I decided that to truly qualify as a Literary Heroine Who Ended Up With The Wrong Man, the girl has to have a happy ending according to the book, and I just disagree with it. I mean, nobody would argue that Marie really belonged with Frank in O Pioneers. The book agrees with me on that point so I can't claim she would have been better off with Emil. OF COURSE she would have.
Moving on, in no particular order:
1. Anne Shirley from Anne of Green Gables. I'm cheating and going by the movie version of this one. My mature self realizes that Gilbert Blythe is the right choice but when I watched that movie growing up I thought Morgan Harris was the better match. I guess I still haven't forgiven Gilbert for pulling Anne's hair when they first met. And Anne could have done so much good as Morgan's wife! I'm just sayin'.
2. Jo March from Little Women. I don't care if they shared the most awkward kiss of all time in the movie version: Jo and Laurie belong together. Period. I think most of humanity agrees with me. Professor Baer is so BORING.
3. I haven't made up my mind completely yet, but if Katniss from The Hunger Games ends up with Gale I might decide she belongs on this list, too.
4. Scarlett O'Hara from Gone With The Wind. She's a tricky one because in the book, she ends up with no one at the end. But she should have ended up with Rhett, a million times over. I know the book and the movie lead us to infer that she reconciles with him, someday, but it would have been nice to see it in print, you know?
5. Gemma Doyle from whatever those terrible books were called. I thought the Indian boy was a bad match for her, considering she seemed interested in him only because he was the unconventional choice.
6. Miriam Willard from Calico Captive. I will always have a soft spot for Pierre Laroche. I think Miriam and he would have made a smashing couple and Phineas would never have been the wiser seeing as he was a prisoner of war somewhere or whatever. Who's with me?
Tess of the D'Urbervilles. Not that I want her to marry her seducer or anything but really, Angel Clare is marginally the more terrible choice. I think a reformed Alec beats snotty, self-righteous Angel any day.
Who did I miss? And who did I get completely wrong?