Defense of Honor
Book 1, Haven Manor
This book can be downloaded and read in iBooks on your Mac or iOS device.
When Katherine "Kit" FitzGilbert turned her back on London society more than a decade ago, she determined never to set foot in a ballroom again. But when business takes her to London and she's forced to run for her life, she stumbles upon not only a glamorous ballroom but also Graham, Lord Wharton. What should have been a chance encounter becomes much more as Graham embarks on a search for his friend's missing sister and is convinced Kit knows more about the girl than she's telling.
After meeting Graham, Kit finds herself wishing things could have been different for the first time in her life, but what she wants can't matter. Long ago, she dedicated herself to helping women escape the same scorn that drove her from London and raising the innocent children caught in the crossfire. And as much as she desperately wishes to tell Graham everything, revealing the truth isn't worth putting him and everyone she loves in danger.
Can’t Wait for the Sequel
Genre: Historical romance
Subgenres: Inspirational; Regency
Heat Level: Sweet
This is the first book I’ve read by Kristi Ann Hunter, but it won’t be the last. She might be relatively new on the scene, but she has several titles to her credit. I didn’t realize I already had a couple of them in my TBR list until after I finished A Defense of Honor and looked up the author’s background for this review.
Before I get to the good stuff, first a disclaimer. I received an ARC copy of A Defense of Honor from Bethany House.
I am going to give A Defense of Honor one of my rare five stars. In my view, three means worthy effort but not my cup of tea, four is I liked it; five is I loved it. I never write reviews for anything I can’t at least give a three. On the other side of the spectrum, I’m not saying a five is on par with Middlemarch, Jane Eyre, or Pride and Prejudice. I’m not even saying the story was perfect. It simply means I loved it, and I think others will, too.
(Actually, I’ve only managed to read one of those aforementioned classics all the way through. The others weren’t my cup of tea.)
I hesitate categorizing this as “sweet.” It fits, but the storyline also deals with the underbelly of Regency society and how it dealt with unwed mothers. There’s a certain amount of grittiness to it that I found appealing. Given the time period and how horrendous it could be, I always wondered how so many Regency-era writers could set that aside. (If you’ve read either Fierce Convictions or Amazing Grace, you know what I mean.)
Nevertheless, Ms. Hunter does not lose sight of the fact that this is a romance. Her Heroine (Kit) and Hero (Graham) have a definite chemistry that manages to stay above the line for a sweet romance while not losing any of the sizzle we’re looking for when we pick up a historical romance novel. (Even sweet ones!)
The theme, as I mentioned before, has to do with Regency society’s attitudes and actions (or lack thereof) toward unwed mothers. Arguably, Kit is responsible for her best friend Daphne (a bit of a wallflower) finding herself in the family way. Not willing to abandon her friend, and feeling more than a bit of guilt about the whole situation, Kit joins Daphne when her father disowns her. With Kit’s dowry, which her father gave her with the promise that she disappear, they start a program rescuing women in a similar situation.
Most of the character growth is on Kit’s side. She has to learn to deal with her guilt and accept forgiveness. Her effort to save others also leads her to make questionable decisions. She has to learn to trust God and let him lead her in a different direction.
Those who aren’t familiar with the underlying theology of “trust God” might find this a bit of a “beam me up Scotty” sort of approach to the second half of the story, but let me translate the Christianese for a moment. In secular language, it can be seen as “the ends do not justify the means.” By making the choices she does, Kit has become what she’s been fighting against. That ought to resonate with believer and non-believer alike.
Graham’s growth is less dramatic. It’s more akin to what most people go through when they struggle to find their purpose. I won’t dwell on him, but let me just say he is an incredibly likeable man. And a real hero.
The Inspirational aspect of the story is high, but considerably higher in the second half of the story than the first. In fact, I was even thinking the story seemed more mainstream until I got to the black moment. I suppose that’s when many of us create our first real relationship God, so it shouldn’t surprise me that her characters waited until then as well.
The secondary characters in this story are perfect for a series. There were a couple of small twists that I expected, but which never happened. I’m hoping Ms. Hunter is saving those for the sequels.
Another Absolutely Splendid Novel from Kristi Ann Hunter!!!
Another absolutely splendid novel from Kristi Ann Hunter! I have been eagerly anticipating this first novel in the Haven Manor series since March when I read the prequel novella, A Search for Refuge! I knew A Defense of Honor was going to be fabulous and to say that I was not disappointed would be a humongous understatement, I LOVED THIS BOOK SO MUCH! This story grabbed hold of me on page one and would not let go! When I pick up a book by this author I know I'm in for a super fun, witty ride that somehow also manages to strengthen my faith, touch my heart, and make me think, and that is exactly what A Defense of Honor did! I will be thinking about this story for a long time to come. I loved Kit, Daphne, and Jess (I loved Jess in A Noble Masquerade, and I was thrilled to get to hang out with her again!) not to mention all the delightful children! And Graham, oh my word! What a noble, Godly, caring, lovable, hilarious, swoon-worthy hero. Kit, you're one lucky lady! These characters have become like dear friends to me and I so look forward to hanging out with them again!
I also absolutely loved watching Kit and Graham grow in their faith, the faith journey they took has challenged and inspired me in my own life, and was exactly what I needed to read at this point in my life!
I don't want to risk spoiling anything so I will just say that I absolutely adored every moment I spent reading this book, and hated to see it end, but a sigh of happiness escaped my lips when I turned the final page! A Defense of Honor is one of my favorite reads of 2018 so far, I definitely plan on rereading it in the future, and I can't wait for the rest of the series! Highly recommended, I would give it every star in the sky if I could, but alas I am forced to limit my rating to five stars! Seriously, read it, read it, READ IT, you will not be sorry!
Thank you to the author and publisher for sending me a copy of this book to help promote it. Which did not influence my review in any way. All thoughts and opinions are one hundred percent my own.