My Rating: 4 stars
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Age Category: New Adult/ Adult
Type of romance: MF
City girl Calla Fletcher attempts to reconnect with her estranged father, and unwittingly finds herself torn between her desire to return to the bustle of Toronto and a budding relationship with a rugged Alaskan pilot in this masterful new romance from acclaimed author K.A. Tucker.
Calla Fletcher was 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 her father reaches out to inform her that his days are numbered, Calla 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 new subarctic environment, Jonah—the quiet, brooding, and proud Alaskan pilot who keeps 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. As time passes, she unexpectedly finds herself forming a 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.
After reading plenty of rave reviews for The Simple Wild, I knew I had to experience this story for myself. I bought a copy of it and then promptly waited a long time before actually getting around to reading it. I really enjoyed this book.
The Simple Wild tells the story of Calla, who lives with her mom and stepdad in Toronto. One day she receives a phone call form a women named Agnes that her father is sick and whether she can come to Alaska. Calla has a lot of resentment and hurt feelings toward her father who never in the past 24 years came to visit her, but in the end she packs her bags and goes to Alaska. A trip that will change her life forever.
This book quickly grabbed my attention. Calla is in a bit of a bad situation at the start of the book when she first loses her job, then her boyfriend and then gets the blow of hearing her father whom she never met is sick. It’s a lot to deal with and I liked how these scenes where written. I could relate and feel what Calla was going through, but it never felt over the top or too much. I was really curious to see what would happen once she got to Alaska. There she meets Jonah who is rude and she can’t stand him. And she meets her father, her first meetings with him super awkward and they felt very realistic as well. And she has to figure out how to get to know her father and adjust to being in Alaska and dealing with the annoying Jonah.
My favorite part of this book was seeing Calla change in multiple ways throughout the story. Her getting to know her father, seeing Alaska and learning what really matters to her. Struggling with what to do next and how to handle things and seeing how she got through it all. The author has this pleasant writing style that had me wanting to keep reading to see what would happen next. The romance is a big part of the book, but it definitely wasn’t the main or sole focus. I enjoyed seeing Calla adjust to live in Alaska and finding her way and getting to know her father. The story took a few directions I hadn’t expected, but they were handled well and I thought how things got resolved felt very fitting and realistic.
One thing I struggled with was the romance. Jonah and Calla have a typical hate to love romance and add in an expiration date and you have two of my disliked tropes in one book. I guess it’s not too surprising I struggled with it. Jonah is totally rude to Calla at first and while we find out why that is and I could partly understand it, I also thought it was just too much. Both Calla and Jonah could be pretty judgmental toward the other and their way of life. Jonah thinks the simple way of living in Alaska is better and Calla with her city way of life and her luxury expectations and make up is wrong. It just irked me wrong how he acted and thought about Calla and how Calla again had her own share of those type of thoughts about Jonah and his way of life. There are some things both of them do that was supposed to be cute banter or funny practical jokes, but I thought they both went to far. With the haircut, the make-up and the luggage for example.
One the one hand I understand the message of how Jonah wanted to show Calla she didn’t need make-up or suitcases full of clothes to be beautiful. And while I like that thought and message, I thought he definitely went about it the wrong way. And that haircut scene had me so annoyed. It felt to me like they both try to shape the other to their ideal image and that just didn’t work for me, although they get better later on at accepting the other for who they are.
And they hardly ever have a real normal talk, just this sort of banter layered with insults and these weird practical jokes. It just didn’t work for me. And I never fully warmed up to their romance. I hope the next book will make me like them more now that they finally are together. I did like getting to know Jonah better and you definitely get a better feel for him as the story progresses and you can understand his behavior better. And it was clear how much they came to care about each other by the end, I just never fully felt it. The scene with the crash was probably the best one in terms of me feeling Calla’s feelings. And at the same time I am really curious about book 2 and how they will make things work as we don’t see them in a relationship a lot and most of what we see is them sleeping together. I also wish they would talk a bit more about things. It felt like they never really talk about things and maybe that’s just how they are, but it felt like they never addressed some things or took the time to work things through together.
What I did love about this book was the group of side characters and how the author makes me get a feel for the side characters and care about them even with only a few sentences at first. Simon probably is one of my favorite side characters. I liked how the author decided to make the step dad just as likable and real as other characters. I liked his sort of counseling role in Calla’s life and how with his psychology outlook he asked the right question to make her think. I also felt sorry for him as it was clear his wife still loved another and I can’t imagine what he went through in this book. Calla’s mother come to life as well and we learn a lot about her even with in how few scenes she is. How much she still loves Wren even though their relationship didn’t work out and it was just sad to see. I also liked what she did toward the end of the book. Then there is Agnes and Mabel. Agnes who cares for Wren in her own way and how accepting and caring she is. And Mabel was awesome too, it was clear she was close to Wren as well and her childlike wonder and behavior added some light to some scenes.
It was interesting to read a book mostly set in Alaska as I haven’t read many books that take place there. I liked how the author gave us a feel for the place. I sure learned a lot more about life there and it was fascinating to read about this place and how the people live. How different life is there.
To summarize: This book grabbed my attention from the start and I liked following Calla along on this journey that completely changed her. Seeing how Calla changes throughout the book ad seeing her deal with the things that come her way was one of my favorite parts of the book. I thought her character was well written and realistically done. I also really liked the side characters and how all of them come to life and feel like real people. I was especially fond of Simon, but Agnes, Mabel and Calla’s mom and dad are all interesting characters as well. One thing that didn’t fully work for me was the romance. Hate to love and romances with an expiration date are not tropes I usually care for and that’s only part of why I didn’t fully care for the romance. I thought both Calla and Jonah could be judgemental and rude to the other and I didn’t really like that type of behavior. I thought they went a bit too far with some of their behavior toward the other. By the end it was clear how much they care about one another and I look forward to book 2 and seeing more of them together as they only get together toward the end of this book. I liked the setting of Alaska and how the author showed us more about this place and how the people there live, it was interesting to read about. All in all I really enjoyed this one and I am looking forward to book 2.