July 24, 2015

Please - No More of No Places for Ladies!

A while ago I wrote a post about repeated use of titles in books, with one of the worst offenders being “To the Ends of the Earth”, or slight variations thereof, so when I spotted this latest offering in the historical fiction genre by author Gill Paul, I immediately thought it must be a new edition of a book I’ve already read until I realised it’s not, but is a victim of here-we-go-again title syndrome!

(Please note there are no commercial links for any of these images and clicking on them will take you away from this page. You will have to do your own research if any are of interest.)

The novel primarily caught my eye because it has quite an attractive cover and is set during the Crimean War, which is an era of interest to me. Another novel about this campaign that was made really distinctive by both its memorable title and lovely cover is “The Rose of Sebastopol” by Katherine McMahon.

All authors know it takes skill, determination and a certain degree of courage or self-belief to write a book and get it out there, to be loved or picked apart by the reading public. It goes with the choice you make to be writer in the first place. You’ve created this special work that is unique in itself but also reflects who you are in some ways, so I am always surprised when authors don’t go that wee bit further to give their books an advantage in what is a saturated marketplace and not leave their precious work to get mixed up with someone elses.

Following this post are just some of the images of books I have found. The first four No Places for Lady variations are from books I own or have read and the rest are from Amazon or elsewhere.

Hurrah for Lucy Frost making her book about women pioneers of Australia a stand-out simply because of the inclusion of the word “nervous”.

A great compilation by Barbara Hodgson about women travellers.

Seems the Crimean War was definitely a place not for ladies. Excellent non-fiction by Helen Rappaport.

And then came the Boer War. Novel by Ann Harries.

There was even a movie in the 1940s (B-grade of course!) 

And here are just some of the others:


If you haven’t had enough yet, don’t forget there’s No Places for a Woman as well! (I’m not up to exploring No Places for Men at this stage, but apparently they are out there.)


Sarah Johnson said...

I completely agree that that title is beyond overused. It's become so commonplace that I hadn't remembered that Ann Harries had a book with that same title, and I own a copy! However, when it comes to titles, the publisher bears more responsibility than the author. I've often seen a title changed (to a mutually agreed upon 2nd or 3rd choice, perhaps) from the author's original intent, in an attempt to make the book more saleable. Many unique, memorable titles fall by the wayside in order to get certain keywords in there (like Queen, Daughter, etc) that supposedly catch readers' attention and let them know the book is female-focused.

The Rose of Sebastopol (which I loved) and Gill Paul's novel have surface similarities due to the initial premise, but the stories turn out to be very different. The problem is that there aren't enough historical novels set during the Crimean War!

Regina of Arbeia said...

Thanks, Sarah, for the comments! Interesting what you say about the publishers being the culprits and authors often have little say. It would be an interesting exercise to research some of the memorable titles that never made it. I suspect it's the case with movies too.