Literary crushes

Most people openly admit to having crushes on actors, singers, rockstars etc but few people ever talk about the characters from books that they’ve fallen in love with. I’m not sure if this is because I am the only person in the world ever to fall in love with a character from a book or if it’s because it’s vaguely embarrassing to admit that you have a crush on a make-believe man (or woman). So I thought I’d find out. By sharing my literary crushes. If you have any, do share, because at least then I’ll know I’m not completely mad!

First and foremost there is Mr Darcy. I loved Mr Darcy before he jumped into a lake and flashed his muscles through his clinging white shirt. I even named my third child Darcy so you can see that this crush is possibly a little extreme, but I thought that Darcy was better than Fitzwilliam, which is really Mr Darcy’s first name.

Next up is Mr Rochester from Jane Eyre – I fell in love with him as an impressionable 13 year old and thought his dark, mysterious and brooding ways were the epitome of true romantic love. Now that I have three children and little time for romance I think that marrying a blind man with a mad wife is probably about as far from romance as one could get.

The mysterious Alex from Margaret Atwood’s The Blind Assassin is also on the list. A bit rough around the edges sure, but with an imagination like his and the stories he tells there’d be no chance of ever getting bored.

What about tragic Robbie from Atonement? I wonder if half of his charm is that his experience of love was so fleeting. I’m writing about this very thing in my second book Bodies – is it easier to remain in love with someone who has been tragically taken away because you don’t have to experience the daily-ness of coupled life, which sometimes removes a little of the romantic gloss?

And forget Romeo, I had a soft spot for Mercutio. Romeo just seemed too much of a wimp, mooning around after Juliet all the time. At least Mercutio had wit – too bad it didn’t save him from tragedy too.

In my twenties I went through a phase of being obssessed with the historical novels of Dorothy Dunnett and had a huge crush on her main character, Lymond. He was the most articulate and well-read rebel I’ve ever encountered. And isn’t it so much easier to fall in love with an imagainary rebel because then you can glory in the passion behind the rebellion without ever having to suffer the consequences. I suspect that the kind of rebellion described in her books would be decidedly more bloody and less romantic should it ever take place in real life.

Anyway, I know I’ve forgotten lots of fabulous literary loves. Please share …


  1. Anthony Pyle

    As I read this post I instantly thought of a million characters in books that I fell in love with chapter by chapter. But then a burst of embarrassment rushed over me, probably because I cant explain why I like them. It really is a crush on their personality and the things they do. The worst is when they die in a story though, or just break your heart. I think its very hard to explain to your friends that you are having an emotional day because a character in a book did something that you didnt agree with.

    But if I had to list characters it would probably have to be Alaska Young from young adults author John Green,and then Dorian Gray just because hes so enigmatic.

    • I agree – there’s nothing worse than a character you’ve become realy attached to dying in a story. But it always makes me realise how powerful imagination is – that we can become so emotionally involved in the life of someone we can only see in our mind. Which is why I love reading so much I suppose.

  2. Mirax Terrik, a sassy rogue trader from Starwars’ X-Wing series. Never knew there were artist renditions of her, but now that I’ve seen em… Damn… Yep, totally ^^

    • Ha ha – well at least the artist renditions lived up to your imaginative expectations – there’s nothing worse than when a film of a favourite book comes out and the characters look nothing like the way you’ve imagined them.

  3. marlish glorie

    Love the pic of Mr. Darcy! My word! Whew!
    For me, the stand out crushes, amongst many literary figures, erupted way way, back at the tender age of sixteen when I fell utterly, and madly, in love with Hamlet. Sigh…oh Hamlet…. Had a huge influence on me.
    Then fast forward a number of decades later with two young children and reading Roald Dahl’s the Twits
    I loved Mrs. Twit – what a nasty piece of work she is/was, and I often joked with my children that when I grew up that I wanted to be just like Mrs. Twit!
    Now who would I want to be, once I grow up? I think being Olive Kitteridge, from Elizabeth’s Strout’s award winning Novel, Olive Kittredge, wouldn’t be too bad.

    • Glen Hunting

      Greetings all,

      When I was fortunate enough to meet Andrea Goldsmith up at Geraldton last year at the Big Sky festival, I told her that I loved her character Ava from Reunion, but that if I’d met her in real life (and no doubt fallen for her) she would have broken my heart. She was absolutely entrancing and absolutely faithless.

      I would have married Anna Wulf from Doris Lessing’s The Golden Notebook in a heartbeat, too. I absolutely empathised with her struggle for her emotional survival, and desperately wanted to give her some solace. But I suspect the marriage would probably have needed a bit more going for it than that.

      Darcy. Of course. I should have made the connection. I know of another literary tragic who named her son Wystan. If you had another boy, would you be tempted to call him Colin? As in the above-pictured specimen in the ruffled white shirt?

    • Hi Marlish, I haven’t read Olove Kitteridge but I’ll be sure to look out for it now.

  4. Pingback: The joy (and madness!) of writing a book | While the kids are sleeping

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