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Is the Male Point of View Essential for You as a...

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Author Shannon Stacey and I were tweeting about a particular book that I liked and recommended: Fiona Harper’s Housekeeper’s Happy Ever After. It is a Harlequin Romance and those generally are light on the sensuality and heavy on the female point of view. It’s rare in either a Harlequin Romance or a Harlequin Presents to spend much time in the hero’s head. Shannon Stacey mentioned that she enjoys books with more scenes from the hero’s point of view.

The female point of view used to be the dominant form of narration in romance. Gothic romances in the 70s were told from the first person point of view of the heroine (how else to convince the reader that the male protagonist may actually be the villain and not the hero?).

I’m not certain when romances began to portray deep point of view from the male counterparts, but I would guess that it was sometime in the mid 90s. This is not to say that we weren’t treated to the occasional scene from the male point of view, but we wouldn’t get much internal monologue from the hero until the end of the book when the author would spend the last chapter with the hero confessing how he had always loved the heroine, had always been insanely jealous, and all the mean things he had ever done had been prompted from LOVE and love’s angry bother, JEALOUSY.

At some point, inclusion of the male point of view became de rigueur for romances, particularly the single title mass markets. In recent years, with the rise of the first person chick lit and then female urban fantasy, the requirement of readers for a male point of view has lessened, but not fully abated. Many popular series like Patricia Briggs’ Mercy Thompson books or even JD Robb’s Eve Dallas books, focus primarily on the female protagonist.

I tend to like the books with only the occasional male point of view but I know for some readers, a story without a male point of view is really lacking. Do you have a preference? Like both sides included? Prefer the dominant female voice? Don’t care? From an author’s point of view, is it harder to write from one point of view than two? Do you prefer to write stories with dueling points of view? What are the advantages or disadvantages?

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She self publishes NA and contemporaries (and publishes with Berkley and Montlake) and spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com


  1. Jayne
    Apr 27, 2010 @ 04:06:59

    I prefer seeing both PsOV though a skillful author can use 1st person and give me enough detail about how the hero is responding and reacting to what the heroine is doing that I’m okay without his thoughts.

  2. Mina Kelly
    Apr 27, 2010 @ 04:11:26

    I find I prefer narration to be firmly one way or the other. I’d rather have one PoV (either first or third) or two PoVs, but not one-and-a-bit. If there’s multiple PoV I want roughly similar screen time given to all participants. I get annoyed with books that are predominantly one PoV and only occasionally break into a second because it feels like we’re only being shown the second because the author couldn’t figure out another way to convey that information otherwise.

    I really couldn’t pick between one PoV or multiple as a whole. I suppose it depends very much on the novel. Gothics and suspense works nicely with one PoV, but something with a lot of subplots often needs several. The only time problem I have occasionally with single PoVs is when I don’t like the narrator (Laurell K Hamilton, I’m looking at you), but otherwise enjoy the plot. There comes a point when I have to make a tough decision, and with all the other books out there it doesn’t usually come down on the narrator’s side.

    I do occasionally miss the omniscient narrator, which I know is terribly unfashionable these days. I just love the snarkiness of some of HG Wells’ narration, where the narrator is often an unnamed friend or acquaintance of the characters. I suspect it’s a matter of skill, where what I would find jolting under other authors, such as describing characters’ thoughts but also being detached enough to discuss and judge them, doesn’t bother me from him and some other writers of the same period.

    Writing, I find it really depends on the characters. LooseId just picked up one of my novellas, which has only one PoV because the second character’s first language isn’t English (his first language is actually body language, which I think would have made the whole thing a little avant garde!). My current WiP has two PoVs which switch back and forth after almost every scene. Both characters have strong opinions and neither (at this point) really understands what the other is thinking. To have told it from one PoV would have missed out half the novel.

  3. Mary Anne Graham
    Apr 27, 2010 @ 04:46:47

    I adore the male POV! Many of the books I’ve written feature the man’s view.

    Well, okay, in my books it’s not actually the “man’s view” as any man would see things. What I adore writing is the POV I’d like to see from a man. It’s different than the actual male POV – my hubby says it’s way different.

    I like to be in the head of the hero who transforms emotionally – a male Cinderella of sorts.

  4. Sami
    Apr 27, 2010 @ 04:50:27

    I’m a dual POV lover all the way. I remember those old books that were all from the heroine’s POV and she spent 200 pages not understanding what was going on–as did the reader. No, not for me thanks. I want to know what’s going on in that man’s head, I want to read about how he’s being impacted by the heroine’s presence and actions. That’s the good stuff.

