I won’t lie, I’m a romantic. Over the years, I’ve fallen in love with oh-so-many fictional characters that one might call it ridiculous. It’s easy to have a crush on a character in a TV show or movie, especially when you fall in love with that bad boy swagger, the quirky grin, or whatever it is that floats your boat, but I have to be honest.
None of my tv/film crushes come close to my literary crushes.
Why? I think it has something to do with the bond you create with them. Instead of relying on looks (not that there’s anything wrong with that! I see you, Bucky Barnes), you connect with a character’s words and thoughts. Heart and soul are poured out on paper for you to absorb, cherish, and drool over.
I confess, I often re-read my favorite books just to get another taste of my literary crushes. And yes….I skip to the good parts. (Sorry, Katniss.) Plus, all of these books have made it to the screen, so I was promptly rewarded for falling in love with their characters before seeing their good looks.
Here are my top five literary crushes, in no particular order:
1. John Thornton — North and South (Elizabeth Gaskell)
Who hasn’t fallen in love with Mr. Darcy? My hand’s up, I’ll admit it, but you won’t find him on my list. While I loved the relationship that developed between Darcy and Elizabeth, once I read Gaskell’s North and South I didn’t look back.
Thornton is a hardass. He’s focused on his business, and he’s determined to see his family’s future secure. Something about that character – the desire to do something good, to protect both his family and his employees in a tumultuous time – really resonated with me.
He has standards that he’s determined to stick to, even if they are unpopular amongst his peers, and – bonus – he falls for a strong, independent female. He’s like Darcy, but somehow better.
2. Sir Percy Blakeney — The Scarlet Pimpernel (Baroness Emma Orczy)
Enter a man who plays the fool. He’s utterly ridiculous on the outside, but appearances aren’t always what they seem.
Sir Percy Blakeney is suave, witty, and incredibly brave – plus, Leslie Howard’s portrayal of Sir Percy Blakeney in The Scarlet Pimpernel and the 1941 ‘modernization’ “Pimpernel” Smith is absolutely phenomenal. The man was born for the character, clearly.
He’s one of my all-time favorite literary crushes.
3. Rhett Butler — Gone With The Wind (Margaret Mitchell) and Scarlett (Alexandra Ripley)
I’m sure I’m not the only with a massive crush on Rhett Butler, but by the end of Gone With The Wind he’s kind of a jerk. Enter the 1991 sequel, Scarlett.
Rhett is just as much man as always from the first book to the second, with a bit of vulnerability thrown in for good measure, and he’s the ultimate bad boy with a good heart. He’s like a Civil War-era Chuck Bass!
4. Jamie Fraser — Outlander (Diana Gabaldon)
James Alexander Malcolm MacKenzie Fraser. Gorgeous Scot. Complete and utter heartthrob.
The man’s a survivor, a bit of a rebel, and who doesn’t want to go find some standing stones to go find him before Claire does?
5. Peeta Mellark — The Hunger Games (Suzanne Collins)
The baker’s son from District 12, Peeta is the epitome of steadfast love. Dude has had a crush on Katniss since he was five, from the moment he first heard her sing, and he does what is necessary to keep Katniss alive throughout the Hunger Games.
I volunteer as tribute.
It was nearly impossible for me to narrow this list down to size, and I am definitely flexible. These five, however, are definitely the ones who have inspired me to read and re-read beloved books over and over again, far more than most.
In the meantime, I’d love to hear your literary crushes! Do any of mine make the list?
Leave me a comment below. Who are your top five?