You all know that I’m an equal opportunity reader when it comes to romance: I read anything from contemporary to historical, erotic to inspirational, sci-fi to paranormal. I keep an open mind and I’m always up to expand my reading horizons by experimenting with different sub-genres. So with that disclaimer out of the way I can make my confession: despite my tolerant and open-minded reader beliefs I sometimes discriminate books/stories/characters based on names.
And I don’t mean the cutesy and at times over the top names of the town/place the story is set in, like a contemporary romance being set in the small town of Love, or Promise Harbor or a historical romance taking place in Harmony Creek or Temperance Manor. No, those just receive an eyebrow twitch, but they don’t disturb me too much to make me stop reading the book.
The kind of name discrimination I am talking about is when the characters sport such awful, ugly or plain ridiculous names that every time they are mentioned or are on the scene, just seeing their name makes me shudder and grimace. I don’t even care if the name is accurate for the time period (like Eugenia, Euphrosina, Tiberius or Alasdair!) or does indeed exist in real life (like some of the most far-fetched names in contemporary romances that manage to keep me in the dark regarding the character’s gender), if it is so plain ugly or ridiculous that it prevents me from liking/falling for the characters it may spoil the whole novel for me (read a book once where the hero was called Black. Every time the heroine said “Take me Black”, “Kiss me Black, “I love you Black” it just jarred me out of the story). (Oh yeah and don’t you just hate “talking names” like the heroine being called Chastity or Passion? O_O)
I have read several novels where the story was quite entertaining, there was good characterisation and it was quite decently written (that’s why I kept reading), but it just didn’t manage to absolve from having a handsome hunk of a hero named Alasdair. (I seriously loathe that name. I don’t find it sexy, to me it sounds pompous and ridiculous. Something I would call the fat uncle of the villain, or that constantly drunk relative who is meant to be despised by the reader. But never the hero, with whom the heroine and the reader shall fall in love with.)
Sure there are some names which I know are historically accurate that I personally don’t really care for but that I can tolerate, and at times I can even accept that the heroine has a masculine name or that the hero is named after an object if it suits the purpose of the story and is a crucial detail in the characterisation. But how can being named Alasdair or Tiberius add anything to the character other than the reader’s revulsion and scorn?!
So tell me,
Are you name-sensitive?
Are there some names that just irrevocably make you turn away from the characters/story or even if you keep on reading you can’t fall for the characters since they are named a certain way?
Do you have any name pet peeves?
Let me know, I’m curious