I have recently finished reading #NoFilter (yes, there is a hashtag in the title), by Maxine Morrey. I had a lovely holiday in Libby Cartright’s world in Brighton while she muddled through falling in love while feeling inadequate and missing her mother, who died suddenly when she was a teenager. Maxine hooks the reader like an absolute pro until you just have to keep reading to get to the next bit!
The hero, Charlie, is kind, a bit vulnerable himself and very, very dishy. I was definitely in love by his second appearance. But he’s also drawn for the reader only through dialogue, Libby’s incomplete thoughts and the occasional facial expression. The book is in first person single point-of-view; that is, the story is entirely told by Libby.
Of course, this is not unusual. First person POV has great strengths when it comes to romances, ramping up the tension because the reader can deeply feel the character’s turmoil and stay close through the most emotional moments. But what do you do about the second POV in a romance which is between two people?
I write third person close POV as a default, mainly because that’s primarily what I’ve read and it’s usually my preference. It means I’m deep in the thoughts of whichever character has the POV in the scene (splitting scenes with breaks to show change of POV), but I’m using ‘he’ and ‘she’ rather than the character narrating directly. And I ALWAYS have the male POV. In fact, I LOVE being deep in the hero’s head when I’m writing and I enjoy tangling the two character arcs throughout the story.
So I found #NoFilter an interesting study in this regard because Maxine did an amazing job and there was a consequence of the single POV which was really satisfying. We get to know Charlie as Libby does and as the book progresses, we gradually understand more about him, too. We even start to understand more than Libby does because we know this is a romance and can more easily interpret Charlie’s words and looks.
For example, we start to understand Charlie’s feelings as Libby gets to know his ‘tells’ – he scratches the back of his head when he’s agitated and progresses to full on hair swiping when he’s upset, but this is only described later in the book when Libby can interpret it. It’s a clever and different journey from a romance with both POVs and satisfying in different ways.
Having only one POV also has the added bonus of a FANTASTIC ‘reveal-all’ scene when they finally open up to each other. It’s like the ‘how long have you loved me’ scenes from Jane Austen to the Hollywood romcoms of the nineties which I LOVED when I was younger (and it looks like I still do!).
As much as I love dual-POV in a romance, I also enjoyed the satisfying differences in a really well-written and clever single-POV story. I’m looking forward to Maxine’s next book, My Year of Saying No, out on April 16th.
I’m also incredibly excited that Maxine and I share an editor. It’s motivation to make my book the best I can get it, if I’m in such good company! (But that’s another story!)
Grab #NoFilter for 99p for a limited time and get as hooked as I did!