Love between the covers

2010-04-09 11:57
Tammy February
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 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.


  • magda - 2010-04-09 12:20

    I have quite a few leading men who has stolen my heart. By far the winner in this category is Alex Cross, the main character in the James Patterson crime novels. It has nothing to do with his looks, but everything with who he IS!. he is a devoted father and family man, he cares about everybody around him, is cultured, well read, sensitive and intelligent. he knows how to give love and affection, but more importantly, he knows how to RECEIVE it as well. my dream man.

    but I have to admit, Edward Cullen stole my heart on the first page he was mentioned. and no, not the Robert Pattenson version, the Edward in my mind, the one I created. He is just so much more than any movie can portray. Wish I could attach a brain dump image for you guys - promise, you'd love him too.

  • Karin - 2010-04-09 12:27

    I agree that book charcters are fabulous! Good writers have the ability to make them so real, even though they may not be perfect.

    Two of my favourites are Howard Roark from Ayn Rand's "The Fountain Head." he is stubborn and brilliant and driven, and does not give in to what society beloieves to be right and proper, and he never sacrifices his integrity. And I love the love he shares with Dominique, even if she is just as subborn as he is.

    And while he sparkles, Edward Cullen is to die for. Especially after reading the unreleased copy of Midnight sun, that tells the Twilight story from his perspective. To be loved in that way by a man .... sigh, only in books and dreams.

    Damon from Vampire Dairies is amazing, I LOVE Bad boys, and he is the ultimate bad boy, and bless the producers of the TV series for casting such a drop dead man.

    And then I love a second Roarke, the male character in Nora Rovert / JD Robb's books. he is handsome and intelligent and wealthy, and despises evil, and he adores his detective wife - a perfect male character!

  • Brenda - 2010-04-09 16:21

    The character who's become almost a real person to me is Detective Inspector Tommy Lynley, in Elizabeth George's brilliant detective stories. With each new book, you learn a little bit more about Lynley, and he really grows on you! Not only is he good-looking and kind and sexy, but he is also vulnerable and liable to make the wrong decisions, especially in emotional situations, so he comes across as someone who's both a 'hero' but also needs the love and (dare I say?) guidance of a sensible woman. I await each new book with impatient pleasure, knowing I'm going to meet up with someone I admire as well as have a soft spot for. May Elizabeth George keep us all entertained for many years to come!

  • Caro - 2010-04-09 19:44

    HEATHCLIFF! Obviously! :)

  • Eren - 2010-04-12 12:03

    I have a soft spot for Edward Rochester. I have read Jan Eyre once a year forover 15 years

  • Katie - 2010-04-12 12:29

    My favourite character is Thomas Covenant of the Stephen Donaldson fantasy trilogy series. In our world he is diseased, outcast and flawed, but in The Land he becomes magical, filled with promise and the eventual saviour of The Land. Make me believe that this promise lives in each of us and only needs to be awakened and discovered.

  • A - 2010-04-12 12:41

    I'm with Caro. No one holds a candle to Heathcliff.

  • Helga - 2010-04-12 12:42

    Captain Carrot - a character from Terry Pratchett's Discworld series.

  • Catherine - 2010-04-12 13:35

    Heathcliff is The Man for me. Yes Wurtherig Heights is my favourite book and I have never come across a character that could love someone so completely, even if it destroys them in the end. My second choice would absolutely be Eric Northman! He is tall, blonde, blue-eyed,a total bad boy and a Viking. His character in the book series is so much more powerful than the tv series. Great Article!

  • Shamsham - 2010-04-12 14:29

    Darcy and Heathcliff, of course!
    But my heart actually belongs to Ron Weasley. That mop of red hair, his fussy family, his fear of just about everything. He's just a big scaredy cat nerd and I love him.

  • Suki - 2010-04-12 17:08

    Hmm, I have so many book crushes, I hardly know where to begin!

    OK, let's start with Roarke, of JD Robb's (Nora Roberts) Eve Dallas series. It's not just that he's incredibly sexy, fantastically wealthy and a cyberfiend to boot, but he adores his completely non-trendy, tough-as-nails, unromantic wife not just for her exterior, but for all the scared-little-girl parts she keeps safely hidden. He wouldn't dream of forcing her to be something she's not, but accepts her with all her (extremely visible) flaws). And their banter often has me laughing out loud. What's not to like?

