Saturday, March 17, 2007

Wolf! Wolf!

Last night, I was browsing on Amazon and noticed that Virginia Henley's forthcoming romance, Notorious, had its description posted. Notorious, set in 14th-century England during the reign of Edward II, features a heroine named Brianna, whose love interest is Wolf Mortimer, son of the Roger Mortimer who's been mentioned on this blog.

Don't start Googling, folks. Roger Mortimer did some dreadful things, but naming a son "Wolf" was not one of them.

So what's with these names? Are romance readers really put off by heroines and heroes with monikers that suit the times they live in? It doesn't seem so; I trolled through Romance Reviews Today and found that most of the historical romances there had protagonists with reasonably authentic-sounding names (though there were some groaners too).

For what it's worth for you marketing people out there, un-period names scare me off. Here are a couple of romances set in the nineteenth century that I wouldn't read on a dare, even though they sound strangely familiar somehow:

Fine-eyed, spirited Raven Bennett disliked proud, arrogant Brayden Darcy, her new neighbor, from the start . . .

Try as he might, brooding, mysterious Blake Rochester could not take his mind off his daughter's governess, Jade Eyre . . .


Moving on, in the always popular Prove Me Wrong department, my rambles brought me today to a romance novel with a plot that revolves around a nearsighted, glasses-wearing heroine, Love Is Blind by Lynsay Sands. There's hope for us spec-wearers yet.

7 comments:

Alianore said...

Wolf and Brianna. Oh dear...
But maybe no worse than some of Henley's other heroes and heroines - Lynx, Lincoln, Summer, Raven and Sabre. And the inevitable Jasmine, of course.

Had to giggle when I saw on her website ('My Books' section) that 'heroine' has been misspelt as 'heroin'.

Carla said...

At least the names give me fair warning that I'm not the target audience.

elena maria vidal said...

Wolf? Oh, that sounds so ridiculous.

Gabriele C. said...

Wolf is bad enough, but Brianna? Is that even a name? I mean, yes, it probably is since Diana Gabaldon named Claire's daughter Brianna, but she doesn't exactly write historical fiction (despite being shelved as such in Germany).

Susan Higginbotham said...

According to one baby name list I saw, "Brianna" was a top 100 baby name in the US for 2005. (So was "Brooklyn"--can "Staten Island" be on the horizon?)

Sarah said...

I think "Brooklyn" first became popular after a kid on a soap opera was given that name, maybe 15 years ago.

I used to watch a lot of bad TV.

Gabriele C. said...

Considering Gabaldon's popularity, I won't be surprised if the raise in Briannas has something to do with her character. :)