Thank you, Charlotte Brontë! If you hadn't created Mr. Rochester to be not very handsome, but mysterious, with a dissolute past, a strange sense of humor, and a honking big secret (not to mention the consequences of his ultimate trip through the fire), we might not be reading books featuring the modern romance version of the tortured hero. This character may have often suffered physical or emotional abuse, complete with internal or external scarring; he probably seems like an outsider, mysterious and/or dangerous, and still carries some pain within. So, what's the appeal? Next to him, the well-adjusted boy next door seems, well, boring.