Literary Hunk of November: John Brooke

It’s Thanksgiving week, friends, and you know what I’m grateful for? I mean aside from my family, my friends, MY DOG, and stuffing. I’m grateful for genuinely good people—real and fictional. And even though I’ve always had a soft spot for the bad boy with a heart of gold, sometimes a girl needs a literary hunk who is kind, generous, and good. Sometimes a girl needs John Brooke.

If you look back through my years on this blog, you’ll see that I bring up Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women a lot. It has been one of my very favorite books since I was eight years old, and it’s the kind of book that always gives me something new when I return to it year after year. I’ve made no secret of my undying love for Professor Bhaer, our very first Literary Hunk of the Month, and for Laurie Laurence, the boy next door of our dreams. I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve been guilty of overlooking poor John Brooke in the past, but the older I get, the more I realize that John Brooke is pretty swoonworthy too. So this month? It’s John Brooke’s turn to be Literary Hunk of the Month.

First of all, he’s a hopeless romantic. When Meg March leaves her gloves behind at the Laurence house, John Brooke sends one back with an anonymous letter—a song she had wanted, translated from German. As for the other glove? He keeps it and carries it around with him because he’s so gaga over her, which on the one hand is a bit inconsiderate because the Marches aren’t exactly rich and who can wear one glove, but on the other hand is pretty sweet! In addition to Glovegate, he makes Meg feel better when some snarky girls try to take her down a peg for being a governess, and when Marmee needs to travel to Washington to care for Mr. March, it’s John Brooke who accompanies her. On top of all that, he’s a tutor and a walking encyclopedia. I don’t know about you, but I can’t resist an academic who uses his brains for good.

So Mr. Brooke doesn’t have a lot of money. So he and Meg have to wait to get married and lead a simple life with tight purse strings. John is rich in all the ways that matter. He’s kind, and he’s loving, and he’s a wonderful father and husband, even if he does happen to bring a dinner guest home unannounced on the worst possible night ever. (The jelly, John. THE JELLY!)

Little Women has no shortage of good men, and it makes perfect sense why. The March sisters are the crème de la crème of fictional heroines, and if they have to get married, they at least have to marry men who are deserving of them. Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy are the heart and soul of the novel, but Bhaer, Laurie, and John Brooke sure do layer it with a flavor of their own. This Thanksgiving and all the year through, I’m thankful for all of these characters, and for the abundant gifts that keep on giving in the gem that is Little Women.

John Brooke marks a Book Perfume first: The first time three men from one novel have been named Literary Hunk of the Month! So tell me, Little Women lovers, which March husband makes your heart pitter-patter the most?

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