It’s true love, y’all! Whether you’re paired up or single this Valentine’s Day, there’s one relationship you can always count on — your book boyfriend! Today at RT, the editors are celebrating their favorite love interests from between the pages.
It’s obviously going to be impossible to pick just one book boyfriend, but I will narrow it down to two. We’ll start at the beginning: Gilbert Blythe from the beloved Anne of Green Gables series was one of my very first book boyfriends. He was kind, he was true, he paid attention when our girl Anne Shirley gave him the cold shoulder and he patiently loved her while she figured herself out. (Jonathan Crombie’s portrayal of Gilbert was pitch perfect, and I mourned his loss last year along with the rest of the Green Gables fandom.) L.M. Montgomery knew how to write romance — when (I mean, I’d say spoiler, but the books have been out for a century so …) Anne hears that Gilbert may die of Typhoid fever and rushes to his side, it’s a love story at its finest, and that story turned a tiny Elissa into a lifelong book lover. As for a more contemporary book boyfriend, I’m going to have to select Jennifer L. Armentrout‘s Reece Anders from Fall with Me. Armentrout’s boys are all swoonworthy (ahem, Cam) but I think Reece may be my all-time favorite. When Reece finds out what’s in Roxy’s closet, I mean … priceless. The very best of New Adult right there. — Elissa Petruzzi
I am an Erin McCarthy superfan and so it is only right that my book boyfriend be one of her masterful creations. Final Lap introduced us to Cooper Brickman, a bad boy stock-car driver with no intention of being tied down. His dirty, dirty nickname let us know he has some serious finesse when it comes to a lady’s pleasure, so seriously, what’s not to love? Also, I am a sucker for a Southern boy (I may or may not have tasked my best friend with finding me a real-life NASCAR driver when I visited her in Charlotte, North Carolina, as a single lady). Of course, as many a novel has taught us, a bad boy can be tamed by the right woman. Cooper is desperate to do right by his 12-year-old sister, whom his mother has left (abandoned) in his care. And so he hires the fun-loving nanny Harley, never once suspecting that he actually slept with her at a wedding when she pretended to be her twin sister Charity (gasp!). Seeing Cooper try to transition from playboy driver to father figure is heartwarming. He cares so much for his sister and wants so badly to make a go of it with Harley that it would be impossible not to love him. — Kristin Wise
I’m a flighty woman who falls in love easily, so every book offers up a new book boyfriend as far as I’m concerned. But two have made me swoon very recently: Johnny Devine and George Rokesby, two of the most impossible-not-to-love men in literature. Let’s start with Johnny Devine, from The Memoir of Johnny Devine. He’s so handsome, so debonair, so absolutely swoon-worthy that you want to hate him — right? But he’s also a kind, caring, generous man who is so good to the people he loves that you can’t help but fall head-over-heels for him. And he is so unwilling to believe that he deserves love himself that it’s impossible not to want to give it to him. I dare you to try to resist him! And then there’s George Rokesby, from Julia Quinn’s forthcoming Because of Miss Bridgerton, my latest historical romance obsession. George is so staid and stoic, such a fuddy-duddy stick-in-the-mud … except when he’s not. When he realizes he’s in love, he gives himself over entirely, and he can’t be stopped from wanting to do everything to woo Billie, the honest-to-goodness love of his life. I’m just glad I was sitting down when I read it or I’d have hurt myself when I swooned for the hard-headed, completely lovable Regency hero! — Jennifer Peters
Antonio Giuseppe Fiorello: Sweet, respectful and Italian. My grandmother would wholeheartedly approve of my book boyfriend. It’s hard to resist his boyish charm while he courts Eilis in Colm Toibin’s bestseller, Brooklyn. Everything about their story is pure, genuine and completely lovable. Though there’s always competition between the book and movie, Tony and Eilis’ relationship is just as wonderful on screen as it is on paper. You’ll get excited, you’ll swoon … you’ll probably copy Eilis’ style with a ModCloth purchase. Wallets, beware. — Danielle Valente
Off the bat you would think Locke Lamora, the titular character of Scott Lynch’s The Lies Of Locke Lamora, would be the series’ go-to book boyfriend. But if by the third book you haven’t realized that Jean Tannen is made of boyfriend material … then I can’t help you. He’s the main character’s right hand man, has kept him alive on numerous occasions and would likely do the same for you. Plus he can cook, dresses well and recites classic literature. What could be better! — Emily Walton
Did we name your book boyfriend? Let us know! And be sure to check out all our Valentine’s Week coverage here!