Saturday, July 2, 2011

Debut Novel Makes Powerful Use of First Person Present Point of View

Her Best Catch
Lindi PetersonPaperback: 204 pages
Publisher: Bell Bridge Books (March 2011)

Also Available as Kindle Book

One of the best ways to get readers involved in an author’s story is to write it in the first person present. Everything is happening now and it is happening in the head of the POV character. The reader is ‘in’ that POV character’s head for the entire book. This is as ‘up close and personal’ as writing gets.

In “Her Best Catch” the heroine, Allison Doll, is a witty, interesting, and dynamic character. She makes lots of observations about what is going on around her. This is essential in first person POV if the author hopes to keep the reader entertained.

For example:
Allison is in a bible class at church and the teacher asks this question:

“ ‘Okay,' Jax says. ‘Give me thoughts. What’s going on in your heads?’
A sniffle here, a cough there, feel the silence everywhere.
This silence is so typical. Nobody wants to be the first to speak, but once someone does, watch out. Then no one will be able to finish a sentence because they’re being interrupted.”
The heroine has the type of personality that is always interesting. She is always making witty observations.

The hero, Ashton Boyd, is a major league baseball pitcher who is disabled by an arm injury. He is hoping to make a comeback. All his life all he ever wanted to be was a baseball player. Now as a successful adult, his dreams are shattered. What does he do now? It’s not surprising that Ashton has turned to God for help, guidance, and meaning. He is at a major life turning point. Both Ashton and Allison are in the same bible class. Both are planning to go on a week long mission trip. All the other women in the single adult class also seem to have their eyes on Ashton as well.

“Her Best Catch” is 100% Christian fiction. You better like Christian fiction. I do and I enjoyed the Christian values emphasized in the story.

I think it is almost impossible to write a good romance in first person present POV and almost no romance writers do it. The first person POV is ideal for mystery, western, and suspense stories where you don’t have to know the motives of the other parties. If you are tracking a very dangerous killer outlaw, it’s not that important to know why he became an outlaw. However, in romance, it is important to know what the hero sees in the heroine and why he acts as he does towards her. That’s half the fun.

In this respect the greatest strength of “Her Best Catch” is also its greatest weakness. You don’t get into the hero’s mind. You don’t know why he would be interested in the heroine in the first place. His reactions seem inexplicable to me. I can see some readers loving this book and giving it 5 stars and other readers not liking it at all and giving it far less stars. That being said, the author deserve a lot of credit for trying something as difficult as this POV in her debut novel.

For at least 95% of the book, “Her Best Catch” is a 5-star reading experience. I loved it. I was entertained. I thought the heroine was a fascinating person. I enjoyed her company. However, without a foundation, the ending just seems to happen because the book needed an ending.

Being a man, I may be too sensitive about the hero’s behavior. I wanted to know why the hero did what he did. Female readers, on the ohter hand, may not care why a hero falls in love with the heroine as long as she gets her man. If that’s the case, they are going to love, I repeat love, "Her Best Catch".

Powerful Use of First Person Present!


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