Whether you're a bigger fan of Mr. Darcy or Jay Gatsby, all of these iconic male lovers in literature will make you swoon. I promise. If they made the list for the favorable love-making skills, their sexy-smart wit, their romantic heart, or all of the above, you'll want these guys in your life or, at the very least, on your reading list. These classic love stories have stood the test of time and their hot leading men have too. There's a reason we still talk about guys like Rhett Butler and Romeo, right? They are flawed, lovely, and just like the rest of these guys on this list, entirely unforgettable.
‘Romeo and Juliet’ by William Shakespeare
The ultimate Romeo is definitely the original Romeo. Listen people, there is a reason that Romeo and Juliet has stood the test of time. It’s the greatest love story of our time – and Romeo himself is so sweet, charming, devilishly handsome, and in love with Juliet. Get a fan ready, because when you read about these star-crossed lovers rolling around in the sheets, you’ll need it.
‘Pride and Prejudice’ by Jane Austen
Famed Mr. Darcy doesn’t seem all that sexy at first, in fact he seems rude and condescending, but I promise he will win you over just like he does Ms. Bennett. This is a classic tale of falling for the bad boy, but the bad boy turns actually out to be hot, funny, and caring. So no, not like real life, but way better.
‘True Believer’ by Nicholas Sparks
Jeremy, a sexy-smart journalist from NYC, is chasing ghosts for a story until a sweet, Southern librarian throws him off of his game. He’s sweet, sensitive, and must overcome his past to love again. It sounds cheesy, but what Nicholas Sparks novel doesn’t deliver steamy love scenes and a totally wild, wonderful love story?
‘The French Lieutenant’s Woman’ by John Fowles
When noble Victorian gentleman Charles Smithson falls for a forsaken lover of a French lieutenant, he becomes obsessed. Yeah, he’s already engaged to a suitable rich lady, but his deep passion for Sarah is hot, confusing, and tragic in the best kind of way.
‘Wuthering Heights’ by Charlotte Brontë
This book is a double whammy of hot dudes. It’s hard to choose who is the steamiest lover in this classic Brontë tale. Heathcliff or Mr. Rochester? I vote both. Both are sexy in their own way and are utterly unforgettable. If you haven’t read this book yet, or you thought you’d skip over it in high school and college, you are missing out on a dramatic and moody love story that still holds up today.
‘The English Patient’ by Michael Ondaatjie
The subtle, yet steamy love scenes in this Booker prize-winning novel can make any good human tingle. A suffering war patient finds love by the sound of a woman’s voice – uh, hello, that’s hot. The two lovers start brief, but sexy affair. Though nameless, the English Patient himself is passionate and charming.
‘The Lover’ by Marguerite Duras
A French teenager meets an older man and embarks on a (seriously sexy) affair – it already sounds highly entertaining, right? But this older man, only called “The Chinaman” is pretty much the sexiest and best lover in the world. Warning: This book has lots of hot sexy times.
‘The Great Gatsby’ by F. Scott Fitzgerald
There is a very good reason that Hollywood leading men Robert Redford and Leonardo DiCaprio were both commissioned to play Mr. Gatsby. That’s because Jay Gatsby is a dreamer, a lover, and a man so full of hope that it might just make you feel bad — but it’s still totally endearing somehow (well, most of the time). Yes, his quest for his old flame, Daisy Buchanan, does seem crazy at certain points, but he’s so full of light that you can’t help but wish he was real (and that’s the sign of a great character).
‘Anna Karenina’ by Leo Tolstoy
Yes, this is one of those gut-wrenching love stories that leaves you in a thousand little pieces, but it’s so worth it. When Anna Karenina escapes her loveless marriage by having an affair with the uber-hot Vronsky, things quickly heat up, and it’s hard to stop reading.
‘Gone With The Wind’ by Margaret Mitchell
Rhett Butler is a character that’s impossible to forget. He’s powerful, sexy, honest, and can make many a reader blush. There’s something about his candor, his smooth talking, and his tall/dark/handsome thing that really is swoon-worthy, and even if Butler isn’t your cup of tea, this book is a classic novel that shouldn’t be missed.