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Image courtesy of Popmatters

I am in a state of Sienfeld-esque perplexity. Have you stepped into a book store or library recently? Have you noticed the high percentage of new books about daughters and wives? There are a ton of books with ‘Someone’s Wife’ and ‘So-and-so’s Daughter’ in the title. It all started, as far as I can tell, from Sorbell’s Galileo’s Daughter and picked up speed with Niffenegger’s Time Traveler’s Wife. Now we seem to have reached the point where this defined identity is a must for books to get published – if you are working on a draft make sure it is about someone’s wife or daughter! I can’t vouch for it, but you may be able to get a mother or sister to work too! Have you noticed this pattern in titles?

The books tend to range from the historical to contemporary and from mysteries to biographies. Here is a cursory list of titles that caught my eye…

  • The Lighthouse Keeper’s Daughter
  • The Daughter of Xanadu
  • The Hangman’s Daughter
  • Apothecary’s Daughter
  • The Memory Keeper’s Daughter
  • The 19th Wife
  • The Tiger’s Wife
  • A Reliable Wife
  • The Prophet’s Wife

I haven’t read any of these books and don’t have an opinion to offer about their merit or lack of it – this is just a post about a pattern in naming books. I wonder what prompts a blitz of titles that are so similar. I think it also struck me as interesting because I recently added Elizabeth Gaskell’s Wives and Daughters to my reading list. Apparently, we are still pretty preoccupied with this theme!