I don’t think any (fictional) man can hold a candle to Mr. Darcy, the famed hero of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. Whenever and wherever literary crushes are the subject, he seems to be the first mentioned. And not without reason — he loves the smart, sarcastic Elizabeth Bennett just as she is; he’s also handsome, rich, and smart in his own right.
But, there are many other worthy contenders. Below is a list of memorable characters you may find yourself falling for. A note of caution, however: Any feelings you develop whilst reading will remain unrequited … but that’s what makes for the best love stories, right?
Heathcliff (Wuthering Heights)
Poor Heathcliff! He is a tortured soul at the mercy of a woman who, in the end, denies him. Let’s just forget the second half of the book, which he spends perpetually angry and bent on revenge. Although, some may find that adds to his appeal.
Theodore “Laurie” Laurence (Little Women)
Okay, so he may not be the most reliable or hardworking guy, but he sure is full of charm. He’s also a lot of fun, well educated, and, once again, rich.
Lawrence Selden (The House of Mirth)
A man who loves you for who you truly are is worth hanging on to. Unfortunately, Lily Bart puts her social standing above love, losing the man who is the love of her life.
Aragorn (The Lord of the Rings)
I’m not going to lie to you — this is one of my crushes. He’s a strong fighter, a natural leader, a confidant to a wizard, and the King of Men. All characteristics that make him worth giving up immortality for, at least in the eyes of Arwen.
Atticus Finch (To Kill a Mockingbird)
The epitome of moral fortitude and standing up for what is right, as well as an amazing (single) father, he is any smart woman’s dream guy.
Wolverine (X-Men series)
A master of almost all forms of martial arts, fluent in eight languages (with some knowledge of ten others), a reliable ally, and a strong believer in morals. And, of course, he is a bit of a loner. He is strong both mentally and physically … and he would surely go to bat for love in a second.
Jamie Fraser (Outlander series)
I have many friends who love Jamie. They describe him as strong, brave, gorgeous, and vulnerable, a charming, protective and loving partner. One went so far as to call him, “THE DREAM MAN” (in all caps). How Claire has trouble deciding between Jamie and Frank may baffle many.
Hiro Protagonist (Snow Crash)
Described as having “cappuccino skin” and almond eyes, he carries two swords and knows how to hack computers. Plus, he can drive the hell out of a pizza delivery car.
Jack Reacher (Jack Reacher series)
The strong, silent, brooding type. A former decorated Major in the U.S. Army Military Police Corps, he is now a drifter who travels around the U.S. carrying only money and a foldable toothbrush. Trouble seems to find him everywhere, and he does not shy from a fight. Oh, and he’s tall and lean with ice-blue eyes.