As we’ve already established, there are some highly desirable gentleman populating the pages of our favorite books. But women and men who love men aren’t the only people who swoon over charming book characters. What about all the feisty, funny, beautiful, brave, soulful, and clever women from literature who have won the hearts of readers? I figured it was time to suss out which women from fiction have been enrapturing readers most, and what these crushes show us about people's true characters.
Every person I asked for their book crush had a different answer, testifying to the diversity of people’s romantic tastes. Some of us crush on gritty, daring women; others gravitate toward the nerdy and awkward; some, of course, love the graceful and charming. Some readers might find Elizabeth Bennet alluring, while others wax poetic about the sex appeal of Lisbeth Salander -- speaking volumes about what they truly care about in life. I’ve collected a list of 21 wildly different, wildly attractive women from your favorite books that offer an insight into readers’ personalities. And of course, if you think I left out a particularly crush-worthy lady from fiction, please let me know in the comments!
Here are 21 women crushes from literature that might reveal something about who you really are:
Brett Ashley from The Sun Also Rises: You’re a hard partier, and you need a cool girl at your side -- the type of girl who will knock back whisky with your friends and look glamorous in a slinky dress while doing it. You need a lady who will fit into your lifestyle of bar-hopping and brawling, but you’re not willing to compromise on sex appeal; after all, an interest in beautiful women is one of the hyper masculine qualities you plume yourself on.
Anna Karenina from Anna Karenina: You don’t mind a difficult or temperamental woman, as long as she’s ravishingly beautiful and devastatingly charming. You’re a dyed-in-the-wool romantic who wants to dedicate his life to the sort of angel who would be worthy of you. If she wants you to attach yourself to her hip, constantly dance attendance upon her and do nothing but shower her with affection and tokens of your commitment, so be it. In fact, that’s how you’d prefer to spend your time.
Lisbeth Salander from The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo: You’re tough, edgy, and not much of a romantic. You’d prefer a woman who can be a useful partner in sticky situations. The classic damsel in distress, or any woman who would require protection and careful treatment, would be nothing but a liability in the perilous predicaments into which you tend to get yourself. Plus, you just love tattoos.
Jo March from Little Women: You’re bookish and thoughtful, but you also feel lonely without plenty of company. A companion who comes with a carefree sense of humor -- not to mention a big, loving family -- would make sure you never feel too starved for fun and affection.
Katniss Everdeen from The Hunger Games series: You love your independence, no doubt about it. Whenever a one-night-stand asks you “if you’ll really call,” you feel nothing but annoyance. What you crave is a woman who understands emotional unavailability as much as you do; she’ll hang out with you when you want, hook up with you from time to time, but never demand that you commit.
Dorothea Brooke from Middlemarch: You’re idealistic, especially about social justice and political reform, and you want to live a life that is centered around helping others. You're passionate about taking practical steps toward improving people's lives. You don’t particularly want money, a luxurious lifestyle, or a trophy wife, and you actually find women who spend their time shopping and applying makeup off-putting, not sexy.
Masami Aomame from 1Q84: You love a woman who knows how to take care of herself, and who’s willing to stand up for others, even if she has to get her hands dirty (literally, legally, and morally) to do it. But while you don’t flinch at a bit of violence, deep down you’re a big old softie. At the end of the day, you want a stunningly beautiful woman who reciprocates your epic love, not just a partner in crime.
Madeleine Hanna from The Marriage Plot: You’re a bookish, clever type -- but more than that, you’re someone who sees himself as a bookish, clever type. Your image is almost as important to you as your intellectual interests, and you crave a girlfriend who embodies the classy, literary lifestyle you aspire to (but who will spend more time contemplating her relationship with you than she will actually being, y’know, literary).
Daenerys Targaryen from A Song of Ice and Fire series: Let’s be honest, you’re a little bit evil. You have some sort of moral code, but you have no qualms about watching your enemies suffer. You need a partner in ruthlessness, not someone who will wring her hands over your dirty deeds.