    As a writer I find it really fun to write from the male perspective. I have no idea if I get it right, but I have a ball imagining what they’re thinking :). Usually when I’m writing I find the male voice does become very dominant within the story and I often have to fight to make the female POV as strong as the male’s. I don’t know why that is. I often joke I may have been a man in a previous life.

  5. CEAD
    Apr 27, 2010 @ 05:17:18

    I prefer to have the male’s POV alongside the female’s, because one of the things that draws me to romance is character study (of the leads as individuals and as a couple), and you get a much richer and more detailed study of a character when you have narration from his POV. But I’ve certainly read and enjoyed books that were entirely or mostly from the heroine’s perspective (some of Joan Wolf’s first-person regencies, for instance), so some authors can sell me on it.

  6. Jessie
    Apr 27, 2010 @ 05:30:24

    I really enjoy having both points of view. That’s really the only reason why I don’t read more chick lit. I love to read about what the hero loves about the heroine, how he reacts to her, what he thinks about this reaction, why she’s different from all other women. I want to know from his perspective what makes her the perfect woman for him.

    Nora Roberts writes my favorite male characters. They all are smart, articulate people who notice things about the women they love–their hair, their perfume, their strength, their quirks. That’s one big thing that gets me emotionally connected to the book, feeling the hero’s appreciation of the heroine.

  7. Tee
    Apr 27, 2010 @ 05:57:20

    I’ll take a novel written from any direction. Whether I enjoy it or not is totally up to my reaction to the author’s style of writing. So, that’s the bottom line. If the author is doing a good job with a story, he/she can present it in any POV (or both) and I’ll read and like it. But if the author is not pulling it off, it really doesn’t matter which POV she’s stressing. It’ll probably end up a DNF.

  8. Meredith Duran
    Apr 27, 2010 @ 06:58:11

    I’m with CEAD; I like being let into the hero’s head and coming to understand his half of the puzzle that is the couple.

    That said, it occurs to me that while I want the hero’s POV and often miss it when it’s not included, I don’t feel the same way about a male POV in the love scenes. I like such scenes, but if they’re not there, I rarely notice their absence.

    Which gets me thinking. The love scene from the hero’s perspective is quite common nowadays. I wonder when it became so? Could it have been the forerunner for greater emphasis on the male POV throughout the book? Or did it, as a trend, appear after people had started writing more scenes from the hero’s perspective? I’d be curious to know…

  9. CourtneyLee
    Apr 27, 2010 @ 07:00:57

    In general, I want my romances to include equal time in each protag’s head. Romances are all about the couple for me, about two individuals meshing into one relationship. Relationships affect both parties and I don’t feel like the romance is fully explored until I see it from both angles.

    I have read romance-y books with first person POV that were phenomenal (Jacqueline Carey’s Kushiel books, for example) that made me feel that the other important characters in the story got a good showing and included cues as to their thought process. Those books are always a joy, if only to see how the author pulls it off.

  10. Jane Lovering
    Apr 27, 2010 @ 07:03:28

    I’m with Tee, in that I like all, and any, POVs, as long as it’s well done. There’s really nothing worse than a female author trying to write a male POV and coming across as either so-butch-it-hurts or so girlie that it’s laughable. That’s my problem with writing what I ‘think’ a man would be thinking – because I think like a woman and men think in non-sequiteurs. “Your heart is breaking because you love me so much? Jeez. I wonder what’s on TV..?”

  11. Natasha R
    Apr 27, 2010 @ 07:03:32

    I like books with both POVs. It’s nice to read what is going on in everyones mind. Rather than having to speculate :-)

  12. Lori
    Apr 27, 2010 @ 07:06:24

    My immediate thought was I never listen to men in real life, why would I in fiction? But then I thought about the book I just finished, Mr. Impossible by Loretta Chase, and the book would have been sorely lacking without Rupert's POV.

    As a lover of chick lit, women's lit, first person POV, I can live quite happily reading a woman's POV solely. However, there are many books tha would lose without the joy of the well developed hero so I have to say I like it all.

