Then there's Ashton from The Far Pavillions - one of the most romantic novels of all time, on par with Gone With the Wind and Dr Zhivago as well as All this and Heaven too. I first read The Far Pavillions by M.M. Kaye way back in the 70s and fell in love with the handsome, brave, loyal Ash. Set in India in the 19th Century against a background of war and splendid Indian palaces, it is a long saga of the life of an orphaned boy Ashton Pelham- Martyn who was brought up as an Indian - Ashok - up till the age of 12. In fact he never knew his parents who were both killed during the Indian Mutiny and he was rescued by his Indian nurse who to save his life, brought him up as her own. When he was discovered by British troops and they realised that he was actually an English boy - he was taken away from all that he loved in India and sent to England to be "educated" and "civilised". Because of his fluent Hindi and his knowledge of India he was sent back to India after he graduated from university to act as interpreter in the British army. This is a richly woven tale of intrigue, love, betrayal, friendship and loyalty. I find Ashton one of the greatest heroes ever found in writing. A truly great read which I have read over and over again over the years.
There are so many more favourite characters - many from Julia Quinn's Bridgerton series, some from Georgette Heyer's novels and a few from Nora Roberts.My love has always been for historical novels and I find that heroes from these books are normally very dashing and I love them not only for their looks but for their sense of humour, bravery and intelligence. One such is Eugenides, from Megan Whalen Turner's series - The Thief, The Queen of Attolia and the King of Attolia and last in the series - A Conspiracy of Kings.
Women characters who act as the main protagonists too are many - and like Darcy in Austen's beloved novel, Elizabeth is a wondefully lively character. She reminds me a bit of Jo in Little Women. Or Rosalind from Shakespeare's As you like it. I never really liked the bossy Emma or the quiet Fanny from Mansfield Park, though I enjoyed the books nevertheless. And way back in my childhood days - I still remember Julian from Enid Blyton's Famous Five series, as well as George who was actually Georgina. I'm sure everyone has her/ his own favourite characters - in fact, when I was growing up Julian was my hero - at laest until I met other heroes in my teens.