“Hi, I’m Margaret and I write at the intersection of art, culture, community and faith.”

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House of Honor, A Novel

The Godfather meets The Da Vinci Code, but with a redemptive twist.” —TARYN R. HUTCHISON, award-winning author of The Cold War Trilogy

Two Italian sons, one woman, linked by a masterpiece painting, are put to a test of loyalty and honor.

At the heart of this gripping tale is Orazio Bordoni, the wayward son of a construction magnate, living a reckless life like that of his artistic hero Caravaggio. He finds himself befriended by Nicolo Giotto, the devoted son of a powerful Sicilian mafia clan, who wants to uphold the honor of his family.

As the dark underbelly of the art world and the Vatican expose their true character, Orazio finds himself in a high stakes game where his loyalty is tested, honor is redefined, and the boundaries between life, love and art blur. He and Nicolo discover how far they’re willing to push those boundaries, even if it means sacrificing everything.

House of Honor is a pivotal story that weaves the threads of art history, the ruthless allure of the mafia and the enigmatic power of the Vatican into a riveting tale of betrayal, loyalty and love.

Behind the scenes of the heist: https://whostolethepainting.com/

Advance Praise for House of Honor

“Philbrick’s imagination blazed when she wrote this one. I was riveted.” 

—Award-winning author Cheryl Bostrom

“A must read for art enthusiasts.”

—N.Y. art curator, Stavroula Coulianidis

“The romance and intrigue will keep you turning the pages.”

—Award-winning author Rhona Weaver

“Can’t recommend highly enough. I look forward to seeing it adapted into a movie.”

—Oil painter, George Caffalio

“Like watching a Netflix series…left me shivering in the dark.”

—Bestselling author, Dee Brestin


—Artist and art educator, Michael J. Skura

“Philbrick’s characters and their exploits will keep readers riveted from beginning to end.”

—Award-winning author Linda MacKillop

“I’ve rarely read a (long) book in one sitting, but I did with House of Honor. A wonderful book!”

—Author Judy Douglass

Margaret’s Latest Musings

About Margaret

Margaret Ann Philbrick began growing things when her mother gave her a pansy garden to plant and tend as a five year old. She grew up in a small Illinois town with a busy street out front and a big river out back. Ranunculus is her favorite flower and T.S. Eliot, Luci Shaw and Gerard Manley Hopkins are her favorite poets. After several years working at Leo Burnett on advertising for Kellogg’s Pop-Tarts, Eggo Waffles and adult cereals, she stayed home with her three children and helped them plant their own gardens, do their homework, practice the piano…

Margaret graduated from Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas with a degree in English Literature. Afterward, she read English at Cambridge University, England with a concentration in the Modernist poets. In order to teach effectively she obtained a Masters Degree in Teaching and Education from National Louis University, Chicago. Charlie, her husband of thirty-four years is her greatest encourager and support. He is also her lawyer, at a very low rate. They met in Harry Caldwell’s Theories of Rhetorical Analysis class and they’ve been reading poetry to each other ever since. Margaret is exhilarated by the beginning of things like planting seeds in windowsill trays, researching a new novel or heading out on a trail run. Like George Bernard Shaw she hopes to be, “thoroughly used up when I die.”

Margaret retired from decades of teaching writing, literature and Classical Humanities when her first grandchild, Asher was born last July. In 2024, her daughter gave birth to identical twins, Morgan and Lawrence (Momo and Lolo for short) so she now finds herself writing on the road — somewhere between Nashville, St. Louis, Madison and Door County, WI. She is deeply grateful to all those who made her life as a writer and teacher possible, including her parents, her hard working husband and her writing mentor and teacher, Dr. Coleen Grissom at Trinity University. Of course, without the Lord’s help none of this would have happened.

Planting seeds in Hearts

I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God made it grow. 1 Corinthians 3:6