We know that we can’t possibly be the only book worms who have fallen for literary characters. So in celebration of all things fantastical and romantic (and perhaps setting up our husbands to fall short), we would like to share the characters who make our hearts thud a little bit faster as we turn the pages of their stories.
Book: “Pride and Prejudice,” “Emma,” Northanger Abbey,” Sense and Sensibility,” Persuasion,” and “Mansfield Park” by Jane Austen
Literary Crush: Well, let’s see, we have Mr. Darcy, Mr. Knightly, Mr. Tilney, Colonel Brandon/Edward Ferrars, Captain Wentworth, and Edmund Bertram
I cheated! Right off the bat! Right out of the gate! But really, there was no other choice because either 1.) the list would be extra long including all seven and made up entirely of Jane Austen characters for my portion or 2.) there would be no post because I could never narrow it down to only 3 and my part would STILL be made up entirely of Jane Austen characters. I will say that Mr. Darcy and Mr. Knightly are probably my favorite two of the bunch, but when we start to get into thirds and fourths…nope! Can’t do it! Many, many articles have been written about the appeal of Jane Austen’s heroes, so I won’t bore you with a re-cap here. They’re just the best. The end.
Book: “Daughter of the Forest” by Juliet Marillier
Literary Crush: Hugh ‘Red’ of Harrowfield
Juliet Marillier is one of my favorite authors and “Daughter of the Forest” is my favorite of her books. So it stands to reason that out of the many fantastic heroes she has written (I really resisted not just including them all again, guys! I’m making progress!), Red would be my favorite leading man. He’s pretty much what every woman wishes for. Strong and competent, but endlessly patient and understanding. Sorcha can’t speak for the majority of their time together in this book, and even though he knows she can answer some of his most heart-wrenching questions about his lost brother, he stands by her, giving her the time and space she needs to heal and grow to trust him. He stands up for her against his family and the questions and fear of her that arise from her being a strange outsider. Their love grows slowly throughout the book until in the end she, too, makes her own sacrifice for him. Their love story is beautiful, and Red is a great hero character in his more quiet, steady way.
Book: “The Subtle Knife” and “The Amber Spyglass” by Philip Pullman
Literary Crush: Will Parry
This one feels a bit strange typing it out as an adult woman since this is technically a child character, but I read these books when I was the main characters’ ages, and it would be wrong to deny the massive crush I had (have?) on Will. Having been already introduced to the unstoppable Lyra in “The Golden Compass,” Will was already fighting an uphill battle being introduced as a main character in book two. But not only did he stand his own, by the end he may have been my favorite of the two. It was also surprising seeing a meaningful and touching romance develop in a natural way in a book that is about teenagers as young as these two. But especially in “The Amber Spyglass,” we see Will’s willingness to do anything to save Lyra and then to follow her anywhere, even into the Underworld. He has the same quiet, steady strength as Red, so I guess that must be kind of my thing?
Book: The “Anne of Green Gables” Series by Lucy Maud Montgomery
Literary Crush: Gilbert Blythe
One of my favorite literary heroines is the impulsive, imaginative, and witty Anne Shirley. I grew up idolizing her (thanks to my Dad’s love for the books about her), and her love interest Gilbert Blythe was hands down the first book character I was totally in love with. Gilbert starts out as a rival, who pisses Anne off when trying to get her attention by calling her ‘Carrots’. But as the series progresses, Anne and Gilbert go from enemies, to friends, to true loves. He’s funny and smart, and sure, a little careless with how he shows his affection for her, but that’s okay. He worships the ground that Anne walks on, but also doesn’t let her get away with some of her more irrational (or spiteful) moments. And boy did it take Anne long enough to figure out that he was the one for her! But the moment that she did (after he nearly died from typhoid fever, OH MY GOODNESS THE FEELINGS), they were just the best couple, and he was everything that she (and I) ever wanted.
Book: “Jane Eyre” by Charlotte Brontë
Literary Crush: Edward Rochester
Snarky? Check. Brooding with a tragic past? Check. Willing to have his true love go toe to toe with him and respectful of her because of it? CHECK MATE. Yeah, it’s probably not great that Edward Rochester lied about keeping his mentally deranged wife locked in an attic, but given how terrible asylums were at the time I’m sort of willing to cut him a little bit of slack. As the love interest in “Jane Eyre”, Rochester falls in love with Jane, the Governess to his ward. Jane is an independent and capable woman and is not willing to let him give her any grief, nor is she willing to let him manipulate her. Rochester does eventually learn from his mistakes, and when he and Jane are reunited they continue to be on even footing, relationship wise. As much as the ‘dark and brooding soul’ trope can get old, Rochester has enough snark and sarcasm to keep it from becoming too much. And for the time period that the book was written, him being on such even footing with Jane in their relationship and romance is quite refreshing!
Book: “Watchmen” by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons (Ill.)
Literary Crush: Dan Dreiberg/ Nite Owl II
As someone who loves superheroes and has a thing for a good number of them (Helloooooo Wade Wilson), Dan Dreiberg from “Watchmen” is the one that holds the biggest key to my heart. Dan is painfully geeky and kind of socially awkward, but he’s very smart, way adorable, and fiercely loyal when it comes to his teammates and friends. He is also a very capable crime fighter, who plays to his strengths of tech knowledge and gadgetry by creating a number of doo dads and inventions that aid him in his endeavors. And he is eternally patient when it comes to his unstable partner, Rorschach. Dan does have his issues, of course, as he is a bit neurotic, and is sometimes plagued by self doubt (such as when being a superhero is strictly outlawed by the Nixon Government). But at his heart he’s really just a good guy who puts on the cape and cowl because he wants to make the world a better place. Also, he loves bird watching and has a deep love for owls. He’s just an adorkable and good guy, so what’s not to love?
What about you? Do you have any literary crushes that make your heart sing? Let us know in the comments!!