Despite the huge amount of of young adult fiction books we read, all three of us do read across most genres and enjoy adult men, in life and in fiction. This week's topic for Three Heads Are Better Than One (or Two) is our favorite heroes and hunks. There are so many to choose from, but we've each narrowed it down to our favorite two. (Ahem, one or two of us might've cheated a little bit...)
But, since I’ve been going on and on about him for the past few weeks, I thought I’d highlight two of my other favorite adult heroes in this post (see what I did there? I snuck in a third guy! Mwa hahaha).
Favorite Quote: ”I’d like to say that I remembered the practice of exchanging hostages from school history classes or from stories of precolonial life in Sierra Leone, but the truth was that it came up while playing Dungeons and Dragons when I was thirteen.”
What I love the most about Captain Wentworth is that he's a mystery for about 95% of the book. In the beginning of Persuasion, a very young Anne Elliot takes the advice of her snooty relatives and refuses the proposal of Captain Wentworth, who is without fortune. Flash forward to eight years later and Anne is still unmarried and still living with her obnoxious, frivolous father and older sister. And now Captain Wentworth is back – having made his fortune in the Navy – and seems to be looking for a wife. Anne, who is thoughtful and quiet, suffers as he gives attention to Henrietta and Louisa Musgrove – two young eligible girls in the neighborhood.
Every time I read this book, I feel so much pain and heartbreak on Anne’s behalf. Wentworth is open and friendly with the Musgrove girls, but there’s always that sense that his true feelings are simmering underneath the surface. He doesn’t give anything away though; he stays hidden almost completely – as Anne goes from frustrated to heartbroken to resigned. And that’s what makes the ending so intense. When Wentworth finally reveals his true feelings, in one of the greatest love letters of all time and you realize that he must have suffered right along with her for those eight years – it’s powerful. I still get chills when I read the first few lines of his letter:
“I can listen no longer in silence. I must speak to you by such means as are within my reach. You pierce my soul. I am half agony, half hope. Tell me not that I am too late, that such precious feelings are gone forever. I offer myself to you again with a heart even more your own than when you almost broke it, eight years and a half ago. Dare not say that man forgets sooner than woman, that his love has an earlier death. I have loved none but you. Unjust I may have been, weak and resentful I have been, but never inconstant.”
The person who hooked me up with this favorite hunky is Kat of Cuddlebuggery. I will be forever grateful to her for introducing me to Fever books and Jericho Barrons.
Do not get me wrong, I understand perfectly well how problematic Barrons' character is. Misogyny and violence are not foreign concepts to me. But then, he must be the sexiest man I have ever come across in fiction (forget real life, such men do not exist in reality!) I love how ruthless, unapologetic, charismatic, mysterious, smart and loyal he is. Plus, he owns A BOOK STORE! What can be better than spending the day roaming around Barrons Books and Baubles, reading rare books by the fire. And then after the closing hours... (I obviously mean flying the Hunters and saving the world from evil fae ;o)
Now, to the most important part of this post. How does Jericho look? Quoting Karen Marie Moning (via Mac' thoughts):
He studies me with his predator's gaze, assessing me from head to toe. I studied him back. He didn't just occupy space; he saturated it. The room had been full of books before, now it was full of him. About thirty, six foot two or three, he had dark hair, golden skin, and dark eyes. His features were strong, chiseled. I couldn’t pinpoint his nationality any more than I could his accent; some kind of European crossed with Old World Mediterranean or maybe an ancestor with dark Gypsy blood. He wore an elegant , dark gray Italian suit, a crisp white shirt, and a muted patterned tie. He wasn't handsome. That was too calm a word. He was intensely masculine. He was sexual. He attracted. There was an omnipresent carnality about him, in his dark eyes, in his full mouth, in the way he stood. He was the kind of man I wouldn't flirt with in a million years.
According to Moning, this translates into this real man. Well, I disagree and thus will not be sullying this page with his image. This, on the other hand, I am feeling:
While I like Rhett for his sly wit, frankness, sex appeal and sharp mind, I would say my strongest affiliation to him is through his pain.
You know how we keep reading stories about bad boys being "reformed" by good women? Well, Gone with the Wind is kind of the opposite of that. What happens when a bad man (even with all his good qualities, it is clear that Rhett is not a gentleman and has his own demons to battle) falls for an equally bad woman? How about, they fight with each other for the upper hand, try to pull one over on each other, try to manipulate one another, mistrust and are blinded by misconceptions.
Reading Gone with the Wind has always been (since I was probably 13) and still is a very emotional experience for me, because witnessing a disintegration of someone's marriage, even of people who are not, strictly speaking, deserving of happiness, is heartbreaking. And Rhett... it pains me just to remember him, this one time a fine, self-assured, proud man, be crashed and ruined by his relationship with Scarlett and his own mistakes.
There is something very tragic, in my eyes, about stories of missed opportunities and lost chances. Chances at love, happiness, fulfilling lives. Gone with the Wind is one of those stories. Even though I realize how controversial in many ways this novel is considered to be these days, it is still one of the most influential books in my life. And, by extension, Rhett is one the most influential fictional characters.