My first exposure to the possibility of time travel came through the movie, The Time Machine (1960), about a 19th-century traveler transporting himself via his innovative machine to 800,000 years in the future. The story was written by H.G. Wells in 1895.
Since that time, readers and moviegoers have been traveling through time on the ruby shoes of other storytellers. For historical romance readers, we now have the chance to travel back in time to find romance and love between the pages. How we get there can be as interesting as the stories themselves — time machines, portals, fast cars, telephone booths, jumping off a bridge, rowboats, or touching monolith-looking stones in Scotland. Whatever the transport medium, we experience a rush, finding ourselves in another world that leaves behind our cell phones, computers, modern-day problems, but perhaps we still hold onto our Kindles as we dream about being there.
One of my favorite recent time-traveling movies is Midnight in Paris. Not exactly a historical romance, it does have a lot of interesting scenes where the male hero finds himself traveling back in time as he walks the city at night. In that movie, a very profound statement is made by one of the characters.
“Nostalgia is denial – denial of the painful present… the name for this denial is golden age thinking – the erroneous notion that a different time period is better than the one one’s living in – it’s a flaw in the romantic imagination of those people who find it difficult to cope with the present.”
This nostalgia is no doubt what drives the female reader to historical romance books. Hey, let’s face it, we all need escapism because the world in 2020 did have difficulty coping with the present. I’d rather think of being a duchess in love with a duke, regardless of the sometimes harsh realities of the time period.
The sub-genre of historical romance via time travel has in the past few years found a huge resurgence due to Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander Series, even though it was published quite a few years ago. Starz having put together the series with dreamy Sam Heughan has brought to life those mysterious stones and the possibility of traveling back in time. Like other hot genre trends, there appears to be a proliferation of time-travel historical romances to choose from on Amazon these days. What the Wind Knows by Amy Harmon is a time-travel trope that has been on the bestseller list since its release in March of 2019.
If you had the chance, what era would you like to visit? Medieval? Georgian? Regency? Victorian? Edwardian? No doubt, you’ll pass on the cave-man days.
Happy traveling through the stones of time!