Before I ever opened a romance novel, I fell in love with those classic romantic men penned by such women as Emily Bronte and Baroness Orczy. After I started reading romances, I saw many similarities between those incredible men and the ones who graced the pages of my contemporary novels.
But seriously, who can compete with the classics? That's why we loved them so much as young people and why we still love them.
So, without further adieu, here are my favourite romance heroes from classic literature. Enjoy.
The Scarlet Pimpernel:
Okay, I won't give his identity away in case you haven't read the book yet but let's just say that this British aristocrat masquerading as a hero to the French elite during the Terror is a man for all occasions--and a great actor. He's brave, dashing and captures the heart of every young women in England as he performs his daring deeds. But his heart belongs to one woman alone. Sigh.
If you've struggled through War and Peace more than once then it might be because of this Russian prince, an intellectual widower who still kicks butt on the battlefield and wins the heart of the young heroine Natasha. What is amazing about Tolstoy's character is that we first see the Prince at his worst, suffering in a loveless marriage, and later come to love him as his inner strength and beauty is revealed. Truly, a great man.
He's a jerk, I know, but you fall for him right from the start--after you finish gasping with indignation. Poor Scarlett. She never stood a chance. Rhett had both the brains and wiles to survive in high style during a disastrous war (for his side) and he soon gains what is often essential for a romantic hero: power and position. And he uses it to woo his woman. While their relationship is fiery and tempestuous, Rhett holds his own against our girl and when he walks out at the end, we all know that they will somehow end up together again.
Come on, dying for love? Is there anything better than that?
Oh wait, how about living in spite of your loved one's death? Going around cursing the gods and your beloved to walk the earth until you can meet her in death? Yes, that's Heathcliff. Uncivilized, untamed, and wildly attractive. He drives himself--and everyone around him--mad out of love. And when his love turns into hatred for almost everything else in the world, we ache even more for him. I cry every time he gives his speech, begging Cathy to haunt him. Oh no, here I go again.