REVIEW: Village Fool by Nathan Burgoine
Owen is only confident in two places: at work, supporting clients through IT woes, and when he’s sitting around a gaming table in the role of a smooth and charming bard. He’s never acted on the crush he’s had on his physiotherapist—and total cubcake—Toma. Even though they’re no longer patient and client, and his crush hasn’t dialed down in the slightest, Owen can’t figure out how to make a move.
When a friend decides to play a prank involving Owen’s contact list, Owen spends the morning of April Fools’ day inadvertently texting smooth and charming thoughts about Toma… to Toma himself.
By the time Owen discovers the prank, things are completely out of control. Discussions of thighs and awards for the World’s Best Chest have been handed out—not to mention they’ve set an accidental coffee date—and there’s no taking that sort of thing back. When this joke finally gets told, Owen’s convinced he’ll be the punchline, but with a little luck and some nudging from his friends, the last laugh might be the best of his life.
Dear Mr. Burgoine,
Yep, I’m so reading this series out of order but it works just fine. There is enough information about the main characters who move around the books, taking turns being MCs and SCs, that readers can (as I have) dive in at any point and not be lost.
The Little Village is set in Ottawa and is growing by friends all the time. There is a wonderful coffee shop called Bittersweets that serves as a meeting place for several gay men who are friends, backing each other, helping each other, and gathering for mean RPGs and board games. Owen was injured in a car crash in December when the other driver didn’t gently pump his brakes and carefully try to steer his car. Now after being released from the hospital, Owen needs to get physio and the local queer friendly gym is recommended by Nurse Practitioner Felix (MC of “Felix Navidad”).
Owen’s never been comfortable in a gym by physio Toma makes it easy, carefully working with Owen, asking permission to touch Owen’s shoulder before doing so, and generally being a cubcake with a soft looking beard and great thighs whom Owen would love to date if only Owen had the nerve to speak up. When Felix fiddles with Owen’s phone before Owen heads to the gym, what may come of it?
I’ve enjoyed all these little novella snacks and watching the Village friend circle grow. When Owen realizes that he’s smitten with his physio Toma, he tells his friends who urge him to Do Something but it’s going to take an April Fool’s Day joke to finally light that fire. Owen is the Bard during the RPGs that the friends do because when he’s texting, Owen is witty and fast with a quip. In person? Nah, he stumbles over his words.
To soothe any worries, Owen has finished his needed therapy sessions before any of this happens. When Owen realizes what has happened, he’s horrified and feels humiliated. Silas (hero of “Faux Ho Ho” and usually the Cleric) has to calm Owen down and remind him that 1) what Felix unintentionally instigated worked and 2) Owen isn’t the only person involved.
I like the quiet, gentle way the story plot works out and how much care everyone shows for each other. Love the way that the Queer Mural spurs Owen into taking a chance for a relationship he wants. Things end on a HFN with definite signs of interest and some hot kisses though nothing further than that and I’m off to buy the first novella (I said I was reading them out of order.) B