The Time Traveler’s Wife

A love story about married people is a rare one. Most romance novels end with a wedding, as if that wraps up every important thing that could possibly happen with this couple whose love the reader has just become invested in. But really, that’s ending a story right when you get to the good stuff. The Time Traveler’s Wife, by author Audrey Niffenegger, is one of my all-time favorite novels. It is one of those stories I return to again and again, one reason being that I love a love story that goes beyond the wedding. The Time Traveler’s Wife is an epic story about a couple’s love which has no end and, somehow, also has no beginning.


The Time Traveler’s Wife is the story of Henry and Clare, two lovers caught up in a passionate romance, the beginning of which is difficult to pinpoint. Henry is a time traveler, randomly shifting from one place in space and time to another, without any control. He goes backward in time, forward in time, and ends up in a surprise location each time. He has no power to stop it. This makes it difficult for Henry to build a meaningful life. He leaves behind everyone and everything when he time travels, including his clothing, which can leave him vulnerable in harsh conditions and strange places. Survival is all Henry knows.

The first time Henry meets Clare, he is twenty-eight years old. She is twenty. He’s never seen Clare before; she’s known him most of her life. To Henry, they’ve only just met. To Clare, they’ve always been together.

The first time Clare meets Henry, she is six years old. He is thirty-six. She’s never seen Henry before; he’s been married to her for years. To Clare, they’ve only just met. To Henry, they’ve always been together.

In a tumultuous life where Henry feels like little he does matters, in walks love, and suddenly everything matters. Clare brings a softness and a sense of safety to Henry’s life. The two make their way through years of joy, pain, loss, and discovery. This novel brings up a lot of interesting ideas you’ll enjoy musing over, such as free will, soul mates, and love’s transcendence of time and space.

Why I Love It

One description called this novel, “a most untraditional love story”. But I think it’s one of the truest depictions of love I’ve ever read, despite the science fiction element. The thing is, Henry and Clare can’t pinpoint the beginning of their relationship— it’s always been. And to try and find the beginning, the exact moment where the two decided to fall in love, is impossible.

I’d say that this is consistent with my, albeit limited, experience with love. It’s hard to tell where love begins. Haven’t we always been together, inextricably tied? This kind of love just is, as a constant, almost immovable, fixed reality. Like, there was no way it wasn’t going to happen. It feels as if you’ve known one another forever. There isn’t a beginning, there isn’t an ending. As endless as the circle of a gold wedding band.

Is This Novel For You?

There’s a reason why I return to this book over and over. It’s beautiful, introspective, and real. The setting draws me in like the fragrance of a stew simmering on the stove. It is familiar, cozy, and enticing. The characters are flawed, believable, yet still endearing. If you enjoy romances that dig deep, ask complex questions about passion and purpose, and paint soft and whimsical imagery, this book is for you. There is some strong language and sexual content in this novel— if that makes you uncomfortable, you may want to skip this one.

I read this novel as a part of my series on marriage. Look out for two new blog posts on the topic: one is a review of The 5 Books That Have Most Benefited My Marriage and the other is Project Marriage: My Experience Exploring Unconditional Love Using the Book, “The Love Dare”. To stay up to date on all of my reviews, join my email newsletter below.

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On Beauty and Motherhood

I put on makeup every day for 30 days. I didn’t wear makeup every day before I had my daughter, so I surely didn’t prioritize it after she was born. One day in January, I realized that I liked how I felt when I wore makeup, so I thought I would conduct a little experiment. I wanted to see how it would make me feel to wear it every day for 30 days. Depending on the results, I may consider making a concerted effort to wear it daily.

My Top 10 Reads from 2023

I read some pretty phenomenal books in 2023— some of which will go on my list of all-time favorites. My top ten is dominated by nonfiction, yet funnily enough, novels hold the top two spots on my list. Five of the ten are memoirs, revealing a particular preference I have for that genre right now. In general, my reading ratios are 1 novel: 1 memoir: 1 additional nonfiction. I want to read more fiction this year.

Project Emily Advent: Day 25

My maternal grandfather, Papa, was a great and wild soul. He was particularly close with my sister, Bailey. He loved all of his grandchildren, and made a particular effort to show up in each of our lives. But Bailey was Papa's best girl. He was totally smitten with her. He was a friendly and warm person, but he could be bristly at times, and Bailey seemed to be the only person undeterred by his bad moods. She was every bit his equal in fortitude and stature of personhood.

Disclosure (Let’s be honest)
This website contains posts with affiliate links, meaning that I receive a small commission if you purchase a book I’ve linked— at no extra cost to you. I’ll always be upfront with you when a post is sponsored or a book is gifted. All books I recommend are books I actually read and enjoyed.
No joke.