  13. Miranda Neville
    Apr 27, 2010 @ 07:06:50

    I like both POVs. I was so happy when I discovered male POV in romances – older ones so rarely had it. Lack of the male POV can force the heroine to be/appear stupid. We see the hero through her eyes and the writer wants to give the reader some idea of what’s going on with him. So WE can guess some of what he is thinking but the heroine, with the same information, is totally clueless and does dumb things (In the bad old days I did a lot of yelling at the page: “It’s so obvious he loves you, girl, and not the ex-girlfriend. Do not run off into the woods and get caught by the villain because your feelings are hurt.” With male POV it becomes quite likely that we know the truth and she doesn’t.)

  14. KeriM
    Apr 27, 2010 @ 07:09:13

    I can usually deal with whatever an author throws at me for a POV. The only book that I can remember being absolutely mad because I needed more of a male POV, was Kristan Higgins’s Catch of the Day. I was in love with Malone and needed to be in his head to find out more of why he was like he was. I mean we got glimpses, but I wanted more!! I have a love/hate relationship with that book.

  15. Kimber An
    Apr 27, 2010 @ 07:14:28

    Depends on the story. And, really, few female authors can write male POV believably. Sometimes, they write so well, in general, that I can suspend my disbelief. But, some stories call for it and some don’t. And I am okay with that.

  16. Jill
    Apr 27, 2010 @ 07:15:04

    What Tee said. I think it all depends on if the author can pull it off.
    I don’t miss the hero’s POV if the author can pull off showing me how he feels about the heroine. I think I’m unusual in that I’m really more interested in the heroine and her journey than the hero. I adore the old gothics and some other books with only or mostly heroine POV (love Harlequin Romance!).
    Now, I don’t mind having the hero’s POV, but it has to be done well. I have read plenty where the hero’s POV didn’t ring true to me. I understand there will be a little fantasy to the male POV, but there is a fine line between fulfilling the fantasy and having a man that sounds like a woman ;-)

  17. Ellen Fisher
    Apr 27, 2010 @ 07:18:19

    I’m with Mina; I can read either POV or both, but if there are both I want the author to spend roughly the same amount of time in each character’s head. I don’t like reading a book that’s mostly from the heroine’s POV with a bit of hero POV, or vice versa.

  18. Joy
    Apr 27, 2010 @ 07:27:36

    I prefer to read romances that spend about equal time in the hero’s and heroine’s heads. However, a good author can write a romance from either–in tight third or first person, or even in omniscient third. I imagine it would be really fun to write or read a romance from the first person POV of a close friend or servant of the hero or heroine.

    I’m not really fond of POV passages that shift from paragraph to paragraph or spending most of the time in one person’s head and going into another’s only a little (unless that person is a villain; I don’t like spending too much time in THEIR heads).

  19. Jane O
    Apr 27, 2010 @ 07:27:53

    I like single POV, dual POV, multiple POV, head-hopping, omniscient author, first person -‘ AS LONG AS IT IS WELL DONE.

    If it is well done, I don’t even notice it because I am caught up in the story. I am most apt to notice POV when it is badly done -‘ for example, when the hero’s POV turns up simply to provide a chapter of mental lusting to pad out the book.

  20. Jaci Burton
    Apr 27, 2010 @ 07:30:14

    I love the male POV and crave it in romance. There’s something about getting inside the hero’s head, to read his reactions and thoughts and emotions that I just love. Men do think differently than women. A good writer will be able to convey that. Some questions just need to be answered by the hero–what was he thinking? Why did he do that? What’s he going to do now? How’s he going to fix this? How does he really feel? I want him to answer those questions. I don’t want to be left wondering. Love getting in his head, both as a reader and as a writer.

    Though I do like reading some 1st person books where it’s just the female POV, providing the author gets it right. And when an author gets it right you don’t even know you are reading 1st person because you are getting the male reaction–you’re just getting it from the heroine’s perspective. Some authors are brilliant at it.

  21. Christine Rimmer
    Apr 27, 2010 @ 07:34:57

    I like both. I want to know what’s going on with him–and with her. But I’m fine if it’s only the guy or the girl, as long as I really buy I’m in his or her “head.” I guess I prefer if hers is the main POV and his is secondary. But it’s all about how the author does the job.

  22. Kay Sisk
    Apr 27, 2010 @ 07:43:00

    I like both POVs, to know what each of them is thinking and why they’re acting the way they are. When I write, I tend to add a third POV, a character who knows both of them and can help or hinder the relationship depending on what he wants. That said, love always wins.

  23. Moriah Jovan
    Apr 27, 2010 @ 07:45:04

    As a reader? Give it to me any way you want to, but do it well. I’ll take second person present without a whimper if you do it well.

