"A Wonderfully Different Story"
The Distant Past
Boy is gathered around a fire with a group of his friends.
He is a slave; one whose master is very cruel. He is forced
to steal and to wear a tight leather collar around his
so that he will not be tempted to eat any of his plunder.
Boy has recently come face to face with his own mortality.
For the first time he has witnessed the consequences of
being a thief. His choices are grim, death from starvation,
or beheading if he is caught.
The choice is not to be his. Without warning an enormous
presence blots out the night sky. The stars are no longer
visible as the giant wizard reaches out his hand,
depositing the entire group into his pocket. Boy's life
Our heroine, Maggie, has retreated under the covers of her
old bed in her mother's home. She's so distraught that she
doesn't even realize she's been there for nearly a month!
She's still reeling from the consequences of canceling her
wedding to her employer...No wedding, no job, and no
She's can't even explain to herself why she did it.
Enough is enough, Maggie is a grown woman, and her mother
really wants to sell the house. It's time for Maggie to get
her life back together. In an effort to shake her out of
her doldrums, Maggie's mom presents her with a wedding
gift. This is no ordinary gift. It is non-returnable,
having been given by a great aunt - who died fifty years
Maggie finally accepts that it's time to get up and face
life again, but in doing so she knocks the strange gift to
the floor. It appears to be a box full of dust. But when
Maggie turns away from the window she's opened to clear the
air, she finds a naked man in her bed. Now she knows she's
having a nervous breakdown!
Boy no longer has to fear for his life. He's a jinni. The
leather collar he once wore is now silver, but in essence
he is still a slave. The required fifty years has passed
and Boy has another master for whom he must grant three
He is now a grown man and has grown clever in the passing
years. He's learned to interpret his master's wishes in
ways meant to punish them for their greed and ill treatment
of him. If he wants to remain free of the box for any
length of time he must either please his new master or
Maggie is different from Boy's previous masters. She won't
make a serious wish. She doesn't even believe he's real!
She does request that he choose a name for himself. If
she's going to be talking to an imaginary man then at least
she has to have something to call him. He declares a
preference for the name Tom.
Maggie is stunned to find that others can see Tom too. Her
mother readily assumes that he's the entire explanation for
the cancelled wedding.
Tom persists with the notion that he's a jinni whose
obligation is to grant her wishes. Maggie decides that
perhaps he's the one who's lost his mind, or at least his
memory. She finds that she likes him and decides to help
him find out who he is so that he can leave. By the time
she comes to terms with who he really is, it's far too
late. She's lost her heart. By the time she makes her
first wish, Tom knows he could never use a wish to harm
her. Either way he'll have to face leaving her or losing
Naturally a relationship between the two could never work.
Maggie wants a normal life, security, and a family. She'll
age while Tom stays young. They're just too different and
she's afraid to take a chance. She seems to be the only
person in town who can't see beyond the obvious, to the man
inside. But there is still that one last wish...
This story was wonderfully different. Tom is very
powerful, but remains as innocent and sweet as a boy in
spite of it. He's also very sexy and often hilariously
funny. Maggie is cautious but caring, very human indeed.
She's not accustomed to spontaneity, always weighing the
smallest decision. Throw in an ex-fiancé who reappears long
enough to tempt Maggie with his normality, and you've got
fireworks. Can Maggie afford to risk her heart? Can she
afford not to? What will her final wish be? The ending is
as unpredictable as Tom himself. A recommended read.
Copyright © 2000
Reviewed by Leslie Tramposch
Posted September 7, 2001