Title: The Wishing Book of Barnaby Sloan
Author: Jenna Jones
Length: 7,900 words
Genre: m/m Contemporary Romance
Blurb: Nothing exciting happens to Barnaby Sloane. 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.
Review: Barnaby Sloan is called into his boss’ office after giving a tour to a group of children at the Natural History museum, only to find a surprise. It is Barnaby’s birthday and when he celebrates with his friends later that night, he’s delighted to see his present from his world-traveling aunt — a prayer book. For some reason, the wishes he wrote down seem to be coming true…
This is a cute story that does well within the time constraints, though still felt a little rushed to me. The basis of the story comes through, that is the validation Barnaby needs for his self-esteem. He’s rather put together for his age, but still unsure of himself and in the process of transition into an adult, especially in his career and academia, both of which are on the cusp of something bigger. I liked that the story approaches this in a rather light hearted manner.
Unfortunately, I never really felt like I knew anything at all about Liam, Barnaby’s crush and love interest. On the one hand, I understand that this story is supposed to be a prelude to a relationship; there isn’t time to develop more than that. On the other hand, I didn’t really feel like Liam was a three dimensional character. With so much of the focus on Barnaby himself, Liam seemed more of an older male caricature to me and their relationship brought up a lot of problems that while briefly recognized (at least one of them) were never explored at all.
I’ve liked this author in the past, but I’ve also had some difficulty getting into her longer work, so I was a little unsure about reading this story, though I liked the blurb. I was fairly happy with it, though, and it did a commendable job of consolidating a story to the required length (which some of the others have really failed at). So, in the end I was pleased, and I definitely enjoyed the story — it was something short, cute and uncomplicated when I needed it.