Names in novels

Recently there was a thread on an amazon forum about names in romance novels.
Does the name of the hero or the heroine make or break the book? A lot of people agreed to that, but admitted that if the story was compelling, it didn’t matter to them after all.

Why on earth would a name matter that much? OK, I admit that Harry has a point in this scene:

Harry Burns: With whom did you have this great sex?
Sally Albright: I’m not going to tell you that.
Harry Burns: Fine, don’t tell me.
Sally Albright: Shel Gordon.
Harry Burns: Shel? Sheldon? No, no, you did not have great sex with Sheldon.
Sally Albright: I did too.
Harry Burns: No you didn’t. A Sheldon can do your income taxes, if you need a root canal,
Sheldon’s your man… but humpin’ and pumpin’ is not Sheldon’s strong suit. It’s the name.
‘Do it to me Sheldon, you’re an animal Sheldon, ride me big Shel-don.’ Doesn’t work.

(from ~ When Harry met Sally )

But then again, if you do meet a Sheldon and he is a hunk, smart, everything you want him to be, would you dump him, because of his name? I think not.

So, anyway, if I came across a name that is truly insufferable (maybe something exotic that I don’t know how to pronounce) I’d just read over it and replace it with something else in my mind.

And as far as the "making a book" is concerned. If the story was horrible, even the most attractive name won’t be of any use. Would you struggle through a book just for the hero’s name? I wouldn’t.

Shakespeare gave us a great quote regarding this. Not that I’m reading Shakespeare nowadays, I found it at the quote garden.

What’s in a name?  That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet.

~ Romeo and Juliet

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