The ladies at The Broke and the Bookish who generally host Top Ten Tuesday are on a summer hiatus. So, I came up with my own topic this week. And since, it’s my choice, I decided not to stick to just ten. Today, you’re in luck because I’m sharing my very favorite book heroes with you.
I have also tried to include the author’s inspiration for each of these heroes. Where that information is not available, I’ve added the images brought to my mind when reading about these heroes.
- Colonel Aric von Schmidt of For Such a Time
A German officer in charge of a concentration camp, Aric rescues and falls in love with Stella who is hiding her identity as a Jew. Despite being a Nazi officer, Aric has a tender heart and really wrestles with his conscience over the orders he receives. With Stella’s encouragement he tries to improve the situation at the camp. Aric has a poetic soul and ends up being an unlikely hero.
2. Colonel Cassius McLinn of The Colonel’s Lady
Cass is one of my very favorite book heroes ever and holds a special place in my heart. He is well suited to command, but hides a more caring and protective nature. Cass struggles with the guilt of having accidentally killed his close friend and the father of the woman he loves. Although he could hide the truth from Roxanne, he chooses to reveal his involvement in her father’s death knowing it will drive them apart. Even then, he makes sacrificial decisions on her behalf.
3. Henry Delafield of Blackmoore
Ah Henry… Henry has been in love with his childhood friend Kate his whole life. But when Kate overhears Henry’s mother’s plans to separate them, she pushes him away. Henry is a romantic at heart, utterly devoted, loyal and willing to risk everything for the chance to win the love of his life. His patience and understanding of Kate’s character and their circumstances is commendable.
4. Angelo Bianco of From Sand and Ash
Angelo is one of the most self-disciplined and self-sacrificing characters I’ve ever read. He’s long been in love with family friend Eva Rosselli despite the fact that she’s a Jew and he’s Catholic. But his calling to the Church is stronger and for this reason he breaks ties with Eva to become a priest. When WWII comes to Italy he willingly risks his life to rescue Eva’s family and other Jews all while fighting his magnetic attraction to her. He’s also one of the few book heroes I’ve encountered who is missing a limb. But, Angelo never thinks of this as an obstacle in his life.
5. Bo Porter of Undeniably Yours
An ex-marine and a horse trainer with a heart of gold, Bo falls in love at first sight with reluctant heiress Meg. He’s the strong silent type, fiercely protective, with a gentle hand for both Meg and his horses.
6. Lucas Wright of The Convenient Groom
Lucas is in love with a woman who is his total opposite. But he is patient, understanding and compassionate about Kate’s high maintenance emotional needs. He even goes to extremes, volunteering to marry her so she isn’t humiliated in public after her fiancé dumps her. He’s a boy next door kind of Prince Charming.
7. Sebastian Carew of Divine
I’m a sucker for the well-mannered, reserved Regency hero and Sebastian is one of my favorites. He’s been in love with his childhood friend Georgiana forever, only she’s oblivious to this fact. But now Sebastian must marry quickly for an inheritance. He’s determined to wed and finally tell Georgiana of his feelings. Listen, imagine the best characteristics of your favorite literary Regency heros and that is Sebastian. He is well-dressed and wealthy, but down to earth, patient and devoted. It doesn’t hurt that he practically melts upon any sight of Georgiana.
8. Jesse Bird of The Pursuit of Tamsen Littlejohn
A Revolutionary war era hero, Jesse rescues a woman he’s never even met before and then takes her on a perilous flight of escape through the Carolina mountains. A rugged outdoorsman, Jesse can read the signs of the wilderness like a book. Though he likes his privacy, he makes up his mind quickly to be Tamsen’s protector making sure this gently bred woman is fed, clothed and sheltered even if he must do without.
9. Matt Holloway of Mercy’s Fight
Matt still has nightmares and fights hard to break free of the violence of his past. When the pampered yet sincere Grace moves into his low income neighborhood to serve the youth of the community, he resists his attraction to her while secretly protecting her from some undesirable elements. One of the things I love about Matt is how we wrestles with his self-worth. Thanks to his past, he fears his own strength and strong emotions scare him. But he is a protector by nature, looking out for the kids who are easy pickings for the neighborhood gangs. Even though he wouldn’t believe it, Matt really is a closet hero.
10. Charlie Lionheart of The Lady and the Lionheart
Charlie is utterly swoonworthy. A lion tamer with a difficult past, he is not at all what you would expect of a circus performer. He goes to extremes to protect the child left in his care and is patient and kind with nurse Ella who is suffering from her own traumatic past. Charlie is the ultimate example of a self-sacrificing hero and is unafraid to be who he is. His best attribute is his humility and gentleness.
