Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Creating a Swoon Worthy Hero

Guest post by Michelle Griep

Mr. Darcy. What’s your response to that name? If you’re a woman, you’re probably fanning your hot little cheeks right about now. And if you’re of the male persuasion, there’s likely a magnificent scowl you’re trying to hide because it makes you angry you’re jealous of a fictional character. Why the reaction?

Because Regency era heroes evoke a response. What’s up with that? A few reasons . . .

The clothes.
Let’s be honest. Who wouldn’t rather feast their eyes on a fella in a well-tailored dress coat and breaches instead of a wannabe punk strutting around with their pants sagging down to their knees? If it’s true that clothing makes the man, then indeed, Regency males trump today’s styles.

The chivalry.
Okay, so maybe I’m waxing a bit romantic with this one, but there’s no denying the social norms and customs were way stricter a few hundred years ago. Even though feminists may cringe at a door being opened for them, most women I know (men too) like to be treated specially. 

The all-out manly testosterone.
Men did what men wanted to do in the way they wanted to do it. Granted, they had to stay within the realm of propriety, but take-charge kind of men earn both male and female respect. 

Of course, it’s not a given that all Regency heroes must be gentlemen. In my recent release, I penned a rough and tumble law keeper who still managed to make the heroine swoon. I came up with the idea when I stumbled across on old London newspaper advertisement from the late 1700’s. The ad encouraged the public to send a note to Bow Street as soon as any serious crime occurred so “a set of brave fellows could immediately be dispatched in pursuit of the villains.”

I wondered about those “brave fellows” and what kind of villains they might come up against, and thus was born Nicholas Brentwood—a hero who’s a little rough around the edges, colorful as a Dickens character, and observant enough to be a forerunner of Sherlock. Shameless plug: check out BRENTWOOD’S WARD for more of Nicholas Brentwood.

The thing about heroes, though, is that most are too good to be true. The best are unpredictable, someone who’s not necessarily safe to be around but always has his loved one’s interests at heart—a man who will put his head on the chopping block to save them if need be. But that’s just one aspect of a great hero. Here are a few others . . .

Top 5 Ways to Create a Swoon Worthy Hero

Flaws
Perfect characters make readers want to punch them in the head. Nobody is flawless, so make sure your super stud isn’t either. This can be something as small as an inability to balance a checkbook, or maybe it’s a fear. Indiana Jones was afraid of snakes but that didn’t make him any less heroic.

Secrets
Yo, buddy. Step a little closer. I’ve got a juicy secret to tell you. Are you leaning toward the screen? That’s because you want to know what I’ve got hidden. Secrets are like big, plump nightcrawlers wriggling on a hook, irresistible to literary fish. Heroes with a secret reel in a reader.

Motivation
Everybody wants something. A brand-spanking-new Tesla. A mutton lettuce tomato sandwich. The stupid hangnail on your thumb to go away. Your hero wants something as well, or at least he should. Make that clear to your reader.

Strength
I’m not talking six-pack abs here, though I’m certainly not opposed to them. Think about what sweet skills your hero possesses, then play them up. Is he a crazy freak with nunchucks? Can he hit a raccoon in the eyeball with a slingshot from fifty yards away? Or maybe he’s got x-ray vision and can see into people’s souls. Whatever. Give your hero something to work with and showcase that strength.

Passion
Don’t panic. I’m not taking this to the Fifty Shades of Gray bad place. I just want to point out that in real life, no one admires a wuss. A compelling character needs a cause about which he’s passionate, usually one that involves justice. Not that he’s got to be a protest-sign waving hippie. Just give him an issue he cares deeply about.

There you have it. Incorporate these traits into the crafting of your next hero and you’ll have readers begging for more.

And see if you can match wits with my recent hero as he tracks down a dangerous criminal in BRENTWOOD’S WARD.


There’s none better than NICHOLAS BRENTWOOD at catching the felons who ravage London’s streets, and there’s nothing he loves more than seeing justice carried out—but this time he’s met his match. Beautiful and beguiling EMILY PAYNE is more treacherous than a city full of miscreants and thugs, for she’s a thief of the highest order . . . she’s stolen his heart.

Available in paperback, ebook, and audiobook formats at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and other fine booksellers.

About the Author

Michelle Griep’s been writing since she first discovered blank wall space and Crayolas. She seeks to glorify God in all that she writes—except for that graffiti phase she went through as a teenager. Follow her adventures at her blog WRITER OFF THE LEASH or visit michellegriep.com, and don’t forget the usual haunts of Pinterest, Facebook or Twitter.











A QUESTION FOR YOU:

Who is one of your all-time favorite literary heroes?

Comment today for a chance to win an ecopy of Brentwood's Ward! Winner announced in the Weekend Edition!

112 comments :

  1. Hi Michelle:

    I just love Regency romances and have from the start with Jane Austen.

    As for your 'Top 5 Ways to Create a Swoon Worthy Hero', I would add 'Ten Thousand a year' which had every heroine still with a season swooning almost as much as their mothers.

