Diana Palmer’s ‘Defender’ Is Heartbreaking and Hypnotic [REVIEW]

Woman thinking

Looking over your shoulder becomes a habit when the man two women should trust the most is the very one they fear in Diana Palmer’s Defender. (Photo by Marc Eliot, Flickr)

In New York Times bestselling novelist Diana Palmer’s latest novel, Defender, two sisters are living a lie. Daughters of one of the wealthiest men in Texas, their mansion is the facade that hides their darkest secrets from the rest of the world. But when a young FBI agent comes to town, will he be able to liberate them from the past before it is too late?

Diana Palmer's DEFENDER

HQN Books

In this provocative, timely novel, Palmer sheds light on the difficult issue of child abuse. She introduces us to Isabel Grayling, nicknamed Sari, and her sister Merrie. To those who don’t know them, they seem to live an idyllic life of privilege. However, this could not be farther from the truth.

Their father, Darwin Grayling, is described as a man who had ” beaten animals before. It was rumored that he’d beaten his wife. She died of a massive concussion, but Grayling swore that she’d fallen. Not many people…wanted to argue with a man who could buy and sell anybody in the state.” (8) Although Sari and Merrie don’t know what happened to their mother, they have their suspicions.

The sisters wear the bruises and scars of a lifetime of terror, inflicted by a man who is out of control. Sari wants to tell Paul Fiore, her father’s head of security, what is happening, but she doesn’t want to put him in danger. Nevertheless, Fiore already senses the unsettling undercurrents within the house, noticing that no one speaks because they realize Darwin uses hidden bugs and surveillance equipment to watch his household’s every move.

What Darwin doesn’t realize, however, is that every day the attraction between Sari and Paul deepens. Paul knows his employer will never let him marry Sari because the divide between their social classes is too wide. So, believing he is doing the right thing, Paul abruptly leaves Grayling’s employ. Little does he know that time cannot erase past decisions.

Three years later, Darwin Grayling faces federal charges for laundering money for the mob. When Paul returns, this time as the FBI agent assigned to Sari’s case, he finally learns the truth about the horrifying fate the two sisters faced upon his departure. Will Sari and Paul be able to find their way back to one another after so much heartache and lies?

With Defender, Palmer has crafted a heartbreaking and hypnotic story that deftly captures the terror and anguish millions of children in the United States face each year. As an author, she wields her words with precision and skill, pulling back the curtain on this poignant topic while making us care deeply about two women caught in the cross hairs of their father’s violent temper. Yet, as a romance writer, she also reminds us that love, time, tenderness and compassion are what helps each of us fully heal. Defender reminds us why we love Palmer’s work. It is both richly layered and insightful regarding all aspects of the human heart.

Diana Palmer

Diana Palmer
(Photo by Chris Standford)


Diana Palmer is one of the top 10 romance writers in America and the New York Times bestselling author of more than one hundred books, including Defender, Wyoming Ruggedand UntamedShe published her first book in 1979 and currently has more than 115 novels in print.

A Georgia native, Palmer lives in Cornelia with her husband, James Kyle. She graduated Summa Cum Laude from Piedmont College and continues to work on her master’s degree in history as time permits.

When she isn’t writing, Palmer enjoys gardening, knitting, crocheting, astronomy, archaeology, and animals. (She has dogs, cats, birds and lizards.) Visit her home on the Web at DianaPalmer.com.

By Diana Palmer
304 pgs. HQN Books. $26.99


About Heather Fink
Heather Fink is a writer, bibliophile and award-winning librarian who loves to introduce the next generation of readers to the wonderful world of books. She currently resides in Texas.

One Response to Diana Palmer’s ‘Defender’ Is Heartbreaking and Hypnotic [REVIEW]

  1. Jathan Fink says:

    Reblogged this on Jadeworks Entertainment and commented:

    Diana Palmer has been writing bestselling fiction for more than three decades. What’s her secret? She knows how to connect with her readers using flawed, multi-dimensional characters whose emotions mirror our own. With Defender, she taps into one of our deepest fears and proves once again why she is one of our favorite storytellers.

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