The best time slip novels that transport you into mystery, adventure, and romance

Who am I?

I’ve always had a fascination with the past and how it interacts with the present. I grew up playing in the house and grounds of a spooky old house that was a convalescent home for World War One soldiers and had stood there for centuries before that. At university my essays always strayed into the supernatural. I studied time slips and gothic fiction in English Literature and my history dissertation was about people who believed their children were fairy changelings. When I’m not combining my passion for historical mysteries and ghostly goings on in my writing, I collect old postcards and explore crumbling cemeteries for inspiration.

I wrote...

Dandelion Time: A Romance Through Time

By Nel Ashley,

Book cover of Dandelion Time: A Romance Through Time

What is my book about?

When Maddie inherits a beautiful house and a large sum of money from an unknown benefactor, it’s her chance to escape from an abusive relationship, but means moving miles away from everything and everyone she knows. Convinced the house is haunted, Maddie finds herself slipping back through time to meet Alex, a handsome First World War fighter pilot with his own fabulous story.

To stay with Alex, Maddie must say goodbye to the present, but her ex isn’t prepared to give her up so easily. In the aftermath of his jealous rage, Maddie and Alex’s chance at happiness is shattered. Now Alex is gone. Can Maddie find a way to be reunited with the man she loves, or will they be separated by time forever?

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The books I picked & why

Midnight is a Lonely Place

By Barbara Erskine,

Book cover of Midnight is a Lonely Place

Why did I love this book?

Barbara Erskine is the queen of time slip romance novels. Almost all the books she writes feature this literary device, and cover periods of history from ancient Egypt to World War 1. Midnight is a Lonely Place was the first of her novels that I read, many years ago, and was hooked on this genre from then on. I had never come across this type of story before, blending history with the present and giving it a supernatural twist, not just ghosts haunting the protagonists, but the two interacting and incorporating romance too. This book takes us back to Roman Essex and a love triangle between Marcus Severus Secundus, his wife, Claudia, and Nion, a Druid prince. When a Roman grave is disturbed, Kate, a modern-day writer, is pulled into the cycle of jealousy and vengeance they have played out over two thousand years. 

All of Erskine’s books are well researched and are full of atmosphere, suspense, and supernatural spookiness.

By Barbara Erskine,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Midnight is a Lonely Place as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Don't miss this stunning novel from the Sunday Times bestselling author of Lady of Hay - a gripping tale of secrets, betrayal and revenge...

After a broken love affair, biographer Kate Kennedy retires to a remote cottage on the wild Essex coast to work on her new book, until her landlord's daughter uncovers a Roman site nearby and long-buried passions are unleashed...

In her lonely cottage, Kate is terrorized by mysterious forces. What do these ghosts want? Should the truth about the violent events of long ago be exposed or remain concealed? Kate must struggle for her life against earthbound…

Book cover of The Sins of the Fathers

Why did I love this book?

This is a brilliantly written fast-paced time travel adventure, mystery, and romance, all rolled into one. Conway’s descriptive writing style brings the characters and settings of 1912 and present-day vividly to life. The history field trip scene reminded me so much of my own university field trip to a local cemetery that I wondered if we’d been on the same course. However, this story is set in Birmingham rather than Liverpool, but the similarities were uncanny.

The author has really done his research too, but where a less skilled author might inform the reader through info-dumping, Conway conveys the sights, sounds, and historical details of Edwardian Moseley through action and dialogue. You feel as though you have travelled back in time with Rachel and Danny and are experiencing the story with them. There are so many twists and turns and unexpected reveals that you can’t help but keep reading. But don’t expect everything to be tied up neatly by the end of the first book. Several things are left unexplained, not least, the mystery of how some of the characters in 1912 already know Danny Pearce from years before.

The original and intriguing premise had me hooked from the beginning and I am glad that I have the other five books in this series so I can continue reading immediately. As a self-confessed taphophile, I think I might just have to go looking for my own touchstone too.

By Andy Conway,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Sins of the Fathers as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

One touch... and you're who knows when? A brilliant paranormal mystery that launches this bestselling saga with an Edwardian thriller that blends science fiction with historical adventure.

In a small corner of Birmingham, England, a pair of mismatched History students from opposite sides of the tracks find their lives thrown together when an old gravestone catapults them back into their neighbourhood’s dark Edwardian past, where they have just three days to prevent the murder of a teenage girl.

In 1912, they find that every action has an unforeseen consequence that can ripple through generations... and…

Beyond The Moon

By Catherine Taylor,

Book cover of Beyond The Moon

Why did I love this book?

This is Taylor’s debut novel and like my book, the time slip element takes us back to World War 1 in 1916. Louisa is admitted to Coldbrook Hall Psychiatric hospital after an accident in which she is believed to have tried to commit suicide. Whilst there she slips back to her days at a hospital treating wounded soldiers and falls in love with Robert Lovett. Not only must she find a way to remain with him, but she must find him when he is taken prisoner on the Western Front. The detailed descriptions of life in the trenches really brought the horrors of WW1 to life. Taylor has researched this area thoroughly and her vivid writing style allows the reader to experience the cold, muddy, and rat-infested conditions for themselves. 