    I believe the great appeal of Regency romances to young women readers is the fact that in no other literature do young women have so much power and are of so much importance to their families. An 18 year old girl, because of her beauty and virtue, can save her entire extended family by making the right match and she can keep her virtue in the process. Elizabeth not only found her true love, she saved her entire family from disgrace.

    I am also I big fan of everything Sherlock Holmes. Please put me in the drawing for your book.

    Vince

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  2. Yeah, um this is going to sound really dumb but i can I say my favorite literary hero from the time I was about eight years old has always been Almanzo Wilder? I get that he was a real guy but didn't Laura make him sound wonderful? Handsome? Kind of cowboyish? Manly? Ok that was a bad pun, completely unintentional and yet I will not delete it either. Michelle - this was a great post. I'm not a real fan of regency but Mr. Darcy will always have my heart. Now, with your wonderful tips I'm going to go create a great hero - somewhere between Darcy and Almanzo.

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  3. A Manly Pun, ha ha. Cindy. :)

    Wonderful post. The Hero ALWAYS is my favorite....or at least he's what determines if a book becomes my favorite. I have a lot. Mr. Darcy, Knightley and Wentworth are my fave Austen ones. There are tons from when I was a kid reading CBA Romance, The first one was Marshall Riggs and therefore, I named my first son after that one. (I told my husband after I named him that he was a romance novel hero. I didn't tell him why when we got married, but it was a stipulation that when we got married the first boy was Marshall. :) Fletcher Strieker. Neil MacNeil, Mr. Thornton. Some more current ones, Levi Grant (because he is the closest character in the CBA that is my hubby), Trevor McDonough, Carl von Reichart.

    I Keep a Pinterest Board for my Favorite Sigh Worthy Heroes!

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  4. Welcome, Michelle!!

    Delighted to have you here. And if our Villagers check out your blog you actually have done a lot of real time research into the Regency Hero by hanging out in Merry Ole' England.

    What was the biggest surprise about England for you?


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  5. I have given this a good deal of thought and I think the modern Regency hero is the baseball player. tight pants and high socks and a certain strength and passion.

    Ruthy of course will agree (Derek Jeter).

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  6. Apologies to those who like the new version of P & P. I am a Colin fan through and through.

    My favorite literary hero is Frederick Wentworth of Persuasion. Sigh worthy no matter which version you read or watch.

    I wounded hero. A military veteran. And gosh Rupert wears the clothes so well..oops, I digress.

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  7. My favorite literary hero is Edmund Dantes from Alexandre Dumas' The Count of Monte Cristo. He is cunning, sweet, and thinks of others. On a side note, the first question you asked to start this discussion is: Mr. Darcy. What is your response to that name? Mine is different than most woman. I cringe. I can't stand any of Austen ' s heroes. I think their all weak, spineless jellyfish. (Don't get mad at me! I don't like Austen at all.) My here's need to fight for the women they love, prove they have the heart of a warrior while loving her like Christ lives the church.

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  8. What a great post. I've already taken notes.

    I read the Jason Bourne books decades ago when I was in high school. I love the Jason Bourne movies. He's my favorite fictional hero. My husband is my real life hero. He's always supportive of my endeavors and...I won't bore you with how great I think he is, but my story heroes always have a little of Tim in them.

    Michelle, I'm so impressed at your dedication to research to find a little ad in a paper and create your hero from that. Thanks for sharing!

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  9. Welcome Michelle! Your latest book sounds intriguing! I've always enjoyed a good Regency -- there's just something about that era that's so fascinating. When I was in England, I certainly made certain I visited the famous sites in Bath!

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  10. Mr. Darcy ( Colin Firth ) and Knightly and Mr. Wentworth are my absolute favorites. I can't remember his name, but I liked the hero in Rebeca.

    As a child I loved Roy Rodgers.:-))

    Hugh Grant in P&P is no slouch.:-)

    Thanks for a fun article, Michelle!

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  11. Great post Michelle!
    I would have to say that Edmund Dantes (Count of Monte Cristo) is one of my favorites - after he escapes prison. At that point he is strong and driven.

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  12. Glynna! You visited England? #jealous

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  13. Favorite Hero of All Time......

    Wow, I've been sitting here thinking for too long.

    Atticus Finch is who comes to mind.

    So many heroes are wounded and dark, along with passionate and their hearts become whole because they've found true love.

    But beneath that surface I think a lot of them would be a pain to live with. :)

    I really liked Orlando Bloom in the Lord of the Rings series.

    My daughter a HUGE LOR fan called him, "The disturbingly hot elf."

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  14. There's got to be more. But right now I guess I'm a little sleepy.
    I used to be madly in love with Pierce Brosnan in his Remington Steele days.

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  15. Hi Michelle! So glad to see you're still writing and have published with Shiloh Run Press, a recent imprint from Barbour.

    My hero? Gotta admit it's Harrison Ford as Indiana Jones. Swoon. I think he checks all the boxes.

    Would love a copy of your book!

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  16. Mr. Darcy and Rhett Butler are fantastic heroes and they're both were played by wonderful and very handsome actors. (I'm talking about Colin Firth!)

