Books that jump between different timelines have a unique quality because the random happenings of the present and the past combine to make a captivating story that spans generations. Make sure to check out these incredible books if you like books that tell the story of a number of historical events over the period of the book. They’ll have your brain working overtime to find out how all the components are connected together. So, here are 10 best Multi-Timeline Novels You Won’t Want to Put Down.

The Map Of Salt And Stars – Zeyn Joukhadar

Multi-Timeline Novels You Won't Want to Put Down - The Map Of Salt And Stars – Zeyn Joukhadar
Multi-Timeline Novels You Won’t Want to Put Down – The Map Of Salt And Stars – Zeyn Joukhadar

This is a beautifully written and emotionally impactful novel by Zeyn Joukhadar. “The Map Of Salt And Stars” follows the story of two young girls, Nour and Rawiya, who are separated by centuries but connected through their shared journey across the Middle East. Nour is a Syrian refugee in the present day, fleeing from the violence and turmoil of her homeland, while Rawiya is a young apprentice to a mapmaker in the 12th century, embarking on a dangerous journey to chart the uncharted lands of the East.

Throughout the novel, Joukhadar masterfully weaves together the stories of Nour and Rawiya, exploring themes of identity, loss, and the human capacity for resilience and hope. The Map of Salt and Stars is a beautiful and thought-provoking read that will stay with you long after you finish the last page.

All My Rage – Sabaa Tahir

All My Rage – Sabaa Tahir
All My Rage – Sabaa Tahir

This finalist for the National Book Award alternates between “then” Lahore and “today” California. Additionally, the viewpoints of Noor, Misbah, and Misbah’s son Sal are alternated. This book presents a unique viewpoint on immigration, family, trauma, friendship, and how life alters people by switching between the present and the past. The book begins with a list of explicit material warnings. The famous Ember in the Ashes Quartet by Tahir also deftly switches between several characters’ points of view.

Transcendent Kingdom – Yaa Gyasi

Multi-Timeline Novels You Won't Want to Put Down - Transcendent Kingdom – Yaa Gyasi
Multi-Timeline Novels You Won’t Want to Put Down – Transcendent Kingdom – Yaa Gyasi

The main character, Gifty, is a neuroscience Ph.D. student. Her topic is particularly personal because of her family’s history of mental illness. After suffering a sports injury, her brother acquired a substance use issue, and their mother suffered from prolonged clinical depression. The book considers whether religion and science are as irreconcilable as some people believe.

Gifty is constantly debating her beliefs and the rationale behind them. It makes natural that the story switches back and forth between Ghana and the United States, from Gifty’s childhood diaries to the graduate experiments, given its themes of faith, racism, and immigration.

The Invisible Life of Addie Larue – V.E. Schwab

The Invisible Life of Addie Larue – V.E. Schwab
The Invisible Life of Addie Larue – V.E. Schwab

On the eve of her wedding, Addie strikes a pact with a demon to leave the monotonous existence she’s led in her 18th-century French town. Because of her curse of immortality, everyone will forget her. The book includes 2 timelines: one set in the 18th century and another set in the 21st century since Addie was already 300 years old and doesn’t get older.

This fantasy book’s unique structure piqued my interest, keeping me curious to learn how much Addie had changed over the course of 300 years and whether or not her curse was going to be lifted. Reading a book with multiple timelines set in the same protagonist’s improbably lengthy life was fascinating.

The Marriage Portrait – Maggie O’Farrell

Multi-Timeline Novels You Won't Want to Put Down - The Marriage Portrait – Maggie O’Farrell
Multi-Timeline Novels You Won’t Want to Put Down – The Marriage Portrait – Maggie O’Farrell

The brief life of Lucrezia de’ Medici, Duchess of Ferrara, who’d been married at the age of 13 and passed away at the age of 16, is fictionalized in this historical book. Soon after she passed away, rumors that her spouse had given the go-ahead for her murder spread. Since most readers already know this, it barely counts as a spoiler. The terrifying portrayal of Lucrezia’s suspicion that her husband wants to kill her is the start of the book.

The focus then shifts to her early years. As the book goes on, the chapters are chronologically closer together. As a result, there is tension in the story as the timelines for Lucrezia’s wedding and passing coincide. The novel’s events seem destined to happen. Robert Browning’s renowned poem “My Last Duchess” was likewise influenced by a painting of Lucrezia.

The Thirteenth Tale – Diane Setterfield

The Thirteenth Tale – Diane Setterfield
The Thirteenth Tale – Diane Setterfield

The narrative in this Gothic thriller switches back and forth between Margaret Lea, an amateur biographer, and her subject, reclusive, enigmatic author Vida Winter. Numerous Gothic clichés, including eerie, dilapidated estates and family secrets, are present in this book. The differences and omissions in Vida’s earlier explanations of her life are highlighted by the two timelines. The novel’s unusual format highlights the fact that it is also a book on the remembering and imaginative processes involved in writing.

The Bluest Eye – Toni Morrison

Multi-Timeline Novels You Won't Want to Put Down - The Bluest Eye – Toni Morrison
Multi-Timeline Novels You Won’t Want to Put Down – The Bluest Eye – Toni Morrison

Pecola Breedlove, a little Black girl living in 1940s Ohio, along with her foster sister Claudia serve as the protagonists in Morrison’s debut book. The narrative’s disjointed structure is appropriate for the topic of sexual and physical assault as well as external and internalized racist aggression. As Pecola’s desire for blue eyes demonstrates, these traumas can have both conscious and unconscious effects on a person’s sense of self. The effects of prejudice on Pecola’s parents are revealed through flashbacks.

Then She Was Gone – Lisa Jewell

Then She Was Gone – Lisa Jewell
Then She Was Gone – Lisa Jewell

Ellie Mack, the ideal daughter, vanishes without a trace at the age of 15. Laurel, her mother, tries to rebuild her life for ten years but never really gets over the loss of her daughter. One day Laurel finds a charming man and starts dating him, only to learn that his daughter has an uncanny likeness to Ellie. The tiny girl’s growing resemblance to Laurel’s own kid makes her even more curious about Ellie’s fate. She began to wonder who this man was and why his daughter resembled Ellie so much.

The Empress of Salt and Fortune – Nghi Vo

Multi-Timeline Novels You Won't Want to Put Down - The Empress of Salt and Fortune – Nghi Vo
Multi-Timeline Novels You Won’t Want to Put Down – The Empress of Salt and Fortune – Nghi Vo

The Empress’s character and life story are revealed through the interweaving of many narrative threads in this fantasy novel, which was honored with a 2021 Hugo Award. After the Empress passes away, a cleric runs into her former servant and companion, who shares tales about the Empress with them. Readers are encouraged to make their own assumptions regarding what has been excluded while the reality is left uncertain, according to reviews of the book’s narrative structure.

The Time Traveler’s Wife – Audrey Niffenegger

The Time Traveler’s Wife – Audrey Niffenegger
The Time Traveler’s Wife – Audrey Niffenegger

The unconventional love tale that transforms one couple’s life is found in Audrey Niffenegger’s book. A gorgeous librarian, Henry DeTamble, a person who unintentionally travels across time. Henry can’t seem to stay in one place for very long, but he manages to meet and be in love with Clare Abshire, an artist whose life follows the usual route. Will they remain in love even after being apart for a while, or are the emotions that bind them together insufficiently strong?

Also Read: The History of the Novel: From Its Origins to the Present

87 Views