*I received a free copy of The Simple Wild from Atria Books via Netgalley. This has in no way influenced my voluntary review, which is honest and unbiased *The Simple Wild by K. A. Tucker
Published by Atria Books on 7 August 2018
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
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 Simple Wild is a strong story, with characters who desperately need to make amends, and to move forward instead of looking backwards.
The Simple Wild starts with a day Calla thinks is the worst day of her life – losing her job, going back home to her mom and step-dad. Then, going out, seeing her boyfriend all cozy with another woman. Only, this wasn’t the worst day – that was yet to come.
Because Calla’s mom didn’t enