From Les Miserables, Cosette has a rough backstory, yes, but the name with its French lilt is really beautiful as is the character herself.


The full name is Josephine – but the way it's shortened in Little Women is playful but dignified. It has strong associations with a young woman bursting with ambition and talent.


From Jane Austen's classic Sense and Sensibility, Elinor is the more realistic and prudent sister. In the end, her approach to life, while less glamorous, reveals a great treasury of emotions and thoughtfulness.


In Evelyn Waugh's Brideshead Revisited, Cordelia seems to be an innocent, naive character, but in the end her simple faith is revealed to be truly profound.


Dante's Divine Comedy is, at least in part, about Dante's spiritual journey to a pure, selfless form of love. That love is incarnated in the lovely eyes of his everlasting devotion, Beatrice.

Brett Ashley

The name Brett is common enough for men, but Hemingway's Lady Brett Ashley from The Sun Also Rises imparts to the name a certain feminine power and mystique.


J.D. Salinger's short story "For Esme – with Love and Squalor" recounts the tale of how a young girl meets and comforts a soldier in the midst of a psychological struggle. Esme is a self-confident, reflective young lady.