That's Not My Name
Yvonne Navarro
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Buy *That's Not My Name* online That's Not My Name

Yvonne Navarro
Bantam Books
432 pages
June 2000
rated 3 of 5 possible stars

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That’s Not My Name, Yvonne Navarro’s tenth published novel, is an exploration into the realms of reality and fiction – and what happens when they become intermingled.

Curled Up With a Good BookTwenty-one year old Nola Elidad started a new life for herself when she took her first job as a library clerk and, following a whirlwind romance, married her husband Alec. Three months after the marriage, Nola and Alec were comfortably ensconced in the familiar routine of their lives that, for the first time for both of them, included companionship and affection.

Until a trip to the grocery store changes everything. A man who insists that Nola is really his wife Stacey abducts Nola as she is leaving the Pik-Kwik, and locks Nola up in the basement of the home that he insists is theirs. Jesse Waite’s plan is simple – he will take care of Stacey during her “sickness” and gradually reintroduce her to elements of her real life until her memory is restored. Once Nola understands that Jesse has no intention of causing her physical harm, she undertakes a mission to prove Jesse wrong and reclaim her identity as Nola Elidad.

However, Nola’s belief in herself is continuously shaken as the coincidences pile up – how Stacey’s clothes (“Lovingly Handmade By Stacey”) fit Nola perfectly; the unaccounted-for gaps in Nola’s own memory of her childhood and family; Nola’s familiarity with the house and where items are stored in the kitchen; Jesse’s knowledge of Nola’s likes and dislikes; and especially the photos – photos with people familiar to Nola (although she cannot quite identify them) and wedding photos clearing depicting a younger Jesse and someone who looks exactly like Nola exchanging vows.

As Nola tries to piece together the puzzle that will answer her identity question, Alec enlists the services of Detective Lucas Conroy with the local police department to find his wife. Detective Conroy has no doubt that an abduction has taken place – an eyewitness account of a man and woman scuffling outside of the store along with a torn shopping bag and Nola’s shoe, both found in the parking lot – confirm Alec’s suspicions. But Detective Conroy’s investigation is stymied by several things: Alec’s complete lack of knowledge about his wife’s past, including family and friends; the fact that neither Nola’s doctor nor her employer knew her for more than a few months prior to her disappearance; and Conroy’s inability to access any information regarding Nola Frayne Elidad. Other than a high-school photo and Nola’s tough-as-nails mother’s account of Nola’s life, Nola may not have existed at all.

As days turn into weeks that turn into months, Alec, resigned to the fact that he may never see Nola again, finds comfort in a support group; Nola comes to understand that she is indeed Stacey Waite, Jesse’s wife of four years; and Detective Conroy continues to move from one dead-end clue to another, waiting for a break in the case. He finally receives that break when Nola, using the identification for Stacey Waite, writes a check at the same store she was abducted from. Armed with a name and address, Detective Conroy apprehends Jesse and “rescues” Nola, only to discover that Nola claims to be Stacey Waite.

As Detective Conroy unravels the question of Nola’s true identity, Nola/Stacey must confront the truth about who she is, her relationship with her husband(s), her childhood, and what the future will hold. That’s Not My Name takes you through twists and turns that leave you unable to put down the book – and captivates your attention until the very last page.

© 2001 by Linda Dunham for Curled Up With a Good Book

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