    Vince, I agree with your comments about Elizabeth Bennet. Unfortunately a woman's power in Regency times came through making the right match. Jane Austen's books really reflect the times she lived in. What an astute observer!

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  17. And I am a mad Regency fan.

    I just love them and, I think the reason for that is.....in Regency Men Talk.

    Does that make sense?

    Men don't talk much in Westerns. Lots of 'yep' and grunting.

    But I've read 1000's of Regency Romance Novels in my life.

    My favorite is MISCHIEF by Amanda Quick. This is the most perfect blend and clash of characters ever.

    He's about the most dangerous man who ever lived.

    She's asked him for help catching a murderer based on his reputation. Then he is trying so hard to stop her mad scheme she decided his reputation is gossip and he is in fact a very gentle soul and, so she's promised to protect him from the trouble she's gotten him into.

    The only reason he agreed to help is because he thinks she's going to get herself killed so he tries to stop her, which is why she thinks he's the nervous sort.

    By the end she finally figures out he's tough and he starts to wonder if he IS the nervous sort.

    It is just hilarious. Secular, so be warned.

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  18. Tina -- LONG time ago! 2 weeks in England, Scotland & Wales. I felt as if I'd come home to a place I'd never been before. Hated to leave & would love to go back again!

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  19. Hi Michelle! What a wonderful post!

    I think you nailed every aspect considered for hero-worship under the sun, LOL. I love the well-dressed man and the moral compass that always pointed firmly in the right direction - unless of course, the hero had a conflicted decision to make, but then they always make the right choice. Oh my! You just have to love Regency, and all historical, men!!

    I fell in love with Christopher Seton from A Rose In Winter (one of Kathleen E Woodiwiss' less regaled novels) from the moment he walked onto the page. Strong, handsome and of course, wore the image of a rogue to perfection. Oh be still my heart.

    I love this topic, who wouldn't? Thanks for sharing, Michelle!
    And I'm off to Amazon to pick up my own copy of Brentwood's Ward...

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  20. Vince, I agree with your insight. Women could save an entire extended family by simply being young and beautiful. But what a way to live -- a bartering chip of the highest water? What a sacrifice.

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  21. I'm with Barbara, Harrison Ford as Indiana Jones just makes my heart flip. Takes the thought of rugged to whole new heights!!

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  22. Welcome, Michelle! This post is definitely worth bookmarking!

    And seriously--those kids in the mall wearing jeans about 6 sizes too big? Anyone else ever fight the urge to sneak up behind them, give a little tug, and see what happens?

    WHAT IS HOLDING THOSE JEANS UP??????

    Swoon-worthy hero? The very, very first one I can remember from my angsty teen years was Troy Donahue. Yikes! I'll also have to side with TINA on Colin Firth's Mr. Darcy.

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  23. VINCE ~ Thanks for the recommendation! I'll have to check out Ten Thousand a Year. Sounds intriguing.
    CINDY ~ Not dumb at all . . . I had a huge crush on Almanzo.
    MELISSA ~ I wasn't fully awake this morning until I popped over to your Pinterest board, then really perked up when I saw you're a Striker's Bride fan. LOVE that book! LOVE that hero!
    TINA ~ I will never look at a baseball player in the same way ever again. And I'll answer your question in another comment.
    KELLY ~ How do you really feel about Austen's heroes (snicker, snicker).
    JACKIE ~ Aww! I love that your husband is your hero. Sweet!
    GLYNNA ~ I love Bath as well, and was fortunate enough to visit it during the Austen festival, so everyone was walking around in period clothing, really giving it a historical feel.
    MARY ~ You nailed it. Hugh grant is NOT a slouch.
    LORAINE ~ Edmund Dantes deserves an entire comment to himself...which I'll do after this.
    AUDRA ~ And I'm off to Amazon right now to snatch up A Rose in Winter. Sounds fantastic!
    MARY C. ~ "Disturbingly hot elf" LOVE IT!
    BARBARA ~ You, my friend, were such an encouragement for me to write this book. Thank you!
    CARA ~ Austen was a great observer, but perhaps a little over critical, which is maybe part of the reason why she never married.
    MARY C. ~ Thanks for the recommendation. I'm always looking for a new read.

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  24. MYRA ~ Yeah. The whole jeans thing. The way they walk kind of looks like a toddler who needs a diaper change.

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    1. Michelle and Myra,
      Oh my, that about sums up the unfortunate state of some teenage boys' style these days! I wonder if that style might disappear if we mentioned that oh-so-becoming resemblance to them...?

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  25. Surprisingly, my favorite literary hero is not an Austen character. I'm much more of a Bronte fan, which means Mr. Rochester from Jane Eyre is my all-time hot-dang-is-it-warm-in-here kind of hero. He knows what he wants and he goes after it. Granted, his morals are skewed, but by the end of the story, he's a different man.

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  26. And since some of y'all are naming movie heroes, have any of you seen the Count of Monte Cristo with Jim Caviezel. Whoa baby. That is one seriously drool-worthy stud, and not just physically (though he is a pretty man to look at). Plus, this is one of the very few movies that I liked better than the book (no offense Count fans, but that story dragged on and on).

