The Mammoth Book of Time Travel Romance

Around Valentine’s Day this year, I was at a bookstore and got sucked in by their display of romance novels. I impulsively bought The Mammoth Book of Time Travel Romance, an anthology of 20 short stories about, you guessed it, romance and time travel. I loved The Time Traveler’s Wife and I was hoping that some of the stories might have a similar vibe. Unfortunately, I had mixed feelings about the book so let me break it down into the good and the bad:

What I liked – There’s a lot of variety among the twenty different stories as they are set in different time periods ranging from past, present, and future. The mechanism of time travel is different in each story too—sometimes it’s explained by future technology and sometimes it’s merely attributed to magic. The stories were much too short to spend much time on the nuts and bolts of time travel, but the ones that at least tried were my favorites. And with so many stories and so much variety, it was really easy to just skim over any story that I didn’t like and move on to the next.

Although I was disappointed in many of the stories, a few stood out. I loved The Key to Happiness by Gywn Cready, which takes place at wedding reception where bridesmaid Kate meets a strange older man who warns her that she is about to make a decision she will later regret. Also good was Last Thorsday Night by Holly Lisle, which begins with a stranger attending a writers’ group meeting with the intent of meeting one writer in particular.

What I didn’t like – In many of the stories the time travel aspect was just used as a device to get two characters from different centuries together, and I was disappointed that so much of the emphasis was on the romance rather than the sci-fi. My main complaint about short stories in general is that there just isn’t time for the reader to become invested in the story or the characters, and this was particularly true here. In these stories, one of the love interests inevitably has to give up their own time period if they want to be together, but it’s hard to believe that anyone would agree to do this after only knowing the other person for a few days. I kept thinking, wait, this woman is going to give up hot showers, technology, and modern medicine to live in 11th century Scotland with some Highlander she just met? Yeah, right.

The Mammoth Book of Time Travel Romance wasn’t for me, but it might be worth checking out from your local library if you like romance with protagonists from two different time periods. If you are mostly looking for science fiction time travel stories, you’ll probably want to skip this one.

Rating: 2 out of 5 Stars | Publisher: Running Press | Pages: 512 | Source: Purchased | Buy on Amazon

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