IN SHEEP'S CLOTHING
Trudy Bell has lived a hard life. Her mother died when she was young, her only brother was killed in a car accident and Trudy works long hours at her father's liquor store. Plus, James, her fiancé of 10 years, takes her for granted. Then, on her last day at the store, she is robbed and sexually assaulted. But Trudy has an open heart. She has lived an honest, honorable life.
Determined to get a different job before she settles down permanently with James, she becomes a secretary at a travel agency. A mixed group of office workers provides interest and perspective in her life, and her relationship with one, Ann Oliver, changes her. Ann is unpleasant but fascinating, and before long Trudy starts to become more like her.
Monroe's psychological study centers on a woman who tries to become someone else, with almost tragic results. The theme of identity theft is serious, and Trudy is a woman making a lot of bad choices. But somehow she is a sympathetic person who deserves to survive and come out ahead. Loosely plotted, the story is organized more around theme than action, which slows the pace. (Sep., 336 pp., $24.00)