GS vs STA: Multiple POV

Kerry writes in with a specific type of book she’s looking for, in the hopes of building a reading list. Perfect for “Good Shit vs. Shit to Avoid!”

I’m really looking for recommended reads of a specific nature I
haven’t seen mentioned anywhere (and please point me to the link if I
missed it!). I’m looking for romances with multiple (not just two) POVs,
specifically ones with a secondary romance. Not necessarily an HEA for the
second, but separate characters, with their own story arcs, whose subplot
interweaves with and enhances the main plot.

It seems like these used to get pubbed more, say, 10 years ago – early-mid
Crusie comes to mind, or SE Phillips (who is hit or miss for me). But now
it’s all “one man, one woman” (or “one person, one person”, since I
don’t just read “straight” – ha, ha – romances). There’s got to be some
recent ones out there – am I just missing them??

(NB: Hot smexing is fine, but I’m not looking for menage books! Nor am I looking for “secondary
characters who will have their own story in the next book of ABC series.”
This would be separate, complete stories, told from secondary character

So Kerry is looking for romances with more than two POVs at work telling the story, with the additional perspectives telling their own story. Holy smoke, I haven’t read a book like that in the romance genre in awhile. I usually associate the Multiple-POV, Multiple-Storyline trait with women’s fiction, wherein the romance is secondary or even tertiary to the other storys. Got suggestions?


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  1. 1
    Suzannah says:

    What about Shannon Stacey’s “Exclusively Yours” and “Undeniably Yours”?  While they each focus on the main hero and heroine, both books have other characters with their own stories, which I would call a secondary romance (if I understand the term correctly).  I loved both of them, and there’s a third one out on 6 June.

  2. 2

    That kind of novel is more common from UK writers and generally termed ‘romantic fiction’.

    You might want to try Katie Fforde or Jill Mansell.

    PS I write it, too. :-)

  3. 3
    Theresa I says:

    The one that jumped into my head was “Lessons from a Scarlet Lady” by Emma Wildes.  There are two key romances in the book.  While one gets more page time, the secondary romance takes up a much larger portion of the book than any other secondary storylines I’ve read.

  4. 4

    If you like paranormal / urban fantasy, there’s the Darkyn series by Lynn Viehl. Definitely read them in order, but there are side plots and side relationships all over the place.

  5. 5
    Meri says:

    I think Eloisa James does a lot of this, but I haven’t read anything by her in years, so I don’t have any specific titles to recommend.

    Suzanne Brockmann often has multiple storylines in her books.

  6. 6
    Bri says:

    not purely romance, but Julia Spencer-Flemings’ clare furgueson series does this really well after the first book or two. (and all the books were really, really good!  :)

  7. 7
    Nadia says:

    This may not be quite what you are looking for, but I just finished a book with three distinct romances.  However, it’s a collaberation between three authors and so reads more as three interconnected novellas.  ‘“The Lady Most Likely” by Julia Quinn, Connie Brockaway, and Eloisa James.  Quinn’s writing style is immediately recognizable, and her story is charming, but I would have wished for a longer timeline and more pages to flesh it out.  I’ve never read Brockaway, and only the first couple of James’ books, but I think I know which wrote which of the other two.  The third story, which could be considered the main story, was the most satisfying.

    Similarly, Anne Stuart and Jennifer Crusie teamed up with a third writer on two collaberative novels:  “Dogs and Goddesses” (with Lani Dianne Rich) and “The Unfortunate Miss Fortunes” (with Eileen Dryer).  Both are contemporary paranormals, and I enjoyed them overall although they were both a bit uneven.

  8. 8
    Elizabeth says:

    I think Eloisa James does a lot of this, but I haven’t read anything by her in years, so I don’t have any specific titles to recommend.

    The one Eloisa James that I’ve read, Pleasure for Pleasure, did this.  There were scenes from the POV of the H/h, secondary H/h, villains, etc.  IIRC, it’s the fourth in the Essex sisters quartet; while I could easily follow what was happening, my reading would have been enhanced by not starting at the end of a series.

    Sherry Thomas also writes scenes with secondary H/h; I remember them particularly in Private Arrangements (a subplot involving the heroine’s mother and her love interest) and His at Night (the hero’s brother and his love interest).

    Lauren Willig’s Pink Carnation series is something a bit different—it has a framing narrative that runs throughout the series.  Each book has a romance with scenes from the POV of the H/h, but also scenes from the POV of a modern woman studying the historical characters.  It’s fun!

  9. 9
    Natalie Arloa says:

    Louisa Edwards does this in Can’t Stand the Heat. The brother of the heroine gets a romance with another man.

    I Couldn’t Stand the Book, and didn’t finish it, but I know plenty of other people loved it, so you might give it a shot.

  10. 10
    Wifsie says:

    ‘Again the Magic’ by Lisa Kleypas
    Alongside Aline’s and McKenna’s, there’s the story of ALine’s younger sister. Great book!

  11. 11
    Rae says:

    Unfortunately, the only reference I have to this only has a little bit of the romance elements in this. The one I’m thinking of is George RR Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire (currently starting on HBO too, if you need mindless fun). I did want to see what others suggested though!

  12. 12
    Anne Stuart says:

    FWIW, all my historicals have a supporting romance, some with more detail than others.  However, as everyone on Amazon says so depressingly, my books aren’t for everyone.

  13. 13
    Ashley says:

    Try Marian Keyes, especially Last Chance Saloon and Sushi For Beginners.  She follows several people in a group, and there’s always one HEA among them.

