Hi Duana!
My husband and I (and my mom, his mom, my sister, etc.) are deadlocked over the name of our second daughter. We are torn between Susannah and Blythe as a sister to Phoebe. I think I really like the simple, chic feel of Blythe and I adore the symmetry it has visually with Phoebe, but I think Susannah is probably a prettier, easier name to wear. It also goes better with our last name, which we happen to share with a certain ex-football player who currently cohosts a popular morning talk show. The votes are evenly split between the two. Can you break the tie?


When I was tearing through the Anne Of Green Gables series I was losing interest by Anne of Ingleside or so. There were far fewer “scrapes” and a lot more of Anne being a loving gossip to the various peeps around the town. So I was delighted to find a book about Anne’s children, written expressly to keep people like me hooked on the series, I think. I may have a false sense of importance since my endless library renewals were not exactly making L.M. Montgomery rich.

But one of Anne’s daughters is described as “Blythe by name and blithe by nature”.  The easiest translation here is “happy-go-lucky”; a more serious permutation is having a disregard for the feelings/troubles of others. Of course you’re not naming your daughter the word “blithe”, but it’s one of those things where the meaning might or might not fit the child. 

For that reason, then, Susannah is the easier choice, but then of course it carries its own stuff – relative to Phoebe, it is certainly as familiar (or more so) but a little more pious and less playful. You can experiment with an h or no H, but fundamentally it’s a fussier, prettier name in the most traditional way than Phoebe.

Overall, then, to choose between them I go for Blythe. I don’t think it’s hard to wear, and as a sibling who went through this, you want them to be about equal in terms of names their friends have no idea how to spell on birthday party invitations.      

My sports knowledge is, as you may know, not the best, but I think this means there may be some alliteration between her first and last name. That’s never bothered me, but if it’s a bugaboo for you guys, then there’s your answer.

Additionally, you didn’t ask for alternatives. But if neither of these seems to fit quite the right way, with such an awesome name as Phoebe up front, how about Ramona?  You’ve heard it, but not on your street or in your playground? Or Elke?   

I suspect you’re going to stay with the one you love, and yes, you can have my blessing. Don’t I sound self-important?

Let me know!