My Bookish Valentine
In honor of Valentine's Day, here are 14 of my favorite romantic characters in literature.
Mr. Darcy - Any list of romantic literary characters has to start off with Mr. Darcy from Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. Despite a somewhat rocky start, Darcy ends the novel as one of literature’s most swoon-worthy heroes.
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The Complete Novels of Jane Austen: Emma, Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility, Northanger Abbey, Mansfield Park, Persuasion, and Lady Susan (The Heirloom Collection)
Captain Wentworth / Mr. Knightley / Col. Brandon - Still, as yummy as Darcy may be, it would be a crime to allow him to overshadow the rest of Jane Austen’s leading men. Captain Wenthworth’s skill at writing love letters, Mr. Knightley’s honesty and kindness, and Col. Brandon’s steadfast devotion have certainly earned them a spot on this list.
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Mr. Rochester - The master of Thornfield Hall may have his baggage and an odd tendency to dress up as an old gypsy woman – what was up with that! – but his passionate nature (and his moody, brooding snark) can set a lady’s heart a flutter.
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Romeo - It may not have ended well but Romeo and Juliet is one of the quintessential love stories of all time. The poetry and romance of Romeo underneath Juliet’s balcony set the standard for romantic gestures everywhere.
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Benedict - Of course, if you prefer your Shakespearean romance with a happily ever after, you can’t go wrong with Benedict from Much Ado About Nothing. Witty and amusing, Benedict is never at a loss for a comeback or a joke and can more than keep up with one of my favorite Shakespearean heroines, Beatrice.
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Noah Calhoun – “I am nothing special, of this I am sure. I am a common man with common thoughts and I've led a common life. There are no monuments dedicated to me and my name will soon be forgotten, but I've loved another with all my heart and soul, and to me, this has always been enough..” Excuse me – I think I need a tissue.
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F. Scott Fitzgerald
Gatsby - The image of Jay Gatsby stretching out his hand to the green light at the end of Daisy’s dock is, for me, the single most romantic image in literature. Say what you will about Gatsby, his love for Daisy never wavered and he was willing to move heaven and earth to be with her.
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Rhett Butler - What's not to love about Rhett Butler? He is the epitome of the loveable scoundrel with confidence to spare. But my favorite things about Rhett is that he isn't afraid to speak his mind and that, although he sees Scarlett - faults and all - he still loves her.
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Louisa May Alcott
Laurie / Prof. Bhaer - Many fans of Louisa May Alcott's Little Women are still disappointed that Jo didn't end up with her best friend, Laurie. But I have to admit that I have always been fond of the professor whose loving and solid nature was a great compliment to Jo. But regardless of which side of the divide you fall on, Jo's boys were among my earliest bookish crushes.
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Anne of Green Gables, Complete 8-Book Box Set: Anne of Green Gables; Anne of the Island; Anne of Avonlea; Anne of Windy Poplar; Anne's House of ... Ingleside; Rainbow Valley; Rilla of Ingleside
Lucy Maud Montgomery
Gilbert Blythe - I must admit that out of all the gentlemen on this list, I love Gilbert Blythe best of all. His transformation from rival / enemy to good friend to love interest is one of my favorite things about the Anne series. And truth-be-told, every time he calls Anne, "Anne-girl" I melt a little.
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W. P. Kinsella
Ray Kinsella - Ray may seem like an odd fit for a list of romantic characters. Shoeless Joe is best know as the inspiration for the film, Field of Dreams, and most people associate the character with baseball more than romance. But Ray's love his love of his wife shines through in such beautiful, sensual and unexpectedly poetic terms that I just had to include him.
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Wesley - There are a lot of reasons to include Wesley on my list of literary crushes. The guy can rock a black mask, knows his way around a sword, and the fact that he was played by Cary Elwes in the move, doesn't hurt either. Still, Wesley earned his place on the list with three little words: As you wish.... *Swoon*
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Jocelyn Verreuil - It's hard to imagine a more mismatched pair of lovers than Phedre, a masochistic courtesan / spy, and Jocelyn, the warrior priest sworn to protect her but this couple is one of my favorites in any series. What I love about Jocelyn - besides his wry sense of humor - is how he is willing to follow Phedre into hell and back and how far he would go to protect the ones he loves.
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Henry DeTamble - The hero of this unconventional love story is a hard living, punk librarian who is pulled unwillingly away from the here and now to travel through time. The only constant in his life is his love for his wife, Claire. With parallels to Odysseus and Penelope, the love between Henry and Claire is poignant and romantic.
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