Dear Duana,
It's getting desperate. Our baby girl is due in April and we are having a complete culture clash. This is a longed for baby and likely to be the only one. I'm English and would love a name that is pretty, reasonably traditional and a bit unusual. I always wanted Fleur for a daughter's name, but I also love Lisette and Eloise. My husband is Swedish and his name requirements are it has to be short and work in different languages. His choices Lisa, Sara, Emma, Louise. (You can tell he was born in the 80s, right?) There is nothing we can agree on - the only thing I can just about tolerate is Hanna/Hannah, which he loves but seems a bit plain to me and clashes with the double n syllable of the surname. (I've abandoned my other more outlandish choices such as - Ophelia (the ex stole it!), Cordelia (no Anne of Green Gables in Sweden) and Cosette. My closest friends and siblings have taken the Eves, Mias, Claras, etc. Please can you help? p.s. and I tried the 'we can name her Eloise/Lisette, you can nickname to Louise/Lisa.' Didn't work. Thanks so much!! p.s. I read your column when I thought I would never be able to have a baby, so it's actually really lovely to be able to ask the question!


I don’t know what it is about me today, that I’m feeling generous or that your letter hit the right flattery point, or what, but I am going to give you my greatest gift. I don’t just hand this out to everyone, but I think this is the right situation. Are you ready? Your daughter’s name is …


It’s kind of British (Lainey: think Daphne Guinness who is THE STYLE EVERYTHING!), it’s familiar but not common, it’s two syllables. Your husband is going to love it. You’re going to start a trend over there and I’m going to be jealous.

If that doesn’t land, I have another surefire winner for you (even though someone yelled at me recently to stop suggesting it because she wants her daughter to be the only one)…

Althea. Called Thea, if you prefer. Or if those aren’t it, how about some names that are pretty, but less used? Elise? Maggie. Rachel. Why doesn’t anyone use Rachel anymore? Because the moms are Rachel. But it’s still gorgeous. Or, in a left turn, what about Talia?

But I think I hit it the first time out. I’m not an egotistical person but I’ll allow it for myself this time. 

A note to name-nerd letter writers,

I love getting your letters. In order to give them the best chance of being answered in a timely fashion, could I please trouble you to include the due date in the subject line of your email? Also, please send only one email – duplicates are deleted and may result in your email not being answered. Thanks!