Ten literary characters to fall in love with

Discover ten fictional characters who will forever hold a piece of your heart.

Literature is a love affair. We frequently fall head over heels for certain characters, whose depth, charisma, and vulnerability resonate with us long after the final page. Here’s ten captivating literary characters waiting to steal your heart, if you aren’t smitten with them already . . .



by James Hynes

Raised in a brothel in the brutal backstreets of the Roman Empire, an enslaved boy of no known origin creates his own identity. He is Sparrow, who sings without reason and can fly from trouble – the coping mechanism he uses to escape his reality. His world is a kitchen, the herb-scented garden, a loud and dangerous tavern and the mysterious upstairs where the ‘wolves’ – sex workers and slaves from every corner of the empire – conduct their business. Despite the hard fate that awaits him, Sparrow’s hopeful spirit and his heart-wrenching story will captivate you and leave you with more than a soft spot for one of the most memorable characters of recent fiction.

Mungo & James

Young Mungo

by Douglas Stuart

From the Booker Prize-winning author of Shuggie Bain, Young Mungo gives us not one but two characters to bring into our hearts: Mungo and James. Their story  unfolds amidst poverty and adversity in a hyper-masculine world, where the young men are forced to hide their true selves from those around them. Mungo, a nervous boy with an alcoholic mother and a gang leader brother, meets James, a gentle boy with an avoidant father who tends to his pigeons. Despite the sectarian tension of opposing religions that threaten their bond, the two manage to find love with one another, choosing tenderness over destruction in queer Romeo and Juliet style. You’ll weep alongside them as they endure countless struggles, but cheer even harder for every one of their  triumphs.


A Little Life

by Hanya Yanagihara

If you’ve read Hanya Yanagihara’s A Little Life, you know whose name we’re about to write: Willem – a character who’s left an indelible mark on our hearts. Sure, he’s handsome and talented, but his loyalty and boundless compassion for his friends is what we really cherish. The stable anchor we all need in a friendship group, we see Willem selflessly dedicate himself to his unbreakable bond with Jude, loving him and helping him live with a heartbreaking past of trauma and pain. Brace yourself for an emotional rollercoaster, as Willem's gentle nature and vulnerability helps to make A Little Life one of the most profound books you will ever read. 

Nagare & Kei

Before the Coffee Gets Cold

by Toshikazu Kawaguchi

Husband and wife duo, Nagare and Kei, are the owners of the Japanese coffee shop that offers its customers a unique experience: the chance to travel back in time, under some strict rules. Nagare and Kei are the admirable gatekeepers of these rules; their careful supervision and heartfelt reassurance protects the lost souls journeying to the past. But you’ll be heartbroken to learn that these wonderful guardians of the magical Café Funiculi Funicula aren’t without their own struggles. The most touching story of all is Kei’s, who’s heart condition means she may not survive her pregnancy. As she travels to the future to discover her fate, you’ll be filled with adoration for the woman who has bravely devoted everything to the café, and her future daughter.

Elizabeth Bennet

Pride and Prejudice

by Jane Austen

One of the most-loved characters in classic literature is Elizabeth Bennet, the delightful heroine of Jane Austen's novel, Pride and Prejudice. With sharp wit and boundless charm, Elizabeth navigates the social landscape of Regency-era England, captivating readers with her fiery spirit and unyielding principles. Whether you’ve not read this timeless story before, or (like us) you find yourself returning to it over and over again, you can’t help but be captivated as both Elizabeth and Mr Darcy have their pride humbled and their prejudices dissolved. Prepare to be enchanted by Elizabeth’s integrity, her enduring love for her family, and her indomitable spirit that refuses to succumb to societal norms. You won’t just love her, you’ll want to be more like her.

Emmy Lake

Mrs Porter Calling

by AJ Pearce

Emmy Lake is a symbol for the kindness of strangers and the courage of ordinary people in extraordinary times. Amidst the chaos of wartime London, Emmy is an agony aunt at Woman’s Friend magazine, relied upon by readers across the country as they face the challenges of life on the Home Front. She wholeheartedly devotes her time writing back to the lovelorn, grief-stricken or morally conflicted, responding to their calls for connection. Even when the new magazine owner, Mrs Porter, threatens to destroy everything, Emmy's kindness continues far beyond the realm of duty. And as she demonstrates this heartwarming resilience, you'll find yourself irresistibly drawn to Emmy's generosity, making Mrs Porter Calling a delightful celebration of the power of goodwill.


Briefly, a Delicious Life

by Nell Stevens

Welcome to the mind of Blanca the teenage ghost, a voyeur of life, whose magnetic presence radiates throughout the narrative of Briefly, a Delicious Life. You’ll get first person access to all of her unfiltered thoughts and feelings, developing such an intimate connection that you’ll feel like you really know her. When she falls in love – instantly and devotedly – with celebrated novelist George Sand, you may just fall in love too. George is unlike anyone Blanca has encountered in hundreds of years of haunting: a woman dressed in men’s clothes, a ferocious writer, a passionate lover of men and women alike and an ambivalent mother. Drawing you in with her genuine warmth and all-consuming emotions, you'll find yourself inexplicably drawn to Blanca’s endearing soul.


Paul Takes the Form of A Mortal Girl

by Andrea Lawlor

Our protagonist, Paul, studies queer theory, has a lesbian best friend, makes zines and is a flâneur with a rich dating life. But he’s got a secret: he’s a shapeshifter who can change his body whenever he likes. A charming but provoking character, you’ll follow Paul/Polly with intrigue as they enter into different kinds of queer spaces in the vibrant LGBTQ+ subculture of the early 1990s. Hypnotising and hilarious, our hero/ine compulsively journeys through struggle and pleasure, playfully challenging ideas of gender fluidity as they go. Paul's unapologetic spirit makes this novel a poignant ode to self-acceptance and is an irresistible invitation to fall in love with Paul, and yourself, in whatever form that may be.