    As a writer, well, it’s up to the story. In 1992/3 I wrote a book all in the heroine’s POV, which I only mention because I remember distinctly doing it as an exercise because everybody was writing the hero’s POV and I hadn’t seen a one-person POV romance in forever by that point. It was a good writing exercise and I learned a lot.

    In one book I have six main characters but five POVs. The MAIN character of the six never has a POV–and as far as I know, nobody’s noticed yet.

    One book is mostly first person from the heroine’s POV, but mixed with third person from the hero’s because their worldviews are so vastly different and I wanted the reader to have the immediacy of being with the heroine, but distanced from the hero.

    What I DON’T like is the villain’s POV.

    Whoever upthread talked about Catch of the Day and not getting enough Malone–ditto here.

  24. Kwana
    Apr 27, 2010 @ 08:08:09

    It all depends on the character for me. I prefer the female POV and like her story the most. If I get the male he has to be strong and very romantic. It also has to be done right. Please don’t put him in if it takes me out of heroine’s story flow.

  25. Elise Logan
    Apr 27, 2010 @ 08:16:40

    Hm. I tend to find I write, especially in shorter pieces, from the female POV.

    When reading, it depends on the story – do I need to know what’s going on in his head? Sometimes, yeah. Sometimes, not really. I think plot has a lot to do with it. I find I need/want the hero POV a lot more if there are plot things going on with him sep. from the heroine. Then I don’t need a tedious recap when he gets back together with the heroine. This is especially true if the plot is hero-centric – like around his job or family.

  26. Karenmc
    Apr 27, 2010 @ 08:32:04

    I appreciate both points of view. In a recent read the first three or four chapters were from only one POV, and when it switched in the next chapter I took a breath, thought, “Finally, some balance,” and settled in for a satisfying look at both characters.

  27. may
    Apr 27, 2010 @ 08:37:17

    I want a good book. I’ll take what the author gives me – I’ve seen examples of all forms of POV that work for me. Sometimes (Lord of Scoundrels comes to mind) I could not imagine the story working without the male POV. Other times I feel like the male perspective is given as more of an easy out for the author.
    I’m talking about books where his thoughts run towards “I love her. she’s the most magical of them all. I will make her mine.” and nothing else. That doesn’t add anything for me, and it can be annoying that the author is telling me what he feels instead of showing me through actions.

    Overall though – if it’s well done I am happy with or without his POV. I have favorites on both sides.

  28. dick
    Apr 27, 2010 @ 08:40:00

    A single point of view, especially in a romance, is only half the story, isn’t it, for after all, the whole point of a romance is the relationship. Some authors get the male’s pov right; some don’t.

    Men think in non-sequiturs? Boy, that’s really a pot and kettle thing, I think.

  29. Joan/SarahF
    Apr 27, 2010 @ 08:41:51

    I’m with Jaci. I crave the male POV. This is why I’ve switched over the m/m romance quite so strongly. I want to get inside his head, I want to know what he’s thinking and feeling. Crave it. First person female POV is almost always an automatic No for me. Can’t be bothered. In fact, I’d love a m/f romance written entirely from the man’s POV. I can deal with people like Laura Kinsale deliberately playing with when and why we get into the man’s head, like in Uncertain Magic and Shadowheart. But it’s one reason chick lit just did NOT work for me–not only did you not get into the man’s head, but the man wasn’t an important character at all. I need the hero. Not interested if he’s not the main focus of the book.

  30. Joy
    Apr 27, 2010 @ 08:44:32

    Another thought. I’m a woman. I don’t know what a man’s POV is really like when it comes to romance. While I assume, because I have been told by male people who ought to know, that men nearly always want sex with every female they find attractive and available (even if they might not do it for various reasons), I don’t like reading in detail about every erection sprung by the hero in the course of the story. Building sexual tension is fine but this is a case where reality could probably stand a bit more editing than I’ve encountered recently. I don’t mind my realism edited just a bit for the purposes of fiction (just like we don’t follow our characters into the bathroom unless it involves a major plot point…I’m thinking particularly of Quinn’s _To Catch an Heiress_ where the heroine hides out in the hero’s bathroom which was hilarious)

    /end babble

  31. Sue Moorcroft
    Apr 27, 2010 @ 08:55:16

    I’m really interested in this debate as my publisher, Choc Lit, (where heroes are as irresistible as chocolate) only publishes romantic fiction that includes both points of view. I love writing through the hero’s eyes, so it suits me well.

