1. Gilbert Blythe from Anne of Green Gables
He was the first fictional character to ever steal my heart. Witty, intelligent, cute—I wished I had red hair just so he could call me “carrots”. Gilbert is the personification of loyalty and a good heart, and he taught a much younger me just what a boyfriend should be. Gilbert is so much my idea of the ideal man that when the actor who played him in the original series, Jonathan Crombie, passed away, I was truly bereft. I actually cried, which I’ve never done before with a celebrity death, nor since. Gilbert Blythe—the truest love of my fictional life.
2. Will Traynor from Me Before You by Jojo Moyes
The reason Will makes it on my list isn’t because of Will himself, because, let’s face it, at the beginning of the novel he’s not exactly very nice. In fact, he’s downright awful. Individually he wouldn’t make the list. But as a couple, as a relationship, he and the main character, Louisa Clark, are the embodiment of how transformative true love can be. This is a couple that made me sob my heart out when I read the book; and I sobbed again in the movie, even though I knew exactly how it all went down—so strong was the relationship, the love and the heartache, between Will and Lou, and its effect on me. As a couple I love these two so much, I have not yet been able to bring myself to read the sequels, because I’m so afraid of having the divine heartache that is them, tainted in any way.
3. Dawsey Adams from The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Burrows
Firstly, the man writes letters; true, honest, simple letters. And he reads. He is humble and strong and has a great sense of justice. The other thing I love about Dawsey is how unassuming he is. Juliet is taken by surprise when she falls for him because he is nothing like what she thought she wanted, but turned out to be exactly what she needed. And I love the lesson in that.
4. Lincoln from Josephine Moon’s The Chocolate Promise
One of the sexiest male leads I’ve read in modern literature. I can’t pinpoint what it is about Lincoln – the beard, the silent inner strength, the fact he travelled halfway round the world to see if the girl he loved, loved him back—but something about him really pulls at my heart. So much so, that I kind of think Christmas Livingstone doesn’t deserve him. Really, no one does except me. When an author does that, it’s a great example of the power of literary loves.
5. Winnie the Pooh
The last of the fove loves might seem a little strange, but bear with me (no pun intended). This one makes the list because while there are always romantic elements in my novels, I also explore other forms of love and how important they are—parent/child love, sibling love, love across generations, love between friends. And this character is the pinnacle of unconditional love. Winnie the Pooh. Yes, you read that right. Surrounded by an eclectic group of friends, from hyperactive Tigger, to shy and constantly worried Piglet, to melancholic Eeyore, Pooh never judges his friends. He accepts them as they are and loves them no matter what. A quick google search of Pooh comes up with some of the best quotes ever on love, including my favourite . . .
Piglet: ‘How do you spell love?’
Pooh: ‘You don’t spell it. You feel it.’
What Pooh can’t teach us all about love, isn’t worth knowing.
Sandie Docker’s latest novel, The Cottage at Rosella Cove, is about a place where three damaged souls meet and have the chance to rewrite their futures.
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