As something of a connoisseur of romance novels, I have read my share of simply bad books. I would not normally have expected one from Lindsey's heyday to arise in that category, but "Gentle Rogue" confounds all expectations and does just that. The book is well-written, the characters reasonably well-developed, and the plot no less plausible than is average; the reading does not drag too tediously, and there are numerous opportunities for really heart-wrenching romance; unfortunately, Lindsey fails to capitalize on any of these. The extreme popularity of this book bewilders me.Georgie, the heroine, is not generally unlikable. Her failure to realize that Captain Malory discerned her gender does nothing to recommend her intellect, and the way she childishly mimics Malory's habit of sarcasm, which "was not her forte," (among other things, e.g. a British accent, a manner of raising her eyebrow, and an entire style of humor) suggests childish infatuation. But for all that, her personality is not particularly offensive. Her naïve description of sexual arousal as a type of "nausea" is even endearing.This sentence summarizes my frustration with Georgie: "Her temper wanted to flare, but when James rested between her thighs, anger was the farthest thing from her mind." This sentiment is repeated with shocking frequency, no matter how he deliberately humiliates or hurts her. I understand the ease in rechanneling anger into lust, but Georgie's legitimate problems repeatedly disappear when James kisses her into submission. He refuses to let her see her own family and her response is to rage at her brothers for "kidnapping" her when they (very naturally) attempt to help her. He refuses to let her call herself his wife, and when she asks if that makes her his whore, he says yes. Her anger at this doesn't last more than a few sentences; instead she does an admirable job of proving him right. He, in effect, sexually manipulates her into being pliable and content, and… it works. With no apparent resentment or even realization on her part. Nothing explains her devotion to him, as he treats her like a valueless sex object for the duration of the novel. At some points it appears that she is near to calling him out on his blatant use and abuse of her, but nothing ever comes of it. Instead, she settles for the "tenderness" she senses when they make love, a cringingly classic female mistake. His final declaration of love is unconvincing, but she doesn't care—she begs to return to him even before it's issued—and she proceeds to gush that "he is her life" and further inflate his impossible ego. (This ego is, admittedly, nothing out of the ordinary; but the delight I take in these novels is that the female usually manages to take the hero down a peg. Georgie only lowers herself.)Making Georgie's ludicrous gullibility even more obvious is the comparison drawn to her brother-in-law and his wife. James mockingly refers to the way in which his brother's wife withheld sexual favors from him during a fight (occurring in a previous book), and can confidently assert that his own wife would never do such a thing. Tragically, he is right. Georgie's internal dialogues, depicted as between herself and "her conscience," are invariably lost by her conscience and won by some hedonistic part of herself with no practicality and less self-respect.In short, this book was difficult to finish; I had absolutely no desire for Georgie to have her foolishness unpunished, and I could not bear for James to have his misogyny and manipulativeness forever unchecked. If I were Georgie's brothers, I would have followed through on the threat to beat some sense into her. Perhaps she could have used it.