I'm due with my first baby July 12th, and it's a girl! I want her middle name to be Cara after my sister. The first names we narrowed down are Lana, Olivia, and Lily. My husband and I are really favoring Lana at the moment, but I'm wondering if that name really goes with Cara. (the pronunciation isn't Care-uh, but Ca-ruh - the a sound as in cat). Our last name is Weber. My sister doesn't know yet I'm honoring her with the middle name, so I don't want to ask too many friends or family or they might spill the beans. I'd love input from you and your readers.
I think it depends on a few different things. First, are you pronouncing the La- of Lana more like the lla- of llama (so that Lana rhymes with Donna) or more like the la- of land (so that Lana rhymes with banana)? Now that I say both aloud, I think either one works with Cara in its own way: one by repeating/enforcing the vowel sound of Cara, the other by contrasting slightly with it. But some people might like one way and not the other. (Though I'm having a little trouble figuring out how Cara is pronounced. Is it like the word car, followed by an -ah/-uh sound?)
Secondly, is yours the sort of family where children are routinely called by first and middle names together? If so, it's more important that that names go together. If not, I consider the honor name to completely trump issues of whether the fit is perfect.
Thirdly, what do YOU think? The sound of two names together is highly subjective: one person may love a sound combination while another can hardly stand it, but neither person's opinion means the name objectively DOES or DOESN'T work. We could all vote on every name combination, and you would find us split on every single one, with some people saying "It's great! I love it!" and others saying "Dear me, no, that doesn't work AT ALL!"---so the important thing is whether you think the name works well enough to use, taking into account the considerable benefit of being able to use an honor name.
But in any case, my vote is that it's fine: if when you say it aloud you're not immediately thinking it's an obvious and impossible clash, then it's not too much of a clash for an honor name situation. And depending on how Lana and Cara are pronounced, I might in fact think they're wonderful together.