  14. 14

    I was just going to suggest Shannon Stacey’s Exclusively YOurs and Undeniably Yours but I see someone else has already done it! Oh well, thought I’d add in the suggestion anyway. :)

  15. 15
    hollygee says:

    Also not quite romance: The Weird Sisters by Eleanor Brown.

  16. 16
    StephB says:

    Eloisa James’s Essex Sisters quartet, starting with Much Ado About You, and her Desperate Duchesses series, starting with Desperate Duchesses, both do this in every book – AND they’re fabulously smart, witty, and sexy, too! Hugely recommended.

  17. 17
    Josie says:

    Ditto on ELoisa James. It’s why I love her books.

  18. 18
    Nadia says:

    I can only blame the early morning that I didn’t think to add Ms. Stuarts’ historicals to my earlier post.  Her secondary romances are very effective.  I especially enjoyed this in “Shadow Dance,” where the hero’s brother is in drag for most of the book hiding from a false murder accusation and forced to be gal-pal to his love interest.  And “Lady Fortune” has a lovely storyline for the heroine’s mother.

  19. 19
    Kati says:

    Try Suzanne Brockmanns Troubleshooter series with the first being The Unsung Hero. There are 16 books released so far plus a short story.

    In the first books the subplot is set in WWII. Later on in the series there are sometimes also these “now subplot, later own book” couples but by then you´ll be too hooked to care :)

    The Troubleshooters are at first a US Navy SEAL team, later it becomes a private security company.
    The couples are pretty unusual…compared to the average love novels :) Unusual in the sense that it´s not always white guy/white skinny girl but all kinds of ethnicities, sexual orientations and bodysizes (at least when it comes to the girls, most of the guys are soldiers, after all!)

  20. 20
    bliss says:

    If you like paranormal romance, try Marie Kenward’s ‘Dark Promises’ published with The Wild Rose Press.  Packed full of characters and multiple POVs and a second romance too.

  21. 21
    Ellie says:

    If you like romantic suspense, I’d suggest anything by Toni Anderson (which is all of three books, unfortunately). I seem to recall that her two most recent books, Sea of Suspicion and Storm Front both have scenes told through the secondary characters’ POV. I know her first book, Her Sanctuary, also had an interesting and unresolved story involving two secondary characters. I’m still hoping she comes back to finish that story.

  22. 22
    Lizzy says:

    You could also try Burning Up by Susan Anderson.

  23. 23
    megalith says:

    This may be a bit off the mark, because I think the request was probably for romance genre books, but I just finished reading the ending book in a SF trilogy by Connie Willis that fits the bill of multiple POVs and plotlines. The books are definitely SF and have only incidental romantic elements, but they’re very moving and involve many interwoven plots and subplots. The books start with The Doomsday Book about a group of Oxford historians in 2048 who use the new technology of time travel to go back to the 14th century to study the people and events firsthand. Although they attempt to avoid the time of the Black Plague, there is “slippage” and they end up in the very midst of those horrible events. Meanwhile, we see the historians back in Oxford trying to save them and pull them out safely while dealing with their own contemporary version of an epidemic.

    The next two books, Blackout and All Clear concern a related group of historians in Oxford of 2060 who travel back to WW II and get stuck there because of events started in the first book.

    The first book won both the Hugo and the Nebula, and could be read as a standalone if you want. The second and third books really need to be read as a unit.

  24. 24
    Beth says:

    I vote for Eloisa James as well. And definitely start at the beginning with that series.
    And Julia Quinn wrote two books, Mr. Cavendish I Presume? and The Lost Duke of Wyndham that have two sets of heroes and heroines that tells the same story from two different points of view.

  25. 25
    hapax says:

    @megalith—oh, you must also read to SAY NOTHING OF THE DOG!  It concerns the same group of Oxford time-travelling historians, but it differs in that it is from the sole POV of one character, and it is very, very, head-banging, drink-snorfling, wake-up-your-partner-to-say-“Listen to this!” funny.

    Much of the humor comes from riffing on Victorian poets and Jerome K Jerome’s THREE MEN IN A BOAT, but you don’t need to be familiar with either to “get” it.

    And there are two very sweet romances in the story as well.

  26. 26
    Carin says:

    I second The Troubleshooters series by Suzanne Brockmann.  She does multiple plot lines really really well.  I’m not a huge suspense fan, and often her primary storyline is a suspense one, and I still love her books. (I’m only on book 6 so far, though)  As mentioned, it starts with Unsung Hero

    I also thought Shannon Stacey did the multiple storylines well in Exclusively Yours and Undeniably Yours.  I’m hoping for another hit with Yours for Keeps later this month!

    Maeve Binchy is someone I remember doing this kind of storytelling well, too.  But I only read a couple of her books years and years ago.  They may have had a HEA storyline, but overall I remember them making me too sad to be a regular read for me.

  27. 27
    megalith says:

    Actually, Willis has another book in this series called To Say Nothing of the Dog which is more of a comedy. In that book, the historians travel from 2057 back to 1940 and then Victorian England in search of items from Coventry Cathedral for a very overbearing benefactress. The book could also be read as a standalone.

  28. 28
    megalith says:

    Oops! Cross-posted. What hapax said. LOL

  29. 29

    Anything by Susan Elizabeth Phillips. She always has a fully-realized secondary romance.

  30. 30
    Sarah Frantz says:

    Definitely Suzanne Brockmann. She’s brilliant at it in her Troubleshooter series, although toward the end of the series, all the voices get a bit frenetic.

    And JR Ward, of course, does this too, in her Black Dagger Brotherhood series, starting with Dark Lover.

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