I was in quite the reading slump back in January, but there was still one, great read that came out of last month, and that was K.A. Tucker’s The Simple Wild.
About the Book
Calla Fletcher wasn’t even two when her mother took her and fled the Alaskan wild, unable to handle the isolation of the extreme, rural lifestyle, leaving behind Calla’s father, Wren Fletcher, in the process. Calla never looked back, and at twenty-six, a busy life in Toronto is all she knows. But when Calla learns that Wren’s days may be numbered, she knows that it’s time to make the long trip back to the remote frontier town where she was born.
She braves the roaming wildlife, the odd daylight hours, the exorbitant prices, and even the occasional—dear God—outhouse, all for the chance to connect with her father: a man who, despite his many faults, she can’t help but care for. While she struggles to adjust to this rugged environment, Jonah—the unkempt, obnoxious, and proud Alaskan pilot who helps keep her father’s charter plane company operational—can’t imagine calling anywhere else home. And he’s clearly waiting with one hand on the throttle to fly this city girl back to where she belongs, convinced that she’s too pampered to handle the wild.
Jonah is probably right, but Calla is determined to prove him wrong. Soon, she finds herself forming an unexpected bond with the burly pilot. As his undercurrent of disapproval dwindles, it’s replaced by friendship—or perhaps something deeper? But Calla is not in Alaska to stay and Jonah will never leave. It would be foolish of her to kindle a romance, to take the same path her parents tried—and failed at—years ago. It’s a simple truth that turns out to be not so simple after all (via Goodreads).
The Simple Wild has been on my radar for years now, and I’ve seen nothing but great reviews for it. So, needless to say, I was a bit hesitant to pick it up, as I don’t always jive well with the romances that everyone else seems to love (re: The Love Hypothesis). But this book ended up surprising me in the very best way.
I’ve read two other books by K.A. Tucker that were pretty forgettable, but I was in a trance while reading this one and I enjoyed every moment of it.
First, the romance was to die for, and crafted extremely well. Though the hate to love trope doesn’t always work for me, I absolutely loved how it played out here. Jonah is so mean to Calla when they first meet, but he was characterized so well that I felt like I understood his motivations even before they were revealed. Calla doesn’t know her father very well, but Jonah does, so he’s understandably on the defensive once she shows up. I also liked that their “hate” towards each other eventually transformed into their lighthearted pranking wars and evolved into something irreverent and more about them not wanting to be attracted to one another. There’s nothing that bugs me more than a hate to love that’s strung out and repetitive, but we get none of that here. Calla and Jonah’s dynamic felt so authentic to me, and I was fully rooting for them by the end.
I will say that I wouldn’t categorize this book as only a romance. This story was just as much about the romance as it was Calla’s budding relationship with her dad, and learning more about her parents’ past. It also follows Calla’s journey of her growing to love Alaska while reflecting on the person she used to be back in Toronto. This created a nice balance to the book, and added complexity and layers that really kept me reading. I was on edge listening to last 20 minutes of the audiobook and waiting for the HEA (happily ever after).
The Simple Wild also just really appealed to my personal taste. I love reading about stubborn heroes, small town settings, and fish out of water stories, and that’s exactly what we get here. Each of those elements was extremely well done, it was essentially the recipe for my perfect book.
My only gripe is that I wish we’d gotten more from the ending, but I do know that there’s an entire sequel that picks up right where we left off in this one, so I guess I can’t complain too much about that. I’ll just have to keep reading to see what happens next.
Overall, I’m so glad that I finally gave this one a try, because it ended up being way better than I expected, and I can totally see myself re-reading it. The masses were right about this one, The Simple Wild was a true delight.
Star scale: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.5 (four and half stars)
Grade scale: A-