I tell my husband all of my male protagonist are based on him. That’s not a lie. I married Gilbert Blythe.
There are a thousand reasons why Gilbert Blythe is the number one pick for best book-boyfriend. Here’s my top three.
- He knew what he wanted and had the courage to go for it. He was interested in Anne from the start, and he worked at getting her attention. She may not have liked his tactics, and showed him exactly what she thought of being called ‘Carrots’ by smashing her slate over his head, but Gil’s first move was unforgettable. Anne wouldn’t give him the time of day, other than through competition academically, for several years. Readers love a romance that takes time to reveal itself.
- He was always a true gentleman and friend. Gil offered his assistance whenever Anne found herself in trouble.
When she was had sunk the skiff and needed rescuing, he pulled her from the water. When she had too many packages to carry comfortably, he gave her a ride home. When her book was failing with editors, he told her the truth, they were “high-falutin’- mumbo jumbo”, which in the end, made her a much better writer.
- He gave sacrificially. Gil gave up Avonlea school for Anne so she could stay with Marilla after Mathew’s death. Goodness sake, if we didn’t love him before that move, we’d not be kindred spirits!
Gil wins top of the list because of his honor and integrity, the patient, yet self-assured way he handled Anne’s thoughtlessness, how he supported her and encouraged her through the years—all while maintaining a strong sense of dignity and respect as a man. Finally, through his persistent and steadfast friendship, Gil eventually opens Anne’s eyes to the one thing she’d been blind to all the years of their friendship. That she loved him.
Go ahead and change the setting, the names, the plot, but don’t take away the swoon-worthy love story. It’s my belief that modern readers still want this type of old-fashioned romance in novels. We can’t help but find satisfaction in a hero fulfilling his role as provider, protector and lover. It resonates with something in the DNA of a woman’s soul knowing she’s safe and surrounded by a man who’s love for her stands the test of time.
What do you think? Any of your modern reads have a book boyfriend that compares with Gilbert Blythe?