From classical composers to rock stars, there’s something extra romantic about a musician. All our preconceptions about genius and brooding and muses are fertile ground for the novelist, and it’s long been a popular career choice for protagonists. Here are 10 of our favorite melodically inclined romantic heroes.
Lucien Harrow, Lucien’s Fall by Barbara Samuel
Lucian’s genius and love of music is the only thing that redeems him from utter horribleness. He’s a devoted rake pursuing the virginal, virtuous Madeline with nothing but impure intentions. But the poor man also suffers from severe migraines and tortures himself by trying to bury his considerable musical talents. Thanks to a youthful slight, he simply writes the melodies down and then burns them.
Quinn Parker, Through the Fire by Donna Hill
Through the Fire is actually Hill’s third book chronicling the rough life of Quinn Parker, jazz musician and novelist. After a string of devastating personal tragedies, he doesn’t want to sing or play the piano or do anything much at all. Fortunately he meets songwriter Rae Lindsay, the two bond over music, and he finally gets a well-deserved happy ending.
Sheridan Drake, Seize the Fire by Laura Kinsale
Sheridan Drake’s musical inclinations are heart-breaking, because he never got the chance to pursue them seriously. In one of the novel’s many tear-jerking moments, he confesses that he thought his father was sending him to Salzburg to study—when in fact he was being bundled off into the military. He goes onto a distinguished career as a war hero but remains miserable the entire time. When he and his charge, the hapless princess Olympia, are stranded on a near-Antarctic island, he lulls her to sleep by picturing them together, in Vienna, eating strudel and waltzing.
Dayan, Dark Melody by Christine Feehan
Several of Feehan’s Carpathian novels revolve around the Dark Troubadours. Dayan is the vampire troupe’s lead guitarist, producing madly seductive melodies despite his lack of emotion. Then he meets delicate Corinne Wentworth, who’s pregnant, in trouble, and suffering from a heart ailment. Luckily, Dayan’s music is particular soothing.
Acheron Parthenopaeus, Various Dark Hunter Novels by Sherrilyn Kenyon
Acheron is another musically inclined vampire. Rock is a recurring feature of Kenyon’s series, and the Dark Hunter’s leader is especially enthusiastic. It’s mostly a hobby (managing an unruly pack of immortals leaves little time for artistic pursuits), but he’s been known to appear on the stage at Sanctuary as a guitarist. When his own story rolls around, he even uses his talent to woo Tory.
Alec Aarronson, Rhapsody in Time by Judith O’Brien
Liz is conked on the head. Liz wakes up in the Roaring Twenties. Liz falls in love with Alec Aarronson, a brilliant jazz composer destined to die in a plane crash in 1935. What to do?!
Giancarlo Mancini, She’s on Top by Susan Lyons
The hero and heroine of this steamy contemporary romance met as teenagers at music school. Years later, Rinna is a professional musician, teaching and trying out for the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra. Giancarlo, on the other hand, directs music videos for pop stars. He’s largely given up the piano, until he and Rinna reunite and he remembers how much he enjoyed playing. A big part of his character development is learning that even if he doesn’t make a living on the concert circuit, he can still get pleasure from the instrument.
Dylan Moore, His Every Kiss by Laura Lee Gurhke
Dylan is a talented composer and pianist, until an accident destroys his ability and sends his life into a tailspin. He’s ready to end it all, when an unknown woman talks some sense into him and then disappears. It takes years to track his beautiful savior down. Upon finding her, Grace Cheval wants nothing to do with him. She’s an artist’s widow who sees in Dylan another self-obsessed genius in the mold of her deceased husband. But she can’t afford to turn down his offer of a job as his young daughter’s governess.
Eddie Berlin, Cool Shade by Theresa Weir
Eddie Berlin takes artistic brooding to the next level. He’s agoraphobic and can’t leave his own property for any reason. (He even has prostitutes meet him at a nearby barn.) He once was a songwriter and manager for an up-and-coming rocker and now blames himself for the man’s untimely death. Then Maddie Smith—who has her own issues, including a chronic inability to hold a job in her chosen field of disc jockeying—shows up on his doorstep, looking to investigate her sister’s disappearance.
Ash Farrell, The Second Coming of Lucy Hatch by Marsha Moyer
When we meet Ash, he does double-duty in Mooney, TX, as both talented carpenter and honky-tonk hunk. Lucy Hatch Breward knows she should steer clear of him. She’s busy trying to get her life together in the wake of her husband’s untimely passing in a gruesome farm accident. But she gradually realizes she gave up a decade and a half of her life to a passionless marriage, and that makes her extra vulnerable to Ash’s abundant charm. Cue the sexytimes and the local gossip.
Have you read any of these? Do you like musically-inclined heroes? Who are your favorites?
By day, Kelly Faircloth covers innovation and technology. She spends the rest of her time reading and writing about books. Her work has appeared at io9, Inc and The Big Money, and she blogs intermittently atwww.NoKindaLady.com. Follow her on Twitter @KellyFaircloth.