From the experts:
The long unfashionable Hortense is actually the French feminine form of Hortensia, the name of a strong, politically active early Roman woman. Hortense began to be used in the English-speaking world in the nineteenth century. Napoleon had a stepdaughter named Hortense, it was the name of one of the main characters in the film Secrets and Lies and is also associated with novelist Hortense Calisher. As unappealing as it might be to most American parents, Hortense is now Number 311 in France.