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  27. How wonderful to have been in Bath during an Austen festival, Michelle! I first read Jane Austen in junior high and was hooked on Regencies right from the beginning.

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  28. Michelle I always loved historical hropding heroes but now I'm lovin on modern cops & military... and farmers and construction guys!

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  29. Michelle, welcome to Seekerville! Loved your post. Will check the hero in my WIP against this list of tips!

    Your book sounds fantastic! Love the cover!

    Regencies are such fun. Witty. Strong formidable heroes with feisty heroines who can tame them.

    I love Jane Eyre's Mr. Rochester, but as many times as I've read the book in the past, I wanted to skip the time when the hero and heroine were apart. My editors at LIH would've "fixed" that complaint. LOL

    Janet

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  30. I don't have the wanderlust but my dh does. One day he says we'll get to England. His first ancestor to America came from there. With a foot adz we have in our garage. This first Dean was a ship builder and this tool hollows out logs. We first saw it in use in Williamsburg.

    Janet

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  31. Welcome, Michelle! You made me want to go back and improve on the hero I'm working on! :) Your story sounds great!

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  32. Oh, Cindy R, I LOVED Almonzo Wilder! And of course, Mr. Darcy. :)

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  33. Hi Audra:

    You wrote:

    " Vince, I agree with your insight. Women could save an entire extended family by simply being young and beautiful. But what a way to live -- a bartering chip of the highest water? What a sacrifice."


    I think Regency is much richer than this. Yes, in China and India, where they had arranged marriages, love had nothing to do with marriage. End of story.

    However, in Regency love still had a lot to do with marriage. Love drove Darcy to Elizabeth and Elizabeth's wit and intelligence had a lot to do with that attraction. It was no sacrifice for Elizabeth to marry Darcy. And remember women brought real value to the marriage. Producing an heir was the linchpin of Regency society. This was built into the very inheritance system and was a key plot element in P&P.

    The whole idea of coming out and having a season and balls was to give love a chance to bloom. It's as if Regency society itself was romance centered. If you love romance, how could you not love Regency romances?

    It's true that life was very hard for women who were left on the shelf to live with successful relatives but then that's the conflict that often drives the Regency plot.

    I think the saddest thing is that Jane Austen is said to have had only one marriage proposal and she turned it down. Yet her brother, Sir Francis Austen, achieved the highest rank in the Royal Navy.

    I think Jane Austen is my favorite heroine.

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  34. RUTH ~ I'm with you on the military guys. What is it about a uniform?
    JANET ~ My husband wasn't keen on going to England the first time . . . but he'd move there now if he could!
    MISSY ~ Thanks!
    VINCE ~ What a lovely heroine you've chosen.

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  35. MICHELLE!!! Girl, you had me at "swoon worthy"!!!

    Great post, and I take it very seriously because I have heard nothing but great things about your heroes and your writing, so I put Brentwood's Ward on my TBR a while back and look forward to reading it.

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  36. Things I learned on my England visit:
    I learned that Southwark is pronounced "suth-ock." Huh. Go figure.
    Smoking is a lot more trendy there. I haven't seen an ashtray in years, but they're on most tables outside of pubs and restaurants in London.
    The tube is really hot and frequently crowded. And just a bit smelly. C'mon people, ever hear of soap?
    Looking at a Hogarth in a book is nothing like seeing the real deal up close and personal.
    My cartoon bubble of the Chunnel was just a big ol' tunnel you drive through. Not so. Apparently you drive onto a train, and the train takes all the cars through the tunnel.
    Did Britain hit a great sale on speed bumps or what?

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  37. Jule Lessman is going to read little ol' moi? SWEET!

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  38. Welcome to Seekerville, Michelle! Brentwood's Ward sounds like it's right down my alley. Just added it to my TBR pile! :)

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  39. Thanks Pam! Enjoy your visit to the past, but beware. It's not all dinner parties and balls when there's a law man involved.

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  40. MYRA ~ Yeah. The whole jeans thing. The way they walk kind of looks like a toddler who needs a diaper change.

    SPEW ALERT!

    ROFLOL

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  41. Well, Michelle, Stealing Jake is about a former pick pocket (heroine is named Livy in a nod to Oliver Twist) and a sheriff's deputy, so we could be two peas in a pod across the pond. lol

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  42. Hi Michelle & Tina:

    As much as I love Colin Firth's acting ability, when I see Firth's Darcy, I see Colin Firth. But when I see Matthew Macfadyen's Darcy, I see Darcy.

    I love Keira Knightley. She was the same age in the movie as Elizabeth Bennet was in the novel. Keira had the youthful enthusiasm and true beauty that would drive a Darcy to obsess over her -- even given his views on her horrid family.

    The director had the five sisters live in the Bennet house for a week interacting and doing sisterly things so that their chemistry would be so natural on screen.

    Keira Knightley is my favorite Elizabeth Bennet and if I were Darcy, I would have fallen for her in a moment.

