First person POV is a POV I love but I didn't set out to write first person. It was simply that the story could be told no other way. It was never even a question but over the past few years, when I've been confronted by readers who refuse to read Gabriel's Ghost because it's first person, I've given it some thought.
A few years ago that could have been me – the reader I mean – not the author (although I’d never write an author and tell her I wouldn’t read her books – I just wouldn’t read them and not tell her)
When I was younger I used to read a lot of first person books and they never bothered me. If I remember correctly most of Mary Stewarts books were written in the first person and I loved them. Jennie could confirm that but the poor dear has gone to Hawaii.
But that was before I really started reading romance books and since I've been pretty much strictly a romance reader for a while now, first person doesn't allow you to get into the hero's head. We only get one person’s POV. I would pick up a book in a bookstore and if it was written in the first person I would immediately put it back on the shelf. I even have a few books I purchased through a book club not realizing they were first person and when I discovered they were, I put them somewhere else and never even attempted them.
But with a well skilled writer, I've discovered you can get a good enough sense of the hero through the heroine's thoughts. I've read a number of really excellent first person romance books now and I no longer cringe when I realize that's how they are written. It's like a much bigger world has opened up again.
I think there is still a certain prejudice amongst many romance fans against first person books, and even I until very recently had a lingering trepidation myself, but I am discovering that I need to get over that.
I first started weakening when I began reading the Stephanie Plum books. Although not exactly romance books, there was enough romance in them to satisfy me. I love them. I adore them. And for the record – I’m a Joe girl – just wanted to get that out.
But even though I was weakening in my stance with first person books, I still wasn’t a happy camper when I heard that Linda Howard would be having a first person book coming out. Her books were definitely more romance focused. I presumed they wouldn’t be as good as her third person books because one of the things I like best about third person books is getting into the hero’s head during love scenes. When you think about it though, it really isn’t all that credible. Let’s face it – men and women view sex differently and being in the hero’s head in a love scene in a book is really still being in a women’s head as the vast majority of romance books are written by women.
Then, because it was Linda Howard and I just couldn’t pass it up, I read To Die For and even though we never got into Wyatt’s head, it didn’t seem to matter. I loved the book and I think it really worked told from Blair’s POV. I know many readers found her annoying, but I loved her. And I think a large part of that was because it was Blair head we were in.
Then after reading Games of Command last year, I simply had to read more Linnea Sinclair books and the next one on my list was Gabriel’s Ghost and I was pretty much sold after that. I loved it just as much as GOC. I remember reading a review on Jennie’s B(ook) Blog just before I posted my own thoughts. Jennie commented that she didn’t even really clue in that it was first person. I thought that this was very telling. A book can be read and enjoyed written in the first person without it even being an issue.
The next big leap was when Lisa Kleypas wrote her first book in the first person – Sugar Daddy. I confess that even though the wall I used to have was more along the lines of rubble, still, this was Lisa Kleypas. Then I got past my previous bias and thought if Linda Howard could write a first person book that I loved, then so could Lisa Kleypas. And so she did! When I picked up The Blue Eyed Devil, there was no hesitation at all. If two of my favourite authors could write in the first person and I could love the books, then I’m pretty sure even the remaining rubble is gone now. I eagerly picked up Blue Eyed Devil and read it - not a single moment of hesitation. And one of the books I'm really looking forward to is as I mentioned earlier, Shades of Dark which like Gabriel's Ghost is again done in the first person.
So how about anyone else? Do you have that preconceived notion that first books person books can’t be as enjoyable as third person? Have you put a book back on the shelf in the store when you discover it’s first person? And even more important *g* if you are one of those kinds of readers, have I a former first person chauvinist convinced you to give one of them a try?
Or are a reader who has no problems with first person romance books? Which ones are your favourites? Now that I'm cured, I'm open.
Next hurdle - first person, present tense. I hear that Grimspace by Ann Aguirre is the book for this one.