All through the book I was marvelling at the world created by Wen Spencer. In a wild west culture, women outnumber men by something like 20 to 1. Groups of sisters will become wives to a single husband, who is protected and coddled away from society, and has domestic duties: cooking, cleaning and raising the children! The main character (Jerin Whistler) is one such male, who spends a lot of time blushing prettily (hah). His role is like that of a virgin bride in a historical romance, but much like historical romances with a plucky heroine, he is unusual as his family teaches their boys to read, write, ride, pick locks, and shoot (not common skills among the menfolk). One day while his mothers and elder sisters are out, and only the younger sisters are about to protect the men, a stranger stumbles onto their land, pursued by river trash. She is one of the princesses, and because his younger sister fends off the attackers and Jerin leaves the house to carry her unconscious form to safety, he soon gets noticed by the royal family. I enjoyed the world immensely and found it delightful how well thought out the society, matriarchy, laws of inheritence and male/female roles were.
Very interesting role reversal novel. Actually listed under SF but really more fantasy.
The world (may or may not be earth - never says and not important)is ruled by women. One of the main reasons is because men (males) are very rare. So a male (a brother of several sisters) gets traded or sold to another family of sisters to be their group husband. Sounds more like a male fantasy, but it's really a femanist novel. The women have all the usual male roles and vice versa. That includes personalities and everything. Wen Spencer usually has strong female cahracters (like Tinker) but this is really a female novel.
Good action, with some "interesting" romantic twists. Even as a guy, I enjoyed it a lot. Somewhat slow to start, but very fast paced as the novel concludes.
Both men and women will enjoy this one.
This may be the first and only time that I'll say this, so everyone should take advantage of it-I was wrong, my mother was right. For years, my mother has been urging me to read fantasy and science fiction novels, to branch out of my safe cocoon of romance books and thrillers. She's touted the works of Wen Spencer as being some of the best, and yes, now that I've had the privilege of reading A BROTHER'S PRICE, I announce to the world that my mom was, as usual, correct.
Kudos to Ms. Spencer for getting me so worked up with this book that I'm now compelled to seek out her entire backlist! With A BROTHER'S PRICE, we enter a world in which it's not oil, gold, or money that have the highest monetary value, but men. Men, as in male children born to mothers-an event that happens so rarely that male offspring are often hidden from everyone but immediate family, and that many of these children are treated as a commodity, bought, sold, traded, and sometimes stolen outright.
For the women of Wen Spencer's make-believe world-which, by the way, reads as oh-so-probable-having a male child is cause for celebration, joy, and secrecy. Due to miscarriages, still births, and unexplained circumstances, women have no trouble giving birth to a multitude of female offspring, but a boy is a very rare occurrence indeed.
For Jerin Whistler, a boy who's near to coming of age and the dreadful thought of being sold into a marriage of his sisters' choosing, taking care of a multitude of younger siblings isn't enough of a life. Taking care of the family farm-when's he let out of his sisters' sight-isn't the kind of life he'd imagined for himself, either. But with so many siblings, the majority of whom are girls, Jerin sees no other life but allowing himself to be sold into marriage for a "brother's price," gaining his sisters monetary gain to continue their way of life.
When a mysterious young woman named Ren is left for dead in the wilderness of the Whistler property, Jerin knows that it's his duty to bring the woman to safety and ease her back to health. What a surprise it is when he discovers that the beautiful Ren, for whom he's quickly falling in love, is none other than Princess Rennsellaer. For Jerin's family, all of whom are well-meaning despite their sometimes crass attitudes, Jerin's rescue of a true-blooded Princess is the chance they've been waiting for. All they need to do is return Ren to her royal family, arrange for her marriage to Jerin, and the family will be set for life.
As most stories go, however, nothing is ever that simple. Jerin finds himself swept up into royal politics, where some women will stop at nothing to make sure that men are never allowed into positions of power. As Ren and Jerin grow more deeply in love, as tempers rise within the royal family, and as continued attempts to kidnap the Princess need to be thwarted, Jerin realizes that marrying for love might not be as easy as he'd hoped.
I loved this book! A twist on the typical royal princess who wants to wait for her "one true love," Wen Spencer's world of too many women and too few men is all too believable. Jerin is a hero that anyone would be proud of, not only for his bravery and devotion, but for his desire to do whatever it takes to keep those he loves safe.
To my mom, thanks again for being right! And to Ms. Spencer, thanks for such a fabulous book.
This book works on so many levels, it's hard to know where to start. On one hand, it's almost formula romance, with the slight twist that it's the boy who gets to be unusually plucky and courageous while his wives-to-be work to rescue him from danger. Oh, right, there's another little twist- Jerin is being wooed by no fewer than five princesses.
The story is fast-paced(as all of Wen Spencer's are) and gripping. I long for a sequel, or better still, a prequel done on the story of Jerin's kidnapped grandfather, Prince Alannon.
Very intersting Sci Fi premise. The males are the prized posessions of a world where females are in charge. Male children are rare and traded or sold to enhance the female family's standing or finances. Enjoyed the book. Very different.
I'm sorry to say it, but this was a disappointment. I've enjoyed other books by Spencer and now I'm glad I read them first because I wouldn't have bothered if this was my introduction to the author.
A Brother's Price is actually pretty well written, with lots of fun plot flourishes (conspiracies, explosives, royal assasinations, spycraft). But it seems like the author went to a lot of trouble to build a unique world and then didn't really use the setup.
The role reversal strategy (men are the possessed/repressed minority in this wild west world) could have been used to explore the concept of gender but wasn't. The reverse polygamy device could have been used to explore marriage or family structures but wasn't. Both just provide a bit of color, nothing more. And there's already plenty of color: this is effectively a Regency romance set at the Ponderosa.
The lead character is meant to be plucky and likeable but he's just annoying. The supporting characters promise to be interesting but they're never really explored.
I almost wish Spencer had just done this as a straight genre treatment. The strength of the plot twists might have yielded a good fantasy regency even with weak characters.
Dandy romp in a world of women where the rare son is protected and pampered by his sisters. This brother is a surprise. Liked it a lot.
This story in an alternate reality is a fascinating read.
This was an interesting book about the juxtaposition of dominant sex. Where male children are protected and used to trade as part of a family's wealth. As with all humans, some families use this responsibility wisely, while others consider their sons nothing more than Chattel. Is it fantasy or is it SCI-FI? Your guess is as good as mine! I really loved it. I have enjoyed all of Wen Spencer's books.
An intricate look at a society in which the 'balance of the sexes' is seriously skewed . . .
It isn't easy being the oldest boy in a house run by women--especially for Jerin Whistler. The grandmothers of his clan are descended from soldiers, spies, and thieves--and their ruthless skills kept their family alive during their time in the wilderness. Jerin's now afraid that he'll have to marry the girls next door, a fate he's convinced is worse than death. And it doesn't help when, in the process of a daring rescue, he falls in love with a princess who's as high above his station as it's possible to be.
Ren knows that Jerin is too far below her class to be an appropriate match for her and her royal sisters. But then she hears rumors of a long-held Whistler family secret--one that might provide a way for them to finally be together. Unfortunately, she still has four sisters to convince. And that's before Jerin even comes to the capital, where simmering political tensions will threaten not just their love, bur all their lives.
Good book - different viewpoint
Best gender-swapped victorian novel I've ever read. I'd love to see more done in this world.