There are actually two of them. The first is kinda weird, because she's old and married and a mother of eight kids but I absolutely love her and I've absolutely had a big crush on her ever since I met her--In the novel of course.
I'm talking about no other person than Mrs. Ramsey in Virginia Woolf's To the Lighthouse, a novel about the Ramsey's family trip to a lighthouse on the other side of the sea from their vacation house.
Mrs. Ramsey is the predominant character in the book, even though she only features in most of the first part only and not in the second and third part, because she died. And her death, to me, is one of the most tragic things in literary fiction I've ever read.
The beauty of her death also lies in the way the story is presented and how the book itself is narrated. It is told in a stream of consciousness/free indirect discourse style that makes it so that we get acquainted and sort of enter into all of the character's minds one after the other. We get to know how they feel, what they feel and what their thoughts are towards their other chatacters.
And having done this in the first part, the second part is where we begin to hear of their deaths--in short laconic unsentimental sentences that just makes it all the more tragic.
And Mrs. Ramsey's death takes the award as the most shattering and heartbreaking. In the early parts of the book we get introduced to her as a caring mother of eight children who loves her children and loves to take care of pretty much anybody. She hosts guests in her vacation house because she pities their loneliness and is convinced they can all live in harmony and happiness together. And also really because she can't stop pitying people and helping them--especially men.
As we go on we find out more about her relationship with her husband, how she loves him and he loves her but is always demanding sympathy and pity from her due to his own insecurity. (Her husband is a genius philosopher who has become morbidly insecure of the quality of his work and his place in history.)
All the while we get to admire Mrs. Ramsay and pity her so much for pitying everybody so much. She is the obvious pillar of the family; she holds everyone together. She is meticulous and sensitive.
One of the most amazing part of the novel for me is when the tenderness and kindness of Mrs. Ramsay was contrasted against the harsh realism and pessimism of her husband in a scene where their little son was asking if they'd still be able to make it to the Lighthouse the next day with the weather as terrible as it was.
Mrs. Ramsey said yes of course, even though she knew it might not be possible, just to console her son, but Mr. Ramsey, being an unyielding realist and matter-of-fact cynic, became angry at his wife for assuring the kid when she knows it is almost virtually impossible. This was a great height of affection for me. Both for the novel and for the characters--the most of which is for Mrs. Ramsey.
Her death in the middle of the novel was so painful and just went on to solidify my love for her. I've always felt like I wanted to marry a wife like her. If not her. If I could I'd enter the damn novel and save her and bring her home with me and we'd get married and live happily ever after. We won't have eight kids though.
The second character that I've had a crush on since forever also happens to be from the same novel. And her name is Lily Briscoe.
Lily is one of the friends who went to the vacation house with the Ramseys. In a way she is the opposite of Mrs. Ramsey. Whereas Mrs. Ramsey is always eager and ready to have pity on people and help people; where Mrs. Ramsey is always congenial and loved by all and appreciated for her beauty, LILY briscoe is portrayed as being just the opposite of that.
Lily is portrayed as a recluse having not so much of an external beauty. She is more reserved, shy, and not willing to mingle and have pity on other so much as Mrs. Ramsey. In fact even though she has a huge amount of love and admiration for Mrs. Ramsey she was always secretly appalled at the way she allowed her husband to bear on her so much with his problems. The way she would cast away everything she felt just to create space for her husband's self indulgent misery.
Lily is also an artist and that seems to be the only thing she cares about--her art. And the only thing that seemed to bring her any joy. She is also a bit insecure about it and afraid to show anybody her works--sort like me.
She lasts much longer than Mrs. Ramsey and was present at the end of the novel. In fact her thoughts are the closing words of the book, when she finally finished her painting after wondering what the purpose of it was anyway, and putting down her brush tiredly, thinking "yes, I have had my vision."
I have no idea why, but I used to have a terrible crush on Anne of the Green Gables as a young boy :-)
It's been decades since I've last seen anything of the series, so I don't really remember what she was like or anything, but I do remember having a crush on her :-)