    Vince

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  43. WHOOPS ... forgot to mention my all-time favorite literary heroes!

    Well, I'm not really that "literary," I guess, because mine are not from the older classics, but the new ones. My top two favorite heroes in literature are #2 Rhett Butler from Gone With the Wind, who unfortunately was ousted from #1 by what I think is the BEST hero I have ever read, bar none, and whom I don't mention much online since it's not Christian reading.

    #1 for me is Jamie Fraser from Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series (I'm talking the books, not the overly graphic Star TV series!). This is the only hero/book that made me hit the wall on my own writing. So much so that I had to stop reading her altogether so I could get my own books written.

    Jamie is in a class all his own because the depth of his love for the heroine is matched only by the depth of his character as a man, with more stamina, strength, passion, integrity, and humility than any hero I have ever read. When an author can make me feel this way about a hero with red hair (which I don't like on a man) who is also younger than the heroine (I like my heroes older and wiser) and who wears a skirt (kilts), well, then that's one heck of an author! :)

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  44. VINCE SAID: "As for your 'Top 5 Ways to Create a Swoon Worthy Hero', I would add 'Ten Thousand a year' which had every heroine still with a season swooning almost as much as their mothers."

    LOL ... sooooo true!! :)


    KELLY SAID: "I love the Jason Bourne movies. He's my favorite fictional hero." KELLY, I do too, which is sooo odd for a Hallmark movie freak like myself, but they are pure adrenalin!! And that is VERY cool that your hubs is your hero, my friend.

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  45. KELLY SAID: "On a side note, the first question you asked to start this discussion is: Mr. Darcy. What is your response to that name? Mine is different than most woman. I cringe. I can't stand any of Austen ' s heroes. I think their all weak, spineless jellyfish. (Don't get mad at me! I don't like Austen at all.)"

    Okay, at the risk of starting another firestorm, I am going to side with Kelly on this one. I have never been able to get into Jane Austen OR her heroes and frankly, although I LOVED the P&P movie with Keira Knightly, I was flat-out ticked off that I waited for a kiss through the whole movie, only to have it happen in the last three seconds of the film, and then cut off. REALLLLY?????

    But ... that is the beauty of books ... they are not one size fits all, which makes the world of literature a very, very exciting place for all!

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  46. Michelle, what a great post! I especially loved the reminder that our heroes need to have a passion. You've given me some good food for thought as I mull on my next book. :)

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  47. What is it with men and scrawny women??? Kiera Knightly as no passion. She is three dimensional and her expression never changes. Good grief, man!

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  48. PAM ~ Stealing Jake sounds fantastic! I'll have to check that out. Hey, I'm kind of liking it here at Seekerville. You people have lots to recommend!

    VINCE ~ Totally agree...and I loved Kiera in Pirates of the Caribbean as well.

    JULIE ~ Dare I admit I've never read Gone With the Wind. I know, right?
    Plus, while I love Pride & Prejudice and Northanger Abbey, the rest of Austen is a little too fru-fru for me. I crave a bit more action. Okay. A LOT more action.

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  49. So people, how about the flip side? What villains do you love to hate? Personally, I admit to a pure abhorrence of Barrow on Downton Abbey.

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  50. Has no passion. iPhone error. Although I don't think her as has much passion either.

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  51. (BTW Cindy R , I had a secret crush on Almanzo Wilder too)

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  52. Hi Tina:

    Keira!
    No passion!
    Only one expression?
    Did you see the same movie I did?

    Check this clip out:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DNZ5NXKtdxs

    How much more passion do you want? It's a Regency remember? Besides, this 'almost kiss' is more passionate than many actual kisses.

    But I must admit, if I were one of Julie's heroes, I'd have grabbed Elizabeth and kissed her senseless in the rain. But that would be a different movie.

    "Scrawny women!"
    It's the total package!
    Keira's got it.

    I think you made a Freudian slip when you called her 'three dimensional'. She's just got it! Get it?

    Question: I think the Austen heroines in movies are too plain (except Keira). Do women prefer a plain heroine? After all, one look at Keira and one might say, "Of course she got Darcy, look at her. She could probably have any guy in the ton."

    Jane Austen is not one to be trifled with. : )

    Vince

    P.S. Please watch the Director's comments on the P&P DVD. You'll see how much sheer genius went into the making of that film.

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  53. Hi Michelle!

    Thanks for the great post! And yes, I agree. Clothes can make or break a man.

    I'm currently reading (actually, listening to while walking the dogs) Outlander by Diane Gabaldon, and the hero, Jamie, fits the perfect hero description to a T.

    There's just something about a man in a kilt. :)

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  54. VINCE ~ I'm totally digging out my P&P and watching the director's comments this weekend.

    JAN ~ There IS something about a kilt. Whew. Is it warm in here?

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  55. Michelle, thanks for this great post. I love thinking about my favorite book heroes, and you've hit the nail on the head about attributes of a good hero.

    I love Gilbert Blythe. He's one of my all time favorite book heroes. I'm also a fan of many already listed in the comments: Atticus Finch, Almanzo Wilder.


