My comment on the Women24 Book Club article:
Hmm, I have so many book crushes, I hardly know where to begin!
OK, let's start with Roarke, of JD Robb's (Nora Roberts) Eve Dallas series. It's not just that he's incredibly sexy, fantastically wealthy and a cyberfiend to boot, but he adores his completely non-trendy, tough-as-nails, unromantic wife not just for her exterior, but for all the scared-little-girl parts she keeps safely hidden. He wouldn't dream of forcing her to be something she's not, but accepts her with all her (extremely visible) flaws). And their banter often has me laughing out loud. What's not to like?
In the same vein, all four of the Quinn brothers from Nora Roberts' Chesapeake Bay quadrilogy. For some reason, people seem to think I should be embarrassed to be caught reading her books - but the woman can write a character like nobody's business! And these men are spot-on; real men, no wussies, no macho posers, no plain old idiots. Their interaction is what gets me every time - with each other, and the women in their lives.
I'm also a sucker for a redhaired man, although in my case, it's Gred and Forge Weasley. They are hilarious, but incredibly loyal, and that's what gets me, every time. Must confess, I even prefer them to Harry - both book and movie versions!
I adored the silent hero, Dan, in Jo's Boys - the sequel to Little Men. His strength, his valour, his rough ways and the trials he went through, and especially the way he tried to tame himself for beautiful Bess, Amy's daughter, even as he tried to keep his love from her and simply appreciate her innocence from afar ... then went off and died on the frontier ... I've been reading this book for 30 years and Dan's character still drives me to tears at the end.
I am besotted with JT Edson's characters Waco, Loncey Dalton Ysabel (the Ysabel Kid), Mark Counter, Dusty Fog and Doc Leroy. To me, they embody everything that the West should be about. They're real cowhands, tough and strong, always ready for a fight, some boozing and what we call playas - certainly no milk-white innocents - but somehow, remaining true gentlemen.
Aragorn, the High King, who started out as the Ranger, Strider, and led the Fellowship of the Ring through many hardships. Aragorn was one of my first true book loves; strong, quiet, calm, a man with a hidden past, loved by an Elven lady, someone who stayed true to her even though another warrior woman fell in love with him; a bad boy by virtue only of his presumed class and status, but actual royalty ... what an amazing character.
Finally, I love, LOVE the Sacketts, particularly Tell. A rough man of the West, he has a strong moral character and always fights on the side of the law, but also stands up for himself and for the underdog. To the Sacketts, blood is thicker than water - 'cut one, they all bleed'. Louis L'Amour is another author who writes characters that come alive off the page, and to me, the Sacketts were the embodiment of what real men should be.