The author’s observations on everyday life during the war add interest and are sometimes surprising, for instance, the fact that West End shows were still running, the attitudes towards women undertaking war work, and the consequences of shell shock for those returning to normal life. I also liked that Louisa finds an ally who believes her story and helps her rather than dismissing her as delusional. 

This book contrasts with many time slips in that Louisa is mistaken for a woman from the past and takes on her identity, living her life when it is tragically cut short. 

My only reservation with this story is the portrayal of Coldbrook Hall in the present. Louisa is admitted against her will and whilst we know this is entirely possible, I found it unlikely she would be considered suicidal it would be clear to anyone involved that the landslide was a natural occurrence and not a suicide attempt. That aside, the love story element and the historical detail will keep readers turning the pages and if you sign up for the author’s newsletter you get bonus content too.

By Catherine Taylor,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Beyond The Moon as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

*Shortlisted for the Eharmony/Orion Love Story Prize

*Longlisted for the Exeter Novel Prize

A strange twist of fate connects a British soldier fighting in the First World War in 1916 and a young woman living in modern-day England a century later, in this haunting, literary time travel novel.

Two people, two battles: one against the invading Germans on the battlefields of 1916 France, the other against a substandard, uncaring mental health facility in modern-day England. Part war story, part timeslip, part love story – and at the same time a meditation on the themes of war, mental illness, identity and…

The Sleeping Angel

By Margarita Morris,

Book cover of The Sleeping Angel

Why did I love this book?

Highgate Cemetery is a place I have always wanted to visit, and through this book you get to see it in its newly built Victorian splendour, and its wild and overgrown beauty of today, making this a must-read novel for me.

This standalone novel combines a Victorian mystery with a modern-day murder mystery and a real-life incident that occurred at Highgate in 1970 which was reported in both newspapers and on television at the time – The Highgate Vampire. All of the reports the author uses in the book can be found in contemporary newspapers of the time. There are even Facebook groups devoted to discussing the event. Having read about The Highgate Vampire from the reports of those involved I was intrigued to see how Morris would incorporate this event into her time slip.

 It is very unusual for an author to use an event that occurred within living memory in a time slip and Morris has cleverly connected this to the events of a hundred years before whilst making it relevant to the present. It also adds a supernatural element that creates a spooky atmosphere, but leaves some unanswered questions. We are never quite certain whether a vampire lurks in Highgate, or if it is Isabelle’s spirit that protects the area around the grave where the sleeping angel lies, or if the angel herself is responsible for some of the strange things that occur there.

Whatever the cause, we are given a satisfying story with characters you become invested in and a thoroughly despicable villain.

By Margarita Morris,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Sleeping Angel as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Something is astir in Highgate Cemetery. The dead want justice and so do the living.

January 1870: Isabelle Hart has a secret. It lies buried in Highgate Cemetery, beside the statue of the sleeping angel. The enigmatic medium, Madeleine Fox, seems to offer Isabelle hope, but is it all a terrible lie?

March 1970: Strange happenings of a sinister nature are reported at Highgate Cemetery. Who or what is lurking amongst the gravestones? A teenager discovers an obsession that will consume him for the rest of his life.

July, present day: Lauren reluctantly participates in a séance only to discover…

Time Out of Time

By Alex Marchant,

Book cover of Time Out of Time

Why did I love this book?

Although this is a story aimed at younger readers, Allie, the main character is about to turn twelve years old, but don't let that stop you from reading it if you're an adult. The author tells her story skillfully and anyone old enough to remember the heatwave of 1976 will find themselves transported back to that year whilst reading this book. It's also nice to be reminded of a time before everyone had smartphones, computers, and access to the internet, where finding out how to do things and researching the history of your house wasn't just a few clicks away.

Dialogue is expertly handled with true-to-life characterisation and there are beautiful, evocative, almost poetic descriptions. The author has a knack for choosing words that convey exactly the image and feeling she wants the reader to experience. All of the senses are used to brilliant effect and plunge the reader into the story alongside Allie, the protagonist.

As a former archaeology student I thought it was especially nice to see the author encouraging younger readers to explore this as a hobby and potential career.

Alex Marchant is a master storyteller and I will be on the lookout for more work by her.

By Alex Marchant,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Time Out of Time as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Welcome to the golden summer of 1976. Year of the Heatwave, year of the Drought.

Normally sun-starved and grey, England is plagued by endless blue skies – no rain for months, the country scorched and parched, standpipes in the street.

But 12-year-old Allie has other worries. When her family moves to ancient, ramshackle Priory Farm – far away from her friends and everything she has ever known…

Then she discovers a doorway into history – and her adventures begin. What secrets will Priory Farm reveal?

An exciting timeslip adventure by the author of 'The Order of the White Boar' sequence,…

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