But one romantic classic still rules, The Telegraph reported. In the "if you had only one book on desert island" category, Jane Austen's "Pride and Prejudice" gets the most votes. Its heroine, Elizabeth Bennett, is the woman most readers would like to be, and Mr. Darcy was tops in the most romantic hero category.
The poll of 1,500 women aged 35 to 59 for Woman & Home magazine found that many women prefer reading to most alternate activities, including sex. Thrillers, contemporary novels and crime were the most popular categories, and only 40 percent want happy endings.
While romance writer Maeve Binchy was most frequently mentioned as a favorite author, overall mystery and thriller writers such as P.D. James, Patricia Cornwell and Ian Rankin predominated the list.
When it comes to romantic heroes generally, women prefer the classics. Other favorites on the list were Heathcliff from "Wuthering Heights," Rhett Butler of "Gone With The Wind" and Mr. Rochester of "Jane Eyre."
James Bond was the only favorite from a book set in the 20th century.
Scarlett O'Hara was voted most glamorous heroine.