Goodreads: The Simple Wild
Publisher: Atria Books
Publication Date: 07 August 2018
Genre: Contemporary Romance, New Adult
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.
If you’re like a sweet enemies-to-lovers romance, with a bit of family drama & a few ‘finding yourself & learning about forgiveness’ moments, all set in a beautiful Alaska, then this is for you!
The Simple Wild was a heartwarming, beautifully romantic story set in the Alaskan wild. I don’t know what it is about me and Alaska, but I’ve been low key obsessed with (the idea of) it since I read a book set there a few years ago. Yes, some books romanticize it, and to an extent this was one, but I’m not blinded to the harsh reality Alaskan life. BUT I DIGRESS! I just wanted to say that this book made me fall even more in love with the simple, terrifying, harsh and beautiful place that is Alaska.
What can I say about The Simple Wild other than I loved it?! I’ve already shared how much I love the setting, but the characters and their stories also quickly grew on me. I’ll admit that I wasn’t Calla’s biggest fan at the start. She was a spoiled and entitled millennial who thought life didn’t exist without the internet, and who wouldn’t stop spouting about how expensive everything in her luggage was. It became eye-roll inducing at one point. That said, her character growth was so satisfying to witness! It wasn’t exactly a quick adjustment, but I loved that she slowly let her city girl go, and slowly found her place in the close-knit community in Bangor. If there’s one thing I learned from reading stories set in Alaska, it’s that community and the support you get from it, is a big part of surviving up there. It was great to see her finally realize that it is possible to survive without a full face of makeup and access to internet 24/7. I also enjoyed how her relationship with Wren, her father, also grew and healed. Calla felt a lot of resentment, insecurity and abandonment issues because of his decision to stay in Alaska and her childhood without him, but it was so heartwarming to see both of them let their guards down and be open with each other about their feelings. I’m so glad that they were able to build up their relationship and form a touching father-daughter bond, despite many years of not talking or seeing each other. Wren and Calla’s mother’s story was so bittersweet and heartbreaking.
Then we come to the love interest. Jonah was your typical grumpy mountain man, full with Yeti-styled fashion, with the biggest, warmest heart underneath! He was an absolute cinnamon roll and everyone who told me that I’d love him was SPOT ON! Damn those sky cowboys and their ability to steal your heart! I LOVED the relationship between Calla and Jonah! It was sweet and their progression from enemies-to-lovers was just SO GOOD. The build up was well-paced and wholly satisfying. I loved that Jonah wasn’t afraid to tell it like it is, no matter how difficult it was for Calla to hear. He had zero issues putting her in her place, especially at the start, but I liked that he was also able to admit to his faults if he did wrong. Their banter was hilarious and when she did *that thing* in revenge, I was breathless with laughter; especially because it also resulted in a great ice-breaking moment between Calla and Wren! On the heat scale, I would say this book is on a 2-3 out of 5. There was one mildly explicit sex scene, with other shorter steamier moments, but not much.
“Up here it’s about having enough food to eat, and enough heat to stay alive through the winter. It’s about survival, and enjoying the company of the people that surround us. It’s not about whose house is the biggest, or who has the nicest clothes, or the most money. We support each other because we’re all in this together. And people either like that way of life or they don’t…”
The reason why I took off half a star was because I felt the end was wrapped up so quickly! It obviously wasn’t an unpredictable story or ending, but I still wish that it was a little less abrupt. I also wished that we got to see Calla interact more with the Alaskan natives because of how big a role they play in certain characters’ (Jonah and Wren) love and respect for Alaska and those who live there! Overall, I really enjoyed this read. I couldn’t put it down and finished it in one (long) night! It was my first Tucker read but it won’t be my last and I’m keen to check out more of what she’s written.
Have you read The Simple Wild? Do you have a thing for Alaska too? 😂 Leave me a comment below and let’s chat!