Needing a housekeeper for himself and his five grown sons, widowed farmer Benjamin Geaiter hires a young woman he sees scrubbing a doorstep: He’s impressed by her muscular arms.
Nancy’s cooking and housekeeping skills soon have the sons vying for her favor. When she becomes pregnant, Benjamin confesses he’s the father.
The farm is the center of the Geaiter’s lives. They live and die on it; they measure success by its yields. Though the boys fear their father will leave the farm to the son of his old age, they love Joseph devotedly.
Thanks to his half-brothers, when Benjamin dies, Joseph would hardly have missed his father had Nancy not married a n’er-do-well she thought she could reform through her love.
As Nancy’s fortunes fall, the brothers take Joseph in. Together they get the farm back. When Joseph wants to marry and move to the city, his brothers find a way to keep him on the farm.
H. W. Freeman describes character through behavior. His details capture individuals with photographic insight. You’ll remember bits of Joseph and His Brethren long after you’ve forgotten the plot.Joseph and His Brethren
by H. W. Freeman
Henry Holt, 1929
My grade: B-