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  56. Ahh, yes. Good old Gilbert. And I super loved Anne. Spunky is always a plus for a heroine.

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  57. Michelle,
    Love your tips for creating a hero worthy of his title. Great stuff! Also love your cover and blurb. The story sounds delightful!

    Thanks for being with us today!

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  58. My pleasure and my honor, Debby!

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  59. Mary Hicks, I'm smiling at your mention of Roy Rogers. His museum was in Victorville, CA, about an hour from where my family and I lived in the Mojave Desert. Victorville was civilization and it had a mall...thus, we ventured there frequently. But I never stopped to visit the museum, and then it burned down. I did meet Dale Evans. She came to Fort Irwin, where we lived, for a Christian Women's event. Delightful lady. I was charmed by her.

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  60. Mary H, I was a Little Joe Cartwright fan. But Roy's dimples were adorable.

    Janet

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  61. Oh yeah! Little Joe Cartwright was a favorite of mine, too, JANET!

    I've been pondering the question of villains we love to hate. Barrow on Downton Abbey certainly fits the bill! I keep hoping he'll somehow redeem himself. Truly redeemed bad boys have a special kind of appeal.

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  62. Wow, Myra, do you really think there's hope for Barrow? That would be an interesting twist.

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  63. Hi Michelle,

    Such a great post! Thank you! I'm going to print it off for my "How To Write a Romance" folder!

    Really made me stop and think about what it is I love in a romantic hero. And, I have to admit...sorry y'all....but for me...it's not about the clothes...I LOVE a man in jeans, cowboy boots & a Stetson, but really, he could be wearing a suit & tie, a uniform (any kind...football, cop, fireman, plumber), a kilt or a cape (not just the cape...you know the tight little outfit that goes with the cape).

    It's not about the era...he could be from "in the beginning" to some fantastic futuristic world or a time traveler jetting from one era to another...and everything in between...

    It's not about the profession...I am partial to cowboys, but he could be a knight, a wall street broker, a warrior, a teacher, a handy-man, an author, or a fisherman...

    No, for me....

    It's about CHARACTER...I can't think of anything more romantic than qualities defining the core of a man's good character. Julie, I think you listed so many when you mentioned Jamie from Outlander.

    I love a hero who is:
    Sacrificial...is he willing (eventually) to give up his own desire for the good of the situation (most often, it's the heroine)?
    An Overcomer...does he keep fighting to overcome obstacles, even if they are his own demons?
    Humble...is he willing to admit his mistakes (eventually)?
    A Lover...does he find ways to show love? (Might not be in a very traditional way!)

    I know there are more...and I know these qualities can be part of the 5 tips you listed.

    Just one more thing...this is a really FUN place to hang out!! Love everyone's input!

    P.S. For Mary Connealy...Yesterday I downloaded your book, Swept Away...and my jaw dropped when I read Ruthy's family were Rinehardt's!! One of the journals my husband has...is from his pioneer Rinehart family!! (Spelling is different)...but isn't that FUN!!

    Happy day to everyone and I would love to be entered in the drawing!!

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  64. Great ideas, Kathryn. I especially like the thought that a hero should show love in a non-traditional way because that really grabs a reader's attention. Thanks for sharing!

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  65. LOL, Michelle--I imagine Barrow is ultimately irredeemable. He's had his moments of conscience, but I think his bad side is too deeply ingrained. Anyway, what would they do for intrigue among the servants without him?

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  66. Kathryn, don't you love it when you read about a family or name that you're familiar with? I read a book many years ago where the heroine had the same full name as one of my friends so I thought that was cool. It didn't hurt that the heroine was beautiful, spunky, and courageous! :)

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  67. They could resurrect O'Brien. I loved to hate her too.

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  68. I enjoy rooting for Matthew Crawley! I love his innovative ideas and forward thinking. :)

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  69. Only one season left on Downton Abbey? What shall we do? I hope all threads are tied up at the end...with lots of happily ever afters!

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  70. Who didn't love Matthew? Those eyes. Just sayin'.

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  71. Sipping a cup of tea in honor of Downton. Anyone care to join me?

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  72. All good things must come to an end, I suppose. But hopefully they'll start right on another historical masterpiece, let's say, oh, in the Regency era, and yeah, with perhaps a Bow Street Runner? And yes, I've been called shameless countless times.

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  73. I do believe it is tea time. Great idea.

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  74. While we're talking Downton, anybody else totally fed up with Mary's (not OUR Mary!) snarky attitude, especially toward Edith? Sometimes I've just wanted to slap her!

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  75. Such passion, Myra, which is the sign of fantastic character creation.
    And yes, I've wanted to smack her upside the head a few times myself.

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  76. OH, yes, the Regency period! Love the five points for developing a character with a swoon. I thrive on points and bullets that I can add to the bulging writer's file. Thanks for the day to day workshops, Seekers, and thanks, Michelle, for guesting. Please put my name in the cat dish for that wonderful book.

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  77. VINCE, I'm with Michelle. I'm pulling out my P&P and watching the director's comments. :)

    A villain I love to hate is Phillip Seymour Huffman's character in Mission Impossible:3. He personified evil in that character.

