Love between the covers

Tall, dark and roguishly handsome? Tragic, misunderstood hero? Tammy February is seriously crushing on her favourite book characters.

When I was young I distinctly remember having crushes on my favourite cartoon characters.

There was Vinnie, the white mouse (yes lovely book folk, I had a crush on a perpetually flirty anthropomorphic mouse) from The Biker Mice from Mars, Captain Planet (ok, you REALLY can stop laughing now), and Prince Eric from The Little Mermaid amongst many others.

But, while I no longer have crushes on those animated poppies of yesteryear, I have now transferred my lavish affections onto book characters instead.

So in the spirit of embarrassing confessions, I've decided to compile a list of the good, the bad, the dashing and the downright odd boys that make this book-loving heart of mine sing.

1.  Mr Darcy from Pride and Prejudice - He's arrogant, wealthy, and charismatically aloof. He's the kind of man that you'd hate at first sight because he's everything you wouldn't want in a man. And perversely enough most of us end up falling in love with these types because of that.

But, the thing with Mr Darcy is, is that  he's the best example of a first impression not always being the correct one and out of all the book characters I've come across, I have never seen a man bow down and humble himself before love like Mr Darcy does.

2. Damon Salvatore from The Vampire Diaries -  He's mean, bad to the bone, sports a pair of fangs and drinks human blood. Yet, for all his inhumanness, Damon hides a human exterior he doesn't show very often. I admit that I find his tv role very enthralling, but the Damon from the actual book series definitely leaves me bleeding for more. I'd choose him over his "good" brother Stefan any day. And best of all, he doesn't sparkle

3. Bruno -  the awkwardly sweet chef from The Food of Love - I've always had a soft spot for the underdog and Bruno is no exception to the rule. When he's forced to play chef to his more pompous and arrogant waiter friend (for the sake of a girl), I couldn't help but immediately root for him.

His chronic awkwardness simply made him all the more endearing to me.  Besides, with cooking skills like his - why would you want the hot stud whose whole being relies on the talent of others to get him the girl?

4. Atticus Finch - To Kill a Mockingbird - I have to admit, this one is a weird choice, but after going around and checking what other people had to say, I was surprised to see that many people had him on their book crush list too.

Yes, the man's old enough to be my father, but anyone who goes against the system to stand up for their beliefs and fight for someone's rights regardless of the cost involved, receives my undying devotion. It's as simple as that.

5.  Eric Northman from The Sookie Stackhouse novels - Yes, it would appear that I have a bit of a vamp obsession, but so what?  If I can crush on cartoon characters, then I certainly have no qualms about crushing on mythical ones too.  And this time around, the vamp in this case is Eric Northman.

He's blond, he's a Viking vampire and he's far more powerful than Bill could ever hope to be. And this is the case in both the book and the tv series - although True Blood portrays Bill as the one with a far more "good" character in him than Eric.

Personally I like both Erics, but I reckon you should read the books to get to know a different side to Eric that you're probably used to seeing on tv. You won't be disappointed.

6. Jay Gatsby from The Great Gatsby. - I've got a real soft spot for Jay. I can't help it, but when someone whose flawed personality is based around a desperate need to win the love of a materialistic and shallow woman who has very little capacity to return any sincere emotion, the tragedy of it just pulls at my heartstrings.

Here we have a man whose lifestyle is obscenely ostentatious, and who believes that through flaunting his assets, he can win the love of the flaky Daisy Buchanan. Never once does he consider that he's simply chasing a mirage. I love him because he is so tragic and because tragic characters have far more interesting layers than Gary Stu character types.

I could go on and on about Lestat, Dorian Gray, Rhett Butler and Edward Rochester, but I think I've embarrassed myself enough for now.

It's your turn now. Go on, tell me which book character you have a crush on. I want to know. Our favourite response will receive our top ten books from Kalahari.net and a case of wine from Perdeberg.

Please note that you have to be a book club subscriber in order to qualify.

Tammy February is women24's book club editor. She refuses to give Edward Cullen and Jacob Black a spot in her list of book crushes. You can follow her on twitter here.

- Women24

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