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The Handyman’s Reality

by Nick Poff


The story of handyman Ed Stephens and his mailman boyfriend Rick Benton continues in The Handyman’s Reality, the anticipated follow-up to The Handyman’s Dream.
When Rick decides to move in with Ed and begin a committed relationship, Ed believes his long-time dreams about the perfect man have come true. However, he quickly learns that the day-to-day reality of living with another man is not always the blissful fantasy he had imagined. Ed’s good friend and staunch supporter, Mrs. Hilda Penfield, complicates matters further with a stunning proposal for Ed and Rick. As they make their first major decision as a couple, Ed realizes that Rick’s vision of their life together isn’t an exact match of his own. In addition, Ed’s concerns about living openly with another man in Porterfield, Indiana—population nine thousand—continue to haunt him, and are brought into sharper focus after an unpleasant encounter with one of his clients.
Ed doesn’t lack for input and advice from his opinionated mother, Norma; his younger but more experienced sister, Laurie; his mouthy but lovable friend, Gordy; and the wise and wonderful Mrs. Penfield. Fortunately, Ed’s practicality and his desire to make his marriage with Rick work enable him to navigate the unexpected twists and turns of his new life with the grace and humor that endeared Ed to readers of The Handyman’s Dream.
With another soundtrack of timeless pop classics, author Nick Poff invites you to enjoy the continuing heartwarming journey of Ed and Rick as they make the transition from romantic courtship to the realities of a life together.

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What I like about this novel is that all the people here are just so ordinary and credible. There is nothing earth shattering but the plot is convincing, engaging, hearwarming and flows smoothly, therefore making it such an enjoyable read.

In the sequel, Ed and Rick are your ordinary Joes, (what could be more ordinary than a handyman and a mailman) trying to live as a married gay couple in a small and somewhat backward town. You would have thought this means a lot of gay bashing, as some writers would love to tragically portray. Not so for this writer who injects warmth and optimism into his story. The couple has friends, siblings and parents to support them though some like Rick's parents may not show it in the best way. And there is of course Mrs Penfield who is like their fairy godmother giving them the first boost in achieving their dreams.

The writer has done a marvelous job developing their lives as a "married" couple. No relationship is smooth sailing as Ed slowly emerges from romance to the reality of living with another man, with all the compromises and awkward moments. Ed realizes while he likes to take things slowly, Rick is more of a risk-taker which forces him into decisions he would have been reluctant to make. There are misunderstandings and arguments but they are committed to their marriage which is precious and worth keeping, more so when it is rare in the gay community they associate with.

All the side characters are well developed and I enjoy their interaction with the couple. Mrs Penfield and Ed's mother are such wise matriarchs. Their explosive friend Gordy finding the love of his life, does provide some funny moments. The sequel ended with unresolved questions which could have a major impact on the couple's next move. While I hope they will not move on I certainly will appreciate the writer's thoughts if they choose otherwise. Nick Poff has given us a wonderful series and I look forward to more on the handyman and his mailman

About the Author

Nick Poff enjoyed a long career in the radio industry until technology took all the fun out of it. That same technology, however, enabled him to pursue another dream -- writing and publishing stories about everyday gay men in the "flyover states" of the US. A widower, Nick lives in Fort Wayne, Indiana, where he currently has a day job in the transit industry to take care of the mortgage payments on a home in an historical early twentieth century neighborhood, and cover the Friskies expenses for his current feline companion, Jasper. The sixth volume in the HANDYMAN SERIES, THE HANDYMAN'S STORM, was published in early 2021. He hopes to continue the story with a new book in 2023.

His first novel, THE HANDYMAN'S DREAM, became the beginning of a series of books about gay handyman Ed Stephens. In this book, Ed meets his dream man, Rick Benton, in the autumn of 1980, and Ed enjoys all the exciting and beautiful aspects of falling in love. The story continues with THE HANDYMAN'S REALITY, and as the title implies, Ed learns about maintaining his relationship with his dream man. IN THE HANDYMAN'S PROMISE, Ed and Rick explore the meaning and boundaries of their commitment. In the fourth volume, THE HANDYMAN'S HISTORY, Ed reflects on his past as a way to come to terms with is present and the future. THE HANDYMAN'S SUMMER takes Ed and Rick on a journey of discovery regarding the challenges of being gay in the twentieth century. Ed and Rick wrap up the eighties with a periods of both sadness and optimism for the future in THE HANDYMAN'S STORM.

Nick enjoys reading, old pop music, and the sillier aspects of pop culture. His current passions include "The Great British Baking Show" on Netflix, "comfort" reruns on HULU, and discovering obscure 45 rpm gems from the late sixties and early seventies, not to mention all the Europop and Eurodisco records that didn't make it to the U.S. He also spends a good deal of time rolling his eyes at the political and societal madness of the world.