach Me
This YA novel frequently references its spiritual predecessor, A Wrinkle in Time, as its protagonist Miranda reads through the book for the first time. However, the storyline stays firmly put in the real world, following an ordinary sixth-grade girl who is trying to navigate the sometime stormy waters of adolescence. Unexpectedly, Miranda begins receiving mysterious messages from somebody who knows all about her and tells her about things that have not happened yet. As Miranda comes to believe the messages are true, she realizes that she is reliving them in order to prevent a tragic death. As the mystery unfolds, Miranda also learns valuable lessons about friendship, responsibility, and even thorny issues such as sacrifice, class, and race. Winner of the Newbery Medal in 2010, this book would be an excellent choice for parents and kids to read together in order to discuss some of the more mature ideas together.
Kindred has become a celebrated cornerstone of black American literature as one of the first science-fiction works by a black female author. This novel, which focuses on Dana, an African-American woman living in California in 1976, challenges the reader to confront their beliefs that society has evolved when it comes to issues of race, class, slavery, and exploitation. After Dana celebrates her 26th birthday, her life is turned upside down when she is transported back to antebellum Maryland without warning or explanation, where she saves the life of a young white man, Rufus. Throughout the novel, Dana flashes in and out of time, frequently putting her life at risk as she discovers her connection to Rufus and what it means for her and her family.
The House on the Strand
Chances are that if you’ve read a Daphne du Maurier novel before it was the chilling Rebecca, a gothic mystery with a tremendous love story at its heart. Another great though lesser-known novel by du Maurier is The House on the Strand. Protagonist Dick Young goes to stay at a house in Cornwall that is owned by his friend Professor Magnus Lane. Dick, who seems to be experiencing something of a mid-life crisis, agrees to be a test subject for a new drug that Magnus has discovered in his scientific research. As a consequence of taking the drug, Dick finds himself thrown back into Medieval Cornwall. Though the effects wear off, Dick finds himself intrigued by the vibrancy of the life he experiences in the past and becomes addicted to traveling back again and again. The novel provides a powerful commentary on addiction and on how our lack of contentment with our own lives can cause us to make extreme choices.
What time-travel books do you enjoy? Let us know in the comments!