Have you ever stumbled across a book recommendation on a podcast or on #bookstagram or on a page like this one, decided it sounded good, and Googled it… only to find that there’s a similar book by the same author, but the title is totally different? It’s weird, eh? The fact is that some books have more than one title, for any number of reasons. Here are seven books with more than one title, and the reason(s) why…
Murder In Mississippi by John Safran
AKA God’ll Cut You Down
John Safran explained the reason for the name change himself, on his now-defunct Sunday Night Safran radio program. While Murder In Mississippi sounds all exotic and mysterious here in Australia, apparently in the U.S. it’s “just like saying Murder In New South Wales” – that is to say, a boring-as-heck book title. He and his publishers agreed to change it for the American market, using the Johnny Cash lyric that Safran had used for an epigraph (“Run on for a long time / sooner or later God’ll cut you down”). Given that sales in the American market can mean the difference between royalty cheques and the bread line for Australian writers, it’s an understandable change. Read my full review of Murder In Mississippi here.
Bridgerton by Julia Quinn
AKA The Duke And I
While the most-watched Netflix series of all time focuses on the events of the first novel in Julia Quinn’s Regency romance series, The Duke And I, they used the name of the central family – Bridgerton – for the title instead. Even though the announcement of a second (and third, and fourth) series was treated like a huge surprise, the producers must have known they were on to a winner and that the plots of additional novels from the series would be featured in future. That, however, left Quinn’s publishers in a bit of a bind: because the series barely featured the title “The Duke And I” at all, fans were going into bookstores asking for Bridgerton and coming up empty handed. So, they’ve done a massive print run that features both on the cover, with Bridgerton being most prominent. Read my full review of Bridgerton: The Duke And I here.
The Recovery Of Rose Gold by Stephanie Wrobel
AKA Darling Rose Gold
To be honest, I’m still a bit flummoxed by this one. It’s called The Recovery Of Rose Gold in the Commonwealth (well, the U.K. and Australia at least), but Darling Rose Gold in the U.S. I can’t quite work it out, and my review trawling on every available platform hasn’t turned up any answers. Does the word “darling” simply have more appeal to American readers than the word “recovery”? Do they have different meanings? Not that I can divine! I can tell you that more than one U.S. reader has taken to a comments section to complain that they assumed The Recovery Of Rose Gold was a sequel to the edition they had, and were disappointed to discover otherwise, so maybe it wasn’t the best idea to give this book more than one title.
The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton
AKA The Seven 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle
Sometimes, the success of a book is all about timing. Unfortunately for Stuart Turton, the release of The Seven Deaths Of Evelyn Hardcastle coincided with the release of the eerily-similar title The Seven Husbands Of Evelyn Hugo, by acclaimed American author Taylor Jenkins Reid. Even more unfortunately, a bunch of review copies had already been sent out and the ball was well and truly rolling. Turton’s publishers came up with a solution: tweak the title just enough that it was distinct, but still recognisable. The only loser in the deal was Evelyn Hardcastle, who had to die an extra half-time.
The Rearranged Life of Oona Lockhart by Margarita Montimore
AKA Oona Out Of Order
Here’s another one that has different names in different regions: The Rearranged Life Of Oona Lockhart is sold under the title Oona Out Of Order in the U.S. The thing is, this time I actually get the change! The book is about Oona Lockhart (duh), who lives her life – you guessed it – out of order. Each year, she lives in a different chronology of her life: nineteen, then fifty-one, then… The “rearranged” title just doesn’t communicate it the same way! Plus, I’m a big fan of the alliteration of Oona Out Of Order, it rolls off the tongue beautifully.
The Stationery Shop of Tehran by Marjan Kamali
AKA The Stationery Shop
This one’s truly weird: I really can’t figure out when or why the title of The Stationery Shop of Tehran changed! It was recommended to me by an American book blogger who definitely called it by its full title (I went back and checked my notes!), so presumably it wasn’t changed for the different region. Goodreads lists both titles as different editions of the same book, with no helpful explanation in the blurb or comments. The author’s website lists it as The Stationery Shop, and I’ve found online book retailers with both versions. The only potential reason I can come up with makes me feel a bit gross; maybe an alternate title was published to circumvent the racist connotations some might have with the Middle East? It’s yucky, but it’s all I have!
Death At Intervals by José Saramago
AKA Death With Interruptions
Just one more different-name-in-different-regions book with more than one title, but this one has the additional layer of being a book in translation. Saramago wrote in Portugese, and Death At Intervals (or Death With Interruptions) was translated into English by Margaret Jull Costa three years later. I assumed for a long time that there had been another, different translation (which would account for the different title)… but it would seem not. Costa is the only one who’s been brave enough to take it on. Still, I’d imagine there were some very liberal edits for the U.S. audience if the titles are anything to go by. If you’ve come across a comparison of editions, please do let me know in the comments! Read my full review of Death At Intervals here.