Why did I pick 1st person POV for this post? Because I honestly believe that, if done well, it can turn any book into a constant reread and slump buster. I also believe every person will connect to a book in a completely individual way if it is written in that format.
First person POV is a risky style for any book because, whatever the story, it is being told completely from one persons perspective. The characters and the plot will all be clouded by the personality of the lead character and that means that that personality needs to be one that a reader can connect with. First POV is amazing; you could tell one story from each characters POV and have completely different books.
My first romance that I read in this style? Twilight. Say what you will about this book, it was my gateway to romance book and I truly think that the fact that it is written from Bella’s perspective is the reason I connected with it so well. Now, in all honesty, I did not like Bella. She was whiny, she was crippled with self-doubt and she idolised Edward in a way that absolved him from all his creepy arse behaviour. I didn’t like her, but I understood her. I could connect with her thought processes, I could fall in love with Edward with her (or Jacob – I’m not starting this again!) and I could see how exciting this whole new world was. I’ve read it a million times. I pre-ordered each book before it came out. I will probably read Midnight Sun when it comes out to read their love from his perspective … let’s see how he explains watching her sleep!
As my romance journey continued, first person POV done well became harder and harder to find. I did the usual journey through PNR romance but it was all written in third person, love narrated from a distance. I missed the intimate connection of being in a character’s head and so I started looking around at other genres until I found one saturated with strong, kick-ass heroines written that way – Urban Fantasy.
I adore Urban Fantasy and there are so many heroines telling their tale (side-note: the majority of my audio-books are UF written from first POV). Each heroine has a unique perspective of their world and I always find myself completely drawn in and hooked. In Darynda Jones, Charlie Davidson series (cover pictured below) we are in the head of a woman with a wicked (yet rather bizarre) sense of humour who has always had to hide the fact that she can see the dead because the one’s she loves have either chastised her for it or used it to their own advantage. This series shows her find out about her heritage, fall in love and have her life turned upside down – I adore it. She has such a strange perspective on the world but maybe I would if a ghost lived in the corner of my sitting room.
The Ilona Andrews Kate Daniels series is my all time favourite. Set in a world where Magic has turned the world upside down, Kate Daniels is a mercenary for hire who deliberately isolates herself from people until she starts to get drawn into the Pack by the enigmatic Curran. Throughout this 10 book series, we see the world from her point of view and watch her perspective shift as she starts to let herself find friends, family and love (she struggles with all three BTW .. the feels!). I adore it. I adore Kate. I adored watching her grow and see her realise that she is more than a tool. I have also read the novella’s from Curran’s perspective – it shows how a story from someone else’s perspective can be so different.
In Faith Hunter’s Soulwood series, the entire series is written from the perspective of Nell. It took me a couple of chapters to get in to the way Nell spoke and thought. After escaping the abusive, polygamist cult she grew up in, she has a very fixed view of the world and over the course of the books we watch as she unlearns all the views that kept her tied to the cult. She grows so much over the course of the book that, when she starts to find love, I actually swooned.
Changing up from UF, I have found that straight contemporary in first POV is not for me. Gritty, angsty romance where the character has a unique perspective, that may not work with third, is totally for me.
Glitterland by Alexis Hall is probably one of the most unique books I have ever read. Ash lives with his mental health issues and being in his head is not an easy experience but I adored it (side note – I loved Ash’s POV but jaysus did I struggle with the way Darian’s accent was written). In his head, we can see how his thoughts impact his actions and his behaviours, how the romance impacted him … I devoured it and it would not have worked in third. I needed to see the tale from Ash’s POV exclusively because it was mainly his mental health that dictated how their romance ran.
I adored On Dublin Street with all its angsty goodness. Joss is a woman who, consumed by grief and hurt, keeps everyone at arm’s length. She does not make it easy for anyone in this book and, without being inside her head, she would be pretty unlikable. Being in her head though, you see the influences of her past. You see how much she hurts herself with her actions. Basically, you fall slightly in love with her story and you want her to get past her shit and let people love her.
Small Change by Roan Parrish is another re-read for me. I love Ginger. I loved looking at the world from her eyes. She is feisty, anxious, kick-ass woman in a mans world who falls in love (very reluctantly) with Christopher, a massive cinnamon roll hero. I loved their romance from her eyes, loved watching him chip away at her armour. Seriously, this a book I recommend all the time – you should read it.
First person POV does not always have to be singular. I’ve just started to get into dual POV with the help of Mia Sosa’s The Worst Best Man (he isn’t the worst Best Man … the husband to be in the worst) which I absolutely worshipped and gets well deserved praise. It isn’t easy to write from dual POV within the same book, but I loved hearing both of their thoughts on the same scene, seeing how each of them have completely misunderstood each other in the course for true love. It’s a new perspective for me (used to be I struggled with head hopping) but I’m on the look out for more.
So, what are your recs? Which first POV romance books do you adore?
I’ve enjoyed the books you mentioned by Darynda Jones, Ilona Andrews and Faith Hunter.