The whole point of Sonlight is to provide a literature-based education, where history comes alive because the student not only learns the facts of history, but experiences it vicariously through fiction and biography.
You can have that experience whether or not you use every literature book, and you can have that experience whether you use the exact history books Sonlight provides or choose to use another history text.
It may not be the exact same experience, but it is a rich experience.
As far as mapping and timelines--My kids really struggled with mapping in early grades, so I focused on just having them find things on our world or US map, or occasionally pulling out an atlas. We use Mystery of History, so in upper grades I've had them do more mapping.
Sonlight has a book of time, which my kids never cared for either. I've never been great at the timeline aspect, though I sometimes now wish I'd tried more varieties and pushed for it more. A friend of mine who also uses Mystery of History follows their style--instead of having her kids put in stickers and write about the character, they have the student use a pre-formatted character they draw on to help them remember the person. Her boys have loved their books. I didn't quite "get it" when I tried to introduce timelines, but now I think my kids would have enjoyed that more and maybe I should have tried it....oh well! I guess I'm a timeline flunkie.
Use what works for you and your kids.