    I have a male writing friend who reads all I write and tells me when I don’t sound like a man – ‘What do you mean he lifted the hem? We don’t know what hems are! We just want to get the T-shirt OFF!’ It’s really helpful.

  32. Kalen Hughes
    Apr 27, 2010 @ 09:08:35

    As a reader and a writer I have a strong preference for including the male POV.

    For example, I've recently jumped on the Briggs bandwagon. I love her voice, and I love her world building. But, while I'm enjoying the books, the melodrama between Mercy and her two love options was beyond tedious by book three. I was starting to have fears that I might be entering into some LKH-level bullsh*t (thankfully not *phew*). If I'd at least had some idea what the guys were thinking, why they were putting up with it, maybe I wouldn't have been so exasperated.

  33. Julia Rachel Barrett
    Apr 27, 2010 @ 09:16:24

    I find that most of the time I prefer third person narrative – I like being in 1-2 or even more heads over the course of a story – if it’s done well. I love hearing the male POV! With first person, say a single female narrator, I find that not only must her inner dialogue be extremely descriptive, so that I get real sense of what’s inside the other characters too, I want the work written in a way that is not overly narcissistic. I love an insightful story. Or at least, I want the first person POV to grow and change over time.

    A recent example of extreme first person narcissism in my reading history is The Book of Dahlia. ME MY MINE – all the time. The story is told by a heroine who some readers find darkly funny. I simply find her irritating, unsympathetic, uninteresting and beyond redemption – in the sense that I could not have cared less about her. While I forced myself to read the entire book, I threatened the book with DNF every time I picked it up.

    Regardless, whether it’s first person on third person and we get the male POV, if it’s well-crafted and a compelling story with interesting characters, it works for me!

  34. evie byrne
    Apr 27, 2010 @ 09:18:45

    As a reader, I’m up for any form of POV as long as it’s well done.

    My favorite form may be dueling first person–which is spectacularly hard to pull off. It’s rarely seen in romance, either.

    When writing romance, I do like to show his and her povs so that I can exploit the differences between their reactions to each other, and to the situation at hand. It’s tons of fun to look at one situation through two lenses.

    But some stories just aren’t meant to be told from 2 povs–so I’ll go where the narrative takes me.

  35. Anne Douglas
    Apr 27, 2010 @ 09:34:42

    To answer the title: YES

  36. Joan/SarahF
    Apr 27, 2010 @ 09:53:26

    @Kalen Hughes: Yes! Thank you. This is why kick-ass heroine urban fantasy series do little for me too. I don’t CARE about the heroine. Want the HERO.

  37. becca
    Apr 27, 2010 @ 10:24:17

    I’ve been re-reading some of my old Nora Roberts books: the Born In trilogy and Northern Lights. Born In has a lot from the male PoV that I think adds much to the richness and … well, lushness… of the writing. And Northern Lights is told almost exclusively from the male PoV. I really like male PoV, because it adds so much to my understanding of the dynamics of the H/H.

    What I don’t like is first person PoV – I never can get past that “I”, because it isn’t me. And it seems flat. I really like the depth that having both male and female PoV characters gives to the story.

  38. Edie
    Apr 27, 2010 @ 10:25:41

    I love heroines and prefer most of the book in their POV.. BUT I am an untrusting soul and I need some male pov in there so I can get a feel for his character and feelings/motivations, so that the standard I heart you at the end from him is believable.

  39. Linda Banche
    Apr 27, 2010 @ 10:25:47

    I like about equal time in both male and female POV, with maybe a little more in the hero’s. I also would like to see more in other characters’ POV’s. Romances nowadays have very little of multiple POV’s. I think multiple POV’s give more texture to the story.

  40. Christina
    Apr 27, 2010 @ 10:32:24

    I’m with Choc Lit as well and agree with Sue – I love writing from the male POV and I was really pleased to find that was one of their requirements. I very rarely read books that are first person, heroine only. For me, having both hero and heroine’s POV makes a book more exciting and gives it depth.

  41. Sue Moorcroft
    Apr 27, 2010 @ 10:49:51

    If you write a strong hero, giving him a point of view allows the reader a chance to understand and sympathise with him. A strong hero in the wrong writer’s hands can come over as arrogant or inconsiderate. Readers tend to be more open to understanding characters who have a viewpoint.

  42. Kalen Hughes
    Apr 27, 2010 @ 10:57:50

    @evie byrne:

    My favorite form may be dueling first person-which is spectacularly hard to pull off. It's rarely seen in romance, either.

