After the Scrum – Entered in the Romance Novel Contest

5 Stars

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Dahlia Donovan

In Dahlia Donovan’s After the Scrum, Caddock Stanford is a newly retired rugby star, forced out of the game due to an unfortunate injury. After his brother’s untimely death, he assumes custody of his four-year-old nephew, Devlin, and moves to the quaint village of Looe in Cornwall, England. Once there, he purchases an old pub and enlists the help of eccentric interior decorator Francis Keen to help him restore it. They both soon find more than they bargained for, however, as they become increasingly drawn to one another and, against all odds, fall in love. 

First of all, it needs to be said how hilariously adorable it is that Dahlia Donovan included a glossary for the British slang words used in the novel. So no worries, guys; if you’re concerned about what in the world a “scrum” is, there’s a handy little glossary for that (spoiler alert: it’s a rugby play). 

With that being said, After the Scrum was a surprisingly well-rounded romance novel. Obviously, the steamy romance was present; however, it didn’t feel unnatural or rushed, like in most romance novels. The characters were likeable and fairly complex, and the humor was abundant and well done. The storyline as a whole was charming and laid back; despite a few darker undertones in the characters’ pasts, their story together felt very lighthearted and sweet. There are few, if any, faults to find in this book. Dahlia Donovan crafted a lovely, overwhelmingly believable romance in After the Scrum that was a true joy to read.

Originally reviewed by the staff of

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