11. Rolfe von Horne of Duchess
Rolfe’s introduction in an earlier book in the series is so brief if you blink you will miss it. But in Duchess, it is revealed that he is the man that Roxy Price’s parents wished her to meet and marry. Even though he made no impression on Roxy, he never forgets her. Years, relationships and betrayals pass. Still Rolfe patiently waits for the real Roxy to emerge from behind the glamorous façade. Almost everything he does is with her welfare and benefit in mind. Not to mention he is a Belgian duke. He sinks most of his money into a film for her to star in. Then when WWII begins he takes great risks to keep her and many Jews safe. If that doesn’t scream heroic, I don’t know what does.
12. Mack Danvers of Maid to Match
When Mack Danvers goes to work for the Vanderbilts at their Ashville mansion, he falls for fellow employee Tillie. But his and Tillie’s life goals are not compatible. As the eldest brother and caretaker of his younger siblings, Mack has a heart for orphans. He is working to save enough to support his family.Tillie’s big dream is to become Mrs. Vanderbilt’s personal maid, but this would mean she can’t marry. Mack is a big man with a great sense of humor. In spite of his brute strength he is incredibly gentle. He is also crushed when Tillie rejects his proposal. But he doesn’t let this stop him from helping those he can.
13. Griffith Tolliver of Choices of the Heart
Griffith Tolliver comes from a family involved in a long-running feud much like the Hatfields and McCoys. When midwife Esther arrives in their mountain community to teach the children he finds himself drawn to the woman his cousin has already claimed. Griff is another protector who is also a peacekeeper. He defies Esther’s expectations of a hillbilly as he is educated, playful and gentle. He’s willing to sacrifice his own needs for the sake of others.
14. Rowan of Emrys of Maire
Rowan is a good match for the ancient Irish warrior queen Maire. Though he is a warrior himself, he allows her to take him prisoner in order to avoid slaying her in a fight. Rowan has a strong faith and integrity and shows great patience. When he and Maire are forced to marry, he never forces her. He also never uses his own strength or position as her husband to undermine her own position or identity. He is one of those rare men who can not only handle but love a strong woman.
15. Levi Grant of To Win Her Heart
Look, even though Levi is an ex-con, you know I can’t resist a man who likes to read and who can fall in love with Eden, the town librarian. Levi’s past, size and his occupation as a blacksmith might make him an intimidating man, but in reality he fears his own strength and thus withholds it. His true strength is in his gentle heart, enthusiasm for learning, thoughtful gift giving and his charming insecurity.
16. The Commander of The Commander’s Desire
The Commander is tasked by the king to marry the sister of his enemy, the Princess Elwytha. Raised in shame, and trained in war, the Commander desires nothing more than peace. He tries to show mercy to his captive fiancée and makes overtures to gain her trust despite his suspicions about her. Scarred and rejected by most, he still takes the risk to love a woman whose brother seeks his death. His courage in the face of Elwytha’s hatred and fear really is inspiring.
17. Isaac Dalry of Price of Privilege
What can I say about Isaac? He is stuck between a rock and a hard place as the unofficial son of a man he reveres and the man’s recently reclaimed daughter Julia. Since Julia lived a very remotely sheltered life, Isaac is tasked with walking her through her entry into high society. He also must serve as her protector as she is being used as a pawn in a cutthroat game between her father and his nemesis. Julia’s father wishes them to marry, but she is already in love with someone else. Still Isaac acts as her only friend and a person she can trust. At the end of it all and in spite of her rejection, he makes a stunning sacrifice for her. Even months after reading this story I still find myself in tears when I think about the fictional character of Isaac. The memory of his actions are that powerful.
18. Atticus Blackwood of With This Curse
Another hero who has been loyal to his first love Clara even though she never noticed him. Now after decades apart, he tracks her down to rescue her from her meager existence by offering her a marriage of convenience. Although Clara has been in love with his brother for most of her life, Atticus refuses to speak poorly of him (even though he deserves it). He showers Clara with the emotional and material things she has lacked in her life without expecting anything in return. He cares for his ailing and cruel father as well as a young orphan lady. In short, he is generous, thoughtful, and oh yes, wears a cravat.
19. Captain Stephen Overtree of The Painter’s Daughter
When sweet Sophie is left pregnant by his brother, Stephen rides in with an offer of marriage to salvage her reputation. Since he expects to die in battle, he wants to leave her the protection of his name, family and money. He is another hero who gives without expecting anything in return, while being patient as Sophie works through her feelings about his brother. Though he is reserved he makes his care known through small thoughtful gestures.
20. Zack Kazmarek of Into the Whirlwind
As a businessman Zack is considered hard and decisive, but his weakness is a quiet, methodically minded clockmaker named Mollie. For three years he bides his time wit her, though she is oblivious to his interest. When the great fire of Chicago breaks out he takes great risks to help Mollie rescue her family and her business. Though she continually misunderstands and rejects him, he keep offering his heart and easing her way to rebuild her father’s business.
Who are some of your favorite book heroes?