    Have you tried Janet Mullany? Her recent books (The Rules of Gentility, A Most Lamentable Comedy, and Improper Relations) are all written in dueling first, and they’re fabulous to boot!

  43. willaful
    Apr 27, 2010 @ 11:07:12

    I love the male POV, especially in sex scenes. The way Laura Kinsale writes them! When I write stories in my head, they’re almost always male POV. That said, a good writer can make it work for me without it, but like Mina, I really dislike just the tiny bit of male POV popping up here and there. Do or don’t do!

  44. Lori
    Apr 27, 2010 @ 11:15:40

    Yup, I definitely miss the hero’s POV when it isn’t there. I want to know what both people are thinking.

  45. Kate McMurray
    Apr 27, 2010 @ 11:22:05

    I’m with the doesn’t-matter-as-long-as-it’s-done-well crowd. I like 1st-person stories (when the voice is vivid) and I like stories with multiple POVs, and gender doesn’t matter that much to me. A good writer can give you only the heroine’s POV but still give you enough information to understand the hero and what must be going through his head.

    I’ve been in m/m LaLaLand for the last couple of weeks, but I think you can also expand this question to whether you need both POVs (both the hero and heroine, or both heroes, or both heroines). I just read, like, 3 books in a row that were either first person or third person close to one character, and that worked in most cases. As a writer, I find some stories just call for that-‘the story is about the romance, yes, but it’s more about one character’s journey. (And maybe 1st-person narratives are more common in m/m?) But I know some readers like both POVs, which I can understand.

  46. RebeccaJ
    Apr 27, 2010 @ 12:09:42

    I like hearing the guy’s thoughts as well because sometimes women tend to belabor the same points over and over, and that gets tedious, plus books in which the women are so far off the mark in their thinking annoy me.

  47. Ros
    Apr 27, 2010 @ 12:13:27

    @Mina Kelly: I am completely with you on the omniscient point of view. It really irritates me when I see authors being warned off it because so many of my most loved books are written from an omniscient point of view. I especially love unreliable narrators, too.

    For a romance, I don’t mind a single point of view (though it does mean that I need to like and enjoy spending time with that character, which was a big problem for me in Kristan Higgins’ Too Good To Be True recently). In general I prefer multiple points of view, I think. Maybe because I’m a lazy reader at the moment.

  48. Sunita
    Apr 27, 2010 @ 12:19:28

    Maybe not essential, but much preferred. I’ve been reading some early Balogh historicals in which genuine conflict separates the hero and heroine, and reading the hero’s POV makes the stories much richer. The books wouldn’t be the same without both sides. I have enjoyed authors who only offer the heroine’s POV, but I think they also employ omniscient, so you get a bigger picture.

  49. Michelle
    Apr 27, 2010 @ 12:55:00

    If the book includes a strong romance, I like to have both the male and female POV (or the POVs of whomever is involved in the romance.) That said, a great storyteller can sell me on anything if she totally sucks me in and keeps me wanting to turn the page.

  50. Janine
    Apr 27, 2010 @ 14:10:57

    @Kalen Hughes: In Briggs’ books about Anna and Charles, you get quite a bit of Charles’ POV — and what a wonderful, fascinating POV character he is. I think that is one of the reasons I prefer them over the Mercy books.

    @Joan/SarahF and everyone else who said they don’t read chick lit for this reason — but I can think of exceptions, chick lit books that include a male POV, like Alisa Kwitney’s The Dominant Blonde, On the Couch and Sex as a Second Language.

  51. Janine
    Apr 27, 2010 @ 14:22:58

    For me it very much depends on the genre and the needs of the book. In a romance, I almost always prefer to have both hero and heroine POVs! I very much want to know what the hero is thinking and experience how he is in thrall to his emotions for the heroine. For me that is one of the best experiences in the process of reading a romance, so if an author chooses to withhold that from me, I need for there to be strong reasons and compensation for it.

    I can think of exceptions that worked for me, such as Mary Balogh’s A Chance Encounter, which I recently reviewed. There is very little of the hero’s POV in that book but I think that’s because we aren’t meant to know with certainty which of two men is the hero. Had Balogh included the hero’s POV in that book, we would have been clued in too early. The book worked for me because the heroine was a wonderfully layered character and probably my favorite of all of Balogh’s heroines.

    Edith Layton took a different approach in The Duke’s Wager, another book with two potential heroes. She included both potential heroes’ POVs (filtered through omniscient POV). The hero was much more compelling in that book, and I liked that book even better, so clearly that type of scenario can be done in more than one way that can work for me.

