Therese Beharrie’s Single Dads Club is a messy (in a good way) slow burn romance with two people trying to build new lives for themselves and be better than their parents, while prioritizing Rowan’s new born son.
Delilah and Rowan have each ended up in Sugarbush Bay after significant upheaval in their personal lives. A few years earlier, Delilah’s mother was convicted of bilking her middle class clients out of their life savings. Delilah fled to her older brother in Sugarbush Bay and has been working to rebuild herself and her life. She’s been made to feel welcome and accepted. When she sees Rowan, obviously new in town and struggling as a brand new father, she goes out of her way to help him. She shows him the same kindness people extended to her. She goes further and introduces him to her brother and his friends, all single fathers.
Rowan’s life blew up when the woman he had a one night stand with tells him that she is pregnant. They try to date, but it’s clear there is no future in a romantic relationship between them. They do decide to live together while they co-parent their infant. They move to Sugarbush Bay to be closer to his grandmother.
There is so much I love here. Beharrie has taken a common trope in romance, surprise baby, and then played with it. The object of Rowan’s affections is not the mother of his child, which let Beharrie, a relatively new mother herself, explore being a new parent without romanticizing it. Beharrie further blesses us by making Rowan and Mckenna committed co-parents. Further, she doesn’t demonize Mckenna for returning to work. Mckenna is not a hindrance to Rowan and Delilah’s relationship. She doesn’t need to be. They are very good at throwing up roadblocks themselves.
Delilah and Rowan were both emotionally neglected by their parents and don’t have good models for healthy, loving partnerships. Honesty and vulnerability don’t come easily, nor does trust in their own ability to be good people. While there is angst aplenty in watching them dance around their attraction and fear of that attraction, Beharrie also infuses them with humor.
I hope we get more of Sugarbush Bay in the future.
CW: emotional neglect, past unplanned pregnancy, anxiety around sex.
I received this as an advance reader copy from Montlake and NetGalley. My opinions are my own, freely and honestly given.