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HaBO: She Keeps His Last Name – Pennington

This HaBO comes from G.V., who is looking for this category romance:

It was either a Harlequin Presents or Mills and Boon contemporary romance, probably published between the 80s to the 2000s.

It features a divorced main couple. The heroine retains her married name, which I believe was Pennington.

There’s a long period of separation and then the story starts with him finding out that she’s using his last name and he wants her to change it.

Sadly, I don’t remember either of their first names, only that the hero wasn’t happy she kept the married surname.

Sound familiar?


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  1. 1
    Jill Q. says:

    Gah! I feel like there is an old school Silhouette Desire with this plot. One from the 80s where they had a circle cover and a solid red background. It was written by an author that was still writing or fairly well-known in the last 10 years or so b/c I was trawling their backlist on their website and came across that plot and thought it was interesting, but didn’t buy it or read it. The title was some play on words with names like “by any other name” or “in name only.”

    This may not be G.V.’s story, but this was about a man who was some sort of wilderness guide and he’s about to take on a new group but when he glances over the list, he realizes the one guest is his ex-wife that he married years ago (briefly) and he’s annoyed to realize she’d kept his name when it was such a short relationship.

    So far I’ve gone through the authors I could think of that I know I’ve liked – Anne McAllister, Day LeClaire, Gina Wilkins, Lass Small, Judith Arnold, Jennifer Greene, and nothing sounds quite right.

    Sorry if it’s not the right story, but I thought it sounded close enough that it was worth it throw out there.

  2. 2
    DiscoDollyDeb says:

    @Jill Q: I suspect we will discover that “man learns his ex-wife is still using his last name” was used as a plot device more than a few times in the category romance universe. I feel as if this might have been a Mira Lyn Kelly HP, but I don’t see anything featuring the name “Pennington.”

  3. 3
    Jill Q. says:

    @DiscoDollyDeb, very true! I feel like Harlequin used to really love estranged/separated married couples as a trope. I still see it, but not as much as I used to. Maybe because living together is much more socially acceptable?

  4. 4
    Catherine says:

    Could it be Kathleen Gilles Seidel’s The Same Last Name?

  5. 5
    Jill Q. says:

    @Catherine, I feel like that has a good chance of being mine b/c a lot of the details line up, but it doesn’t sound like G.V.’s unfortunately. Thanks for satisfying my curiosity at least :0)

  6. 6
    Jules says:

    I think this might be it. In general, I wasn’t reading romance in the 90s but somehow I ended up with this book. I read it a couple times and then tossed it out in a move. Years later I started reading romance and wondered about the book that was my introduction to the genre but couldn’t remember the title, author, or year of publication. I thought “name” was in the title and that I might recognize the cover so when I found a link to this site I dug through the lists until I found it!

  7. 7
    Belinda says:

    I am with Jules on this one. All in a Name is on my keepers shelf as one of the first romances I read from my mum’s collection.

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