    One thing I have to say is that if authors opt for only one POV, then that POV character, whether it’s the hero or the heroine, had better be fascinating. Because not only do I want the hero’s POV in a romance, one POV alone can get monotonous if that viewpoint character is less than stellar.

  52. Laura Florand
    Apr 27, 2010 @ 14:25:37

    I love the male POV but I can also think of great books that didn’t have it.

    Some writers who have done male POV that I have particularly liked are Jayne Ann Krentz, Laura Kinsale, and Loretta Chase. All very different styles, but very effective, for me.

  53. evie byrne
    Apr 27, 2010 @ 14:28:09

    @Kalen Hughes:

    Yes! Thank you, Kalen. Janet Mullany’s books are wonderful. Actually, her books are the only reason I didn’t say “You never see this in romance…” — because I can’t think of any others.

  54. Janine
    Apr 27, 2010 @ 16:23:07

    @evie byrne: I can think of a few other books with alternating first person POV. They are outside the genre, but still romantic books.

    Exit to Eden by Anne Rice
    The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
    On the Couch by Alisa Kwitney

  55. Kalen Hughes
    Apr 27, 2010 @ 16:31:40


    In Briggs' books about Anna and Charles, you get quite a bit of Charles' POV -‘ and what a wonderful, fascinating POV character he is. I think that is one of the reasons I prefer them over the Mercy books.

    Cool! I haven’t started in on those yet, but they’re in the TBR (along with everything else that I’ve bought during the past three months; must finish own book first *argh*).

    @evie byrne:

    Yeah, I don’t see it much either.

  56. Keishon
    Apr 27, 2010 @ 17:47:49

    Do you have a preference? Like both sides included? Prefer the dominant female voice? Don't care?

    Yes, I prefer the male POV. Overall, I prefer both pov unless the author is talented enough to write a first person narrative with a reliable narrator. No big secret for me, I read romances for the hero. A strong heroine is always a plus though.

  57. Evangeline
    Apr 27, 2010 @ 19:11:31

    I prefer the female POV. If done well, the male POV is icing on the cake, but I read primarily for the heroine’s story. For the most part, I like books narrated by female protagonists because I live and have lived in a male-dominated household, and it’s relaxing to get away from all that testosterone in a book.

  58. Ivy
    Apr 27, 2010 @ 19:18:14

    I like to get both sides but I can do a single POV. It really depends on the story which works best.

  59. library addict
    Apr 27, 2010 @ 22:42:14

    Romances are all about the couple for me, about two individuals meshing into one relationship. Relationships affect both parties and I don't feel like the romance is fully explored until I see it from both angles.

    What @CourtneyLee said.

    I have read and enjoyed books written in 1st person POV, and ones where the heroine is given more “page” time, but the ones I consider keepers are few and far between. It's pretty rare for me to pick up a first person POV book these days because I've read so many bad ones over the years.

    I much prefer books which include both the heroine and hero's POV. I don't read romance more for the heroes than the heroines or vice versa. I read romance because I enjoy the exploration of the relationship between them.

  60. Kaetrin
    Apr 27, 2010 @ 23:04:45

    I like a lot of the male point of view – I like to know what the guy is thinking (I so often don’t IRL!) – even though the POV is most often being written by a woman. (hmmmm…).

    I have enjoyed 1st person POV books but I really do prefer to get inside both protagonists’ heads.

  61. MikiS
    Apr 27, 2010 @ 23:11:03

    @Joan/SarahF: Silhouette had a multi-author series of “Desire” novels called “Man Talk”. I searched on Amazon for Man Talk and a couple came up. The cover actually says: “Man Talk: Silhouette Desire from his point of view”.

  62. Maili
    Apr 28, 2010 @ 01:07:32

    For romance, I prefer both POVs of a romantic couple (regardless of gender). This probably because I easily get frustrated when there is only one POV (Gothic romances for instance). I can’t help but suspect the POV character of being an unreliable narrator. It doesn’t make sense, I know, but yeah.

    And for non-romance fiction, I generally prefer male POV (and, admittedly, male authors).

  63. Cindy from Michigan
    Apr 28, 2010 @ 07:24:49

    I already know how a female feels and thinks under almost every situation, so any lack in a female POV isn’t even noticed because I’m already in there myself.

    But if you don’t give me a male POV, I feel totally cheated and I never become invested in the storyline if the author doesn’t become invested in him.

