See in particular Chapter 3, "Of Pseudonyms and Sentiment: Nora Roberts, J. D. Robb, and the Imperative Mood." The "Imperative Mood" refers to the "imperative mood of male command and prohibition" (61) demonstrated by male protagonists of romance. For example, there is discussion of the ethics/morality of one of the protagonists of Sanctuary (1997). Lennard states that
what makes Sanctuary of substantive interest [...] is that while its degree of failure is very unusual (and at surprising odds with the brisk and impressive plotting of the contemporaneous early Robbs), it is an exemplary nadir. Two other Roberts novels touched with Southern Gothic, written nearly a decade apart but neatly bracketing Sanctuary, show that she had before and would again challenge her genre's reliance on presenting untempered male imperative modality as sexually attractive and emotionally mature. (65)
After looking at some of Roberts' romances, the chapter then proceeds to examine the In Death series.