Title: A Brother’s Price
Author: Wen Spencer
Release date: July 2005
In a world where male children are rare, a man is a valuable commodity- to be sold to the highest bidder…
It isn’t easy being the oldest boy in the 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 recue, 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 roayal 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, but all their lives…
I selected this book because I read another role reversal story years ago and fell in love with the idea. The story was flavored with wild west vs historical England. What fantastic world-building! In a world where most babies born were women, they’ve learned to band together and form families for survival…that included one husband for all the sisters to share.
Males were so rare, they needed to be protected and coddled. Instead of a dowry, women would pay for a husband and risk everything to keep him once they had him. I thought I would be put off by reading about so many women for one man, but I was surprised to find the story set-up worked. We traveled the countryside, visited castles, thwarted kidnappers, dodged bullets and cannon fodder, and so much more that I read the book in one sitting to find out what happened next.
The only draw back I could find was the men were a little too feminine and soft at times for my taste. Though Jerin was clever and resourceful, there was a definite lack of ’take-charge’ to him. It fits the story perfectly; I just expected a smidgen more. I enjoyed the grittiness of the book, the non-stop adventure, the gun-totting women willing to do anything for their man, and the unique writing that brought everything to life. I look forward to reading more from Wen Spencer in the future.