A Defense of Honor (Haven Manor)

Written by Kristi Ann Hunter
Review by Misty Urban

Bored with his easy, idle life, Graham, Viscount Wharton, follows the intriguing woman he spots in a London ballroom one night. The mystery leads him to a country manor, where he finds Kit FitzGilbert and two friends raising a dozen children they’ve taken off the hands of unwed mothers whose lives would otherwise be ruined. Graham enjoys playing with the children and sharing placid interludes with Kit until he learns she is the dreaded Governess, the vengeful figure who blackmails irresponsible fathers into supporting their offspring. Hurt by Graham’s self-righteous lectures about trusting God rather than her own wit and resources, Kit wonders how to end her self-inflicted penance and make peace with her past. Hunter’s soft, accomplished prose sketches the relationships between the cast-off women and children of Haven Manor with such tenderness that one wonders why Kit would want to shed her unconventional family for the ballrooms, jewels, and brittle hypocrisy of the Regency London she once fled. The ultimate preference for personal luxury, leisure, and the nuclear family rings hollow in a book that begins with so much heart for the more expansive virtues of charity, service, hard work, forgiveness, and protecting the innocent.