Title: The Wishing Book of Barnaby Sloan
Author: Jenna Jones
Publisher: Torquere Press
Length: 7,900 words
Genre: M/M Contemporary Romance
Heat: 3 – Mild and Sexy
Sex Frequency: 3 – Average Story to Sex
Keywords/Tags: Short Story, 2012 TQ Charity Sip, Birthday wishes
Rating: Pretty Good
Reviewed by Sadonna
Nothing exciting happens to Barnaby Sloan. He has a crush on the director of the museum where he volunteers, Liam Morrison, but has never allowed himself to believe it could become anything more. For his twenty-fifth birthday, Barnaby is given a leather-bound journal. Since it’s his birthday and people expect him to have wishes, Barnaby writes his wishes in the journal: that he could go to Egypt with his archaeologist aunt, that he could work at the museum permanently, and that he could share his life with Liam. It’s just a game until his wishes start coming true.
This is another enjoyable short story from the 2012 Torquere Charity Sip collection benefiting NOH8 and is only the second story I’ve read by this author.
Graduate student Barnaby Sloan is celebrating his 25th birthday but he isn’t aware that his colleagues at the museum where he is docent know that it’s his birthday. He’s a bit flustered at the surprise party that they throw for him as he doesn’t like being the center of attention. While he is trying to get through this celebration and making small talk with Liam, the museum director that he has a crush on, he blurts out an invitation to another birthday party at his apartment that evening which Liam accepts.
That evening Barnaby and his roommate are preparing for the party and he opens his gift from his aunt who happens to be an archaeologist in Egypt. The book is a beautiful leather bound journal with hieroglyphics of a prayer to Osiris on the cover. Opening the book, he writes down a few birthday wishes, including some things he’d like both personally and professionally.
People begin to arrive at the party including Liam, much to Barnaby’s surprise. Things are going well and then he received a phone call from his aunt in Egypt. His aunt has received additional funding for a dig and she invites Barnaby to join her. He is overwhelmed and extremely happy with this news. As the evening progresses, Barnaby and Liam enjoy some along time that includes some kissing and some discussion of long-term career plans – and maybe some possible personal plans too. Barnaby is beginning to think that maybe the birthday gift from his aunt has some sort of magical properties and that it might all be some sort of an illusion.
I really enjoyed this story. Barnaby is a really likable and unassuming character. He’s worked hard but he thinks that all of the luck that seems to be coming his way is really maybe a little too good to be true. It takes others to convince him that he deserves to have the good fortune that has suddenly come his way. Recommended for those who like a sweet and romantic story with a happy ending.