Handyman - Claire Thompson Will Spencer is a College graduate with an MBA and has worked in a high pressure environment for a prestigious investment bank trading stocks. Will is gay and lived the fast life frequenting the Manhattan club scene enjoying the company of multiple lovers over the years. Soon after his doctor issued him a warning that he had best slow down or face burn out by age 35, Will’s boss drops dead in front of him. He decides to take a sabbatical, moves out of the city and buys a lovely old home in the suburbs that needs interior work.

Will hires Jack Crawford, a 44 year old carpenter and craftsman to renovate his kitchen. Jack is a widower, having lost his wife very suddenly 2 years previously. Jack has operated his one man renovation company for 20 years and earned a decent living for himself and his family. He married young and when Emma (his wife of 24 years) died he grieved and missed her terribly. After recovering from the initial shock of losing her, he pulls himself together and keeps busy with his renovation business, his love of carpentry and his home. Then he meets Will.

“Handyman” is a poignant story about two men who are at the crossroads in their lives, both lonely souls for different reasons, and how they take tentative first steps into a new relationship which then grows into a deep love. Will struggles with preconceived notions about entering into a committed relationship. Jack is unlike any of his previous lovers, he is 14 years Will’s senior, and was in a monogamous, heterosexual relationship with a woman for 24 years. Will also has to overcome some prejudice about Jack’s intellect and interests related to his job as a laborer. Unlike what the book synopsis alludes, Jack is not 'simple'. Will is surprised to discover Jack is brilliant, an intellectual, well read and moreover is an artisan when it comes to carpentry.

I felt it was certainly Jack who had more issues to deal with when he finds himself having deep feelings for another much younger man. He not only struggles with his sexual identity, but with his ability to trust Will, an extremely handsome man who could have (and has had) any lover he chooses. Further, Jack has 2 sons fairly close in age to Will, what will they think of him having a relationship with a man? Ms. Thompson relates Jack’s introspective thoughts superbly, I could feel his insecurities and fears as he walked the road to trust and love for Will.

As noted in the Samhain warning this is a hot erotic m/m novel. Apart from a limited encounter with a man who was a good friend as a youth, Jack’s sexual experience was with his wife and he is actually quite naive and shy. I found Will’s kindness and patience in nurturing Jack’s feelings for him, and in and sexually initiating Jack emotional and sweet.

If you enjoy a good erotic m/m story and haven’t already read “Handyman” you may like to give the novel a try. I’ve already read another of Ms. Thompson’s stories and will look forward to enjoying more in the future.

I have to comment about the cover art for this novel, I suppose the guy with the ‘tie’ could be Will, but that other guy, so not my visual of Jack. lol