The Simple Wild by K.A. Tucker
Published by Atria Books on August 7, 2018
Genres: Adult Fiction, Contemporary Romance, Romance
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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.
There is nothing better than a book you don’t want to end. K.A. Tucker never fails to disappoint and The Simple Wild is as captivating as it is breathtaking. Calla’s life is unraveling and at 26 she’s at a crossroads. Her stability is her mom and step father whom she lives with. Her estranged father lives in Alaska and she hasn’t seen him in 24 years, hasn’t spoken to him since she was 12. A Simple Wild is about a girl reconnecting with a place she’s never known, reconciling with her father, while trying not to fall for a man she can never have.
This story beautifully navigates the wounds left by divorce. The misunderstandings and confusion, the anger and disappointment when expectations aren’t met. The realization that sometimes love isn’t enough. That people are imperfect, personalities flawed, that parents make the wrong decisions even with the best intentions. The Simple Wild challenges you the reader to understand and then forgive, to find that redemption before it’s too late.
Calla wasn’t looking for love. What she found in Alaska was the polar opposite of what she knew. Crazy mixed up daylight hours, no cellphone signal, none of the conveniences she was used to back home. Jonah was exactly what her mother warned her about. He’s a bush pilot that lives for the risk and the challenge, a Sky Cowboy who pushes Calla to see the world in a different way. To come down from her ivory tower and explore a different way of life. The push and pull of their relationship was refreshing in what may otherwise have been a deeply emotional story. The banter between Calla and Jonah was hilarious and I found myself giggling at their antics.
The romantic in me loved the way this story played out. City girl meets small town guy, on the surface they have nothing in common, when in reality they’re more alike than they realize. The harsh reality of living in remote areas and the way people come together to make up a communal family. Sometimes blood doesn’t always have to mean family. I thought about that a lot while I was reading this book. How this tight knit community relied on each other for not just survival but friendship, and love. I truly didn’t want this story to end. The reason for Calla’s reconciliation with her dad was hard to read. I too was in the same situation, yet different. I too had to reconcile with my dad under the same circumstances. Needless to say I shed many many tears while reading this story. There is a strong message of forgiveness in The Simple Wild. Don’t waste opportunities to reconnect with the ones you love. Be open to new adventures. Fall in love and fight for it.
A Simple Wild is one of the best books I’ve read in 2018.
* I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader’s Copy of this book *