    In the same vein, all four of the Quinn brothers from Nora Roberts' Chesapeake Bay quadrilogy. For some reason, people seem to think I should be embarrassed to be caught reading her books - but the woman can write a character like nobody's business! And these men are spot-on; real men, no wussies, no macho posers, no plain old idiots. Their interaction is what gets me every time - with each other, and the women in their lives.

    I'm also a sucker for a redhaired man, although in my case, it's Gred and Forge Weasley. They are hilarious, but incredibly loyal, and that's what gets me, every time. Must confess, I even prefer them to Harry - both book and movie versions!

    I adored the silent hero, Dan, in Jo's Boys - the sequel to Little Men. His strength, his valour, his rough ways and the trials he went through, and especially the way he tried to tame himself for beautiful Bess, Amy's daughter, even as he tried to keep his love from her and simply appreciate her innocence from afar ... then went off and died on the frontier ... I've been reading this book for 30 years and Dan's character still drives me to tears at the end.

    I am besotted with JT Edson's characters Waco, Loncey Dalton Ysabel (the Ysabel Kid), Mark Counter, Dusty Fog and Doc Leroy. To me, they embody everything that the West should be about. They're real cowhands, tough and strong, always ready for a fight, some boozing and what we call playas - certainly no milk-white innocents - but somehow, remaining true gentlemen.

    Aragorn, the High King, who started out as the Ranger, Strider, and led the Fellowship of the Ring through many hardships. Aragorn was one of my first true book loves; strong, quiet, calm, a man with a hidden past, loved by an Elven lady, someone who stayed true to her even though another warrior woman fell in love with him; a bad boy by virtue only of his presumed class and status, but actual royalty ... what an amazing character.

    Finally, I love, LOVE the Sacketts, particularly Tell. A rough man of the West, he has a strong moral character and always fights on the side of the law, but also stands up for himself and for the underdog. To the Sacketts, blood is thicker than water - 'cut one, they all bleed'. Louis L'Amour is another author who writes characters that come alive off the page, and to me, the Sacketts were the embodiment of what real men should be.

  • Hermione - 2010-04-13 08:45

    Sirius Black - Harry Potter & Prisoner of Azkaban, Goblet of Fire & Order of the Phoenix. He's tall, black hair (sometimes a bit longer), grey in one: tragic hero, rebel etc. Sigh.

  • Anna Suter - 2010-04-13 13:52

    Definitely and absolutely Mr.Darcy and only Mr. Darcy.
    The good hearted, noble and very sexy Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy!!!!

  • Karen - 2010-04-13 20:52

    Buy a vibrator.... Sigh!!! I think you need a big one

  • Marianne - 2010-04-13 23:52

    Totally agree with Hermione about Sirius Black. My heart clenches in my chest each time he fall through that infernal veil in OOTP. And the casting in the movie, of Gary Oldman, was IMO awesome!

  • Shamsham - 2010-04-14 09:37

    But what about Prof Snape? NOBODY is cooler than Alan Rickman as Severus Snape.

  • M - 2010-04-14 13:06

    Jack Caffery from the Mo Hayder series of books. Double WOW

  • SAPhile - 2010-04-16 17:07

    I have to agree about Atticus Finch - he's everything you'd want in a man and definately the perfect dad.

    I also love Jo's husband in Little Men and Jo's Boys.

    But my fave has got to be Lord Peter Wimsey in Dorothy L Sayer's books. He's intelligent and funny, and bides his time for the woman he loves.

  • Simon - 2010-04-19 12:54

    Tammy that's ridiculous. How can you have a crush on Captain Planet? Wheeler was MUCH MUCH MUCH hotter!

  • Hermione - 2010-04-20 08:43

    Severus Snape, oh yes, nothing sexier than him staring at you through those greasy curtains of black hair ;-)...yikes! Another very bad but sexy character from the HP series is Lucius Malfoy (Jason Isaacs). LOL Marianne, I'm reading OOTP for the...well I'm near that wretched part of the veil (again) and I know I'm going to sob my eyes out...again. Why did JK had to let go of Sirius!? I wonder which HP ladies the men drewl about...Narcissa Malfoy? Her evil sister?

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