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  78. I still need to read through all the comments, but I was an Almanzo Wilder swoon girl. That, and anything Sherlock Holmes (although I lament his later years drift into drug addiction - but I hear that was because Sir Conan Doyle was jealous of his popularity).
    Harrison Ford as Indiana Jones
    Tom Selleck in Quigley Down Under
    Hugh Jackman in Kate & Leopold *sighhhhhhhh*

    Love this post. Love the book blurb even better. Please put me in the draw for your book! Awesome post!!!

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  79. Benedict Cumberbatch plays a masterful Sherlock though, don't you think?

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  80. I forgot to mention how much I LOVE (swoon) Hugh Jackman in Kate & Leopold and in the movie Australia. Of course, that darling child Nullah (Brandon Walters) saying, "I sing you to me" in Australia costs me a box of tissues every time!!

    Pam Hillman....how fun!! And the perfect heroine...love those spunky gals and finding names in books that touch my heart.

    Speaking of tea...I'll have a cuppa anytime for any reason...have any of you read All the Tea in China by Jane Orcutt? I read it years ago...a delightful Regency with a divine hero!!

    Ok...must spend some time writing now!!

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  81. Gah! Thanks for the reminder that I wanted to read All the Tea in China!

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  82. Benedict Cumberbatch--my absolute favorite Sherlock!!!!!

    DEB H, I like Tom Selleck in just about everything! Never missed Magnum, P.I., and he's great in Blue Bloods too.

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  83. Sigh. Oh, Vince. I will give it a second chance.

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  84. Julie Lessman said...

    #1 for me is Jamie Fraser from Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series (I'm talking the books, not the overly graphic Star TV series!). This is the only hero/book that made me hit the wall on my own writing. So much so that I had to stop reading her altogether so I could get my own books written.


    Amen, Julie! The BOOK Jamie is one of the most compelling heroes I've read. Totally stalled my SPEEDBO efforts one time. And I continue to be stunned that I even opened a book that involved time travel. I never would have if a friend hadn't nagged me (without mercy) to "read the book, read the book, I promise you will like it, read the book." Word-of-mouth recommendation scores again :-)

    Nancy

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  85. What a post, Michelle! Thank you.

    So do you think a flaw can also be a secret?

    Nancy C

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  86. Vince, I had to laugh at the 10K a year! They were a pragmatic bunch!

    Julie, I figured you'd mention Rhett Butler, but I'm shocked he's only #2 on your list! When did you demote him???

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  87. Kathryn! I have (almost) immortalized your family name!!!!!!!!!!!

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  88. Hi DebH:

    I don't pay much attention to heroes but when you mentioned, "Tom Selleck in Quigley Down Under", I totally agree with that. Quigley is a beta hero who could tear apart any alpha who gets in his way. That's my kind of hero.

    BTW: My wife loves Tom Selleck as Jesse Stone. Stone's movies are the ones she will most not want to miss.

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  89. Can we mention Julie's Bram Hughes here? If we're talking swoon-worthy, let's add a hefty bit of strong faith and not afraid to share it! Plus protective of his loved ones and wanting to fulfill their dreams/needs before his own? Whew it's getting toasty in here ;)

    I admit I'm a literary and film Darcy fan (I promise to try the Colin Firth version without prejudice ;), though Emma wasn't my favorite of Austen's work.

    And let's add any of Dee Henderson's O'Malley heroes to the list, shall we?

    ...I guess it's a mark of a truly addicted bibliophile when written heroes make you swoon as much as or more than film ones!

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  90. Well, now that Vince has mentioned Tom Selleck, I have to agree... Tell and Orrin Sackett top my list of swoon worthy heroes. Well, all the Sacketts, actually. Doesn't hurt that Tom Selleck and Sam Elliott played their parts in the movies. :)

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  91. Hey Chill, you betcha. I think a hero's flaws can be a secret, maybe one he's desperately trying to hide from the heroine.

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  92. I'm thinking here... I love great heroes, but I think I identify with great heroines more.

    Hush Thackery in Deborah Smith's "Sweet Hush"

    Elizabeth Bennett in Price and Prejudice. I wouldn't like Darcy at all if Elizabeth wasn't so strong and strident in her views!

    Bossy, know it all Jane Eyre....

    Anne Kellwyn from my "Running on Empty". I love overcomers!!!!

    Which reminds me: Mandisa's Overcomer!!!

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  93. @Cindy - Almanzo Wilder was my fave growing up too! I read my copies to death! However, I reread them in college and was surprised to find that the text wasn't as "romantic" as I remembered. I mean, it's not a romance series, but ... Maybe to my ten year old self that hadn't read romance novels yet, it was romantic descriptive.

    @Mary - Legolas made elves cool (or should I say hot?) ;-)

    @Vince - I also love and prefer the 2005 version! :) *ducks*

    I can never choose one, but Julie Lessman's heroes always come to mind. I just read "With Every Breath" by Elizabeth Camden and wow. Trevor is an amazing hero. And he hits all five qualities too. :)

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  94. Kathryn Barker, the perfect answer! So perfect!

    Sacrificial...is he willing (eventually) to give up his own desire for the good of the situation (most often, it's the heroine)?
    An Overcomer...does he keep fighting to overcome obstacles, even if they are his own demons?
    Humble...is he willing to admit his mistakes (eventually)?
    A Lover...does he find ways to show love? (Might not be in a very traditional way!)

    So wonderfully said!

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  95. I love Almanzo. Farmer Boy is one of my favorite books. I love it, I love the vision of this family and their year on the northern farm!

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  96. Sounds like Almanzo is winning this impromptu who's-the-best-hero contest.

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  97. My favorite hero is Rafaga in Janet Dailey's Touch The Wind. I still swoon when I think of him and read that book. Have to warn you though that it has real sex in it. sigh. Maybe that is what I like. I write sweet romance, but I still like to read steamy stuff.

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  98. Julie and Nancy, y'all are making me want to read Outlander even more than I already wanted to. Yes, I'm admitting I haven't read the series!

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  99. Hi Michelle,
    Love your post. To answer your question, dare I admit Rhett Butler? Admittedly, I read the book years before I saw the film, so Clark Gable's portrayal colored my view of the book's character. And I love him...

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  100. Kathryn Barker, what a great list!!

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  101. Gilbert is a good one. I also liked Michael from Grace Livingston Hill's Lo Michael. ..the first romance I ever read! Please put me in the drawing.

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  102. Interesting post, Michelle. I would love to be able to visit Jane Austen's world in England. How fun that you were able to do that.

    I think Atticus Finch is a great hero, although the story isn't a romance. I also thought of Gatsby. I love The Great Gatsby.

    Michelle, I saw the first half of The Count of Monte Cristo when I showed it to a high school English class in which I was subbing, but didn't get to see the rest of it. I am a Jim Caviezel fan. Do you watch him in Person of Interest? It's a good show.

    Please enter me in the drawing. The book looks good.

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  103. VINCE SAID: "But I must admit, if I were one of Julie's heroes, I'd have grabbed Elizabeth and kissed her senseless in the rain. But that would be a different movie."

    Atta boy, Vince -- you're my kind of guy!! :)

    KATHRYN BARKER SAID: "It's about CHARACTER...I can't think of anything more romantic than qualities defining the core of a man's good character. Julie, I think you listed so many when you mentioned Jamie from Outlander."

    Thanks, Kathryn, and yes, I totally agree -- character is very appealing in a man!!

    NANCY SAID: "Amen, Julie! The BOOK Jamie is one of the most compelling heroes I've read. Totally stalled my SPEEDBO efforts one time. And I continue to be stunned that I even opened a book that involved time travel. I never would have if a friend hadn't nagged me (without mercy) to "read the book, read the book, I promise you will like it, read the book." Word-of-mouth recommendation scores again :-)"

    Nancy, thank God I'm not alone in the Jamie effect, and YES, I too was stunned that I even opened a time travel book, but like you, a friend insisted I read it, and WHOA, what a life-changer!!

    CARA ASKED: "Julie, I figured you'd mention Rhett Butler, but I'm shocked he's only #2 on your list! When did you demote him???"

    LOL, Cara ... the moment I read Outlander, darling. :)

    Hugs,
    Julie



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  104. SARA SAID: "Can we mention Julie's Bram Hughes here? If we're talking swoon-worthy, let's add a hefty bit of strong faith and not afraid to share it!"

    AW, Sara, thank you!! Yeah, Bram kind of snuck up on me as a great hero. Good boys are not usually my suit, but he took my surprise. :)

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  105. MICHELLE SAID: "JULIE ~ Dare I admit I've never read Gone With the Wind. I know, right? Plus, while I love Pride & Prejudice and Northanger Abbey, the rest of Austen is a little too fru-fru for me. I crave a bit more action. Okay. A LOT more action."

    OKAY, Michelle, I forgive you. Let's just say your 2nd comment above about "fru-fru Austen" saved you on that GWTW slight... :)

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  106. Chiming in late, but it's still Wednesday in California for a few more minutes.

    For literary heroes, Colonel Cassius McLinn in The Colonel's Lady by Laura Frantz stands out. I love all of Sarah Sundin's heroes (and heroines). Her characterization is one of her many strengths.

    If we're talking movies, my vote goes for John Thornton in North and South. Talk about a wonderful wounded hero. And he's mighty nice to look at, too. Sigh!

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  107. For the Janeites Out There

    Here's a book perfect for you: "A Truth Universally Acknowledged: 33 Great Writers on Why We Read Jane Austen" by Susannah Carson (Editor) with a foreword by Harold Bloom.

    This book seems to reverse the quote by Leo Tolstoy that “All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.”

    If you read the 33 famous authors, both contemporary and classic, in the above book it seems as if all the critics of Jane Austen are alike; while each fan supports her in his or her own way. Janeites love their Jane.

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  108. I think it is easier to think of movie heroes than literary ones (although sometimes they overlap). I guess I'll say I like Gilbert Blythe and Mr. Knightley.

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