Book review: The Simple Wild

by smithstandard

The Simple Wild was everything I look for in a novel, but never knew I was searching for … if that makes some sort of sense.

The Plot

(Blurb taken from the back of 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.

The things I loved about the book …

For the sake of everyone involved, I am basically just going to touch on the two main characters, because let’s face it – these two are really all I care about. I mean yes, everyone else in it played their part, but I was so invested in Calla and Jonah’s relationship that I smashed the book in a couple of days whilst traipsing through Europe. And why was I so invested? Because the build-up of their relationship, the tension and the chemistry, got under my skin so much that I forgot I was reading fiction.

Their ups and downs was an enjoyable experience to see unfold. Whilst I was legitimately desperate for them to climb on top of each other by halfway through the book, I appreciated how well K.A Tucker made me wait for what I wanted and made it believable. When they finally stop the banter and get around each other, it was like fireworks and fist-pumps going off in my chest. I can’t remember the last time a book had a hold on me like this one.

As someone who is now reading and analysing nearly everything, it was beautiful to see how the author seamlessly unveiled the character development of Calla Fletcher. She made the transition from self-involved city girl, to a nicer human being who cared less about makeup and more about others, so subtly and so believably.  Even today I am still re-reading little sections wondering how the fuck this woman writes so beautifully.

I hadn’t even considered reading (or writing) romance novels until this one. Tucker has converted me.

The things I didn’t love …

Honestly, not that much. It is my favourite book in the world right now. I think maybe the only bummer moments I felt were when:

  • Calla’s mum Susan kind of came across as a bit of a spoilt brat into her adulthood.
  • A part of me resented that the characters were madly in love so quickly. It’s not real-life, and while I love my partner, I think romance books definitely give people unrealistic expectations of what love is like (still, this is why I read these books, cos they’re not real, so I know I’m clutching at straws here). But just keep that in mind.

Rating

The Simple Wild re-ignited my love for reading. I’d forgotten that this genre existed, that books could be written in a way that pulls you in and makes you laugh, cry, blush and laugh again. This book made me want to work on my own writing again and I feel an overwhelming sense of gratitude to my sister for sending me the book and to K.A. Tucker for bringing this book into existence. Hands down – would recommend.

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