    I want balance in a love story. Give me the Yang to my Yin, okay?

    In love scenes, having my heroine turned on won’t stir me in the least if I’m not getting it loud and clear HE’s the one who’s out of control.

    Nothing is more exciting than to see and feel in the words on the page that a man is affected by a woman.

  64. Heather Holland
    Apr 28, 2010 @ 07:58:14

    As a reader, I love having both the hero and heroine’s POVs. I like to get inside both their heads. I think that’s probably part of the reason I dislike first person so much. You’re stuck in one person’s head for the majority if not the whole of the story. I also don’t mind the POVs of secondaries, so long as there is some meat to it rather than one or two odd lines tossed in at random, which drives me crazy.

    As a writer, I like multiple POVs. Sometimes, a third or fourth party sees things the h/h miss and, IMO, it adds an extra something to the story. I do sometimes dabble with the bad guy’s POV, but not much, though I find myself skipping bad guy POV in books I’m reading. Weird, I know. Though I think it’s important to balance secondary POVs. You don’t want them taking over since it’s the h/h’s story.

    As for his and her POVs in the love scenes, well, it just seems right to write it that way. If I’m doing half of each non-love scene from both sides, why not those, too? I like knowing he’s really enjoying the woman he’s with, appreciating her for herself and not thinking of her as an “anyone would do” kind of thing.

  65. DianeN
    Apr 28, 2010 @ 12:55:19

    I like male POV (and sometimes even prefer it) but have found that a lot of otherwise good women writers don’t have the knack for writing it. Anytime a hero who isn’t an actual artist lingers over the exquisite way the jewel-like color of the heroine’s underwear matches the polish on her adorable toenails I am so outta there! Men and women don’t have the same thought processes–the Mars and Venus stuff may be cliched but it’s all essentially true, and it’s what I want to see when I’m reading multiple POVs. I can be totally turned off by a book if the hero’s POV just doesn’t feel authentically male.

  66. Cecilia Grant
    Apr 28, 2010 @ 14:55:19

    I do want the male POV. I want to read a story about two people falling in love, and I want to hear what it’s like for both of them.

    And I have to say, I’m not fully convinced there’s that much difference between how men think and how women think. Thinking of Dickens’s authorial voice vs. Eliot’s authorial voice… Thinking about which one tends toward sentiment and which toward a maybe more analytical view… I don’t know. I guess I see (and like to see) a lot more variation among individuals than strict male-vs.-female division.

  67. Angie
    Apr 29, 2010 @ 01:52:51

    With a novel I prefer having both points of view, or even more; an interesting supporting character can give some great insights neither main character in a romance might have. With short stories, multiple points of view are great but as a writer I find it difficult to do justice to two POV characters in just a few thousand words.

    I dislike first person and seeing that POV in a book can prevent me from buying. The book has to have something else pretty significant going for it, like the name of one of my short-list authors on the cover, to get me to dive into first person. It’s hard to do well, and way too easy to make the POV character sound like a braggart, a whiner or a brainless ninny.

    The first romance I remember having substantial male POV was Woodiwiss’s Shanna, which I think was late 70s or very early 80s. I enjoyed the story very much, and read it several times, despite loathing the female protag. Shanna was a self-centered bitch and didn’t get much better by the end of the book. I never understood why Roark loved her, but I enjoyed following him through the book, cheering him on and blowing razzberries at Shanna whenever things didn’t go her way. (Which she always deserved.) If that book hadn’t had a male POV, I’d never have finished it and certainly wouldn’t have enjoyed it.


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  69. ami
    Apr 30, 2010 @ 14:21:11

    I LOVE the male POV. I wish all the books had it, even if just a little bit. There are two sides of every story and scenario and while some of it is kinda of trite (I love but she doesn’t me), that’s preferable to me listening to the heroine whine for pages and pages how the hero doesn’t really love her(when he does, uh yeah just finished rereading Captive Bride by Johanna Lindsey). I mean any POV is fine as long as it’s written well I suppose, but in any romance I would just like 1 glimpse into their head, just to see how their processes work. For example, I would like Jacequline Carey to rewrite some of the Kushiel series from Joselin?sp? pov would be highly amusing although you can clearly sort of feel him from the main character point of view.

  70. Karen Scott
    May 02, 2010 @ 04:46:10

    My preference is 60/40 weighted towards the hero’s POV. Probably one of the reasons that I’m resistant to first person POVs in books.

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