Arwen from The Lord of the Rings Trilogy: Nothing against you, but you really don’t have much time or energy for dating right now. You’re pretty focused on yourself and your important mission (whether it’s to beat the final level of your favorite video game, get your startup off the ground, or win a major promotion), and you’re only interested in a woman if she’ll be beautiful, patient, and supportive while you remain immersed in your own projects.
Clarisse McClellan from Fahrenheit 451: In a world of Twitter addicts and reality TV bingers, you feel like no one really knows how to live life anymore. You would rather go for a nature hike than go to the movies, and you’d rather spend a date having a deep philosophical discussion than flirting superficially over cocktails. If only you could meet someone who was as disillusioned about modern society as you are, you might be able to feel happy.
Elizabeth Bennet from Pride and Prejudice: You’re a refined, classy sort of dude or lady. Plus, you have a healthy respect for your traditionally feminine side -- after all, you’ve read a whole book by Jane Austen, despite the chick lit stigma she’s acquired in recent decades! Your idea of a good time is exchanging witty banter with an intriguing companion, not knocking back shots at a sports bar.
Franny Glass from Franny and Zooey: You’re drawn to people who are brilliant but complicated and even fragile. You think the best things in life are things that need to be worked for, and that relationships worth having are wracked with suffering and soul-searching. You see life as a very serious thing, not to be frittered away on trivial pleasures, and you want to be around other people who are dedicated to contemplating the meaning of life with you.
Beatrice from Much Ado About Nothing: You take pride in your sarcastic sense of humor, and you can’t deal with people who don’t know how to take a joke. Any woman you dated would need to be able to take your zingers with aplomb -- and be able to throw some right back at you. You’re not much for emotional vulnerability, but your love for laughter sustains your relationships.
Ifemelu from Americanah: You’re educated, liberal, and your passion for social justice mainly manifests itself in a desire to talk a lot about what’s wrong with the world. You’re almost neurotically self-reflective and keenly perceptive, and you’re fascinated by figuring out your own identity and how it fits into the world around you, even though it sometimes leaves you feeling isolated and depressed. You relate best to other people who tend to feel like outsiders, and you love conversation that ranges from deep and philosophical to light and witty.
Hermione Granger from the Harry Potter series: You’re a modern man or lady, and you know there’s no shame in letting your woman overshadow you. Realizing your girlfriend is way smarter than you would give you a thrill of pride rather than a sting of humiliation. After all, you’re so into intelligence that the kind of girl you’d like to date would be way smarter than not only you, but pretty much everyone else around her. Besides, you’re confident enough in what you have to offer such a bright girl that you feel fine about letting her take the lead on things like doing taxes, fixing the computer, and other nerdy tasks.
Madame Arnoux from Sentimental Education: You like to think you’re all grown up, but on some level, you’re still just a big kid. You want to be taken care of and nurtured, and you idealize women who seem pure and motherly rather than sexual.
Éowyn from The Lord of the Rings Trilogy: You are a self-proclaimed feminist, and you chafe at the idea of a woman being prevented from following her heart just because of her gender. However, you’re also a bit uncomfortable with a woman being just as ruthless and aggressive as men can be. It’s hard for you to always treat women as true equals, but at least you’re trying.
Daisy Buchanan from The Great Gatsby: For you, a woman is more of a symbol than a person. You have a hard time dealing with the realities of a relationship, but you’re never without a hopeless crush on a girl who’s completely out of your league. You’re a little socially awkward, very idealistic, and you don’t know how to handle girls you can’t put on a pedestal. But because you barely see women as real people, you'd rather have a complex about rescuing them from their bad relationships than realize that they made the choice to be where they are.
Catherine Barkley from A Farewell to Arms: It’s hard for you to resist a martyr. You have a great value and admiration for people who are loving and self-sacrificing. You believe that people should be willing to endure suffering in life, whether it’s for the person they love or whether it’s for people who need help. More than anything, you’re repulsed by selfishness.
Meg Murry from A Wrinkle in Time: You’re a bit of an outsider, and you want to find someone who understands just how that feels. Being outsiders together seems way more appealing than trying to fit into the image-conscious, vapid world of the popular kids. You’re also super nerdy and love working on unsolved equations or tricky coding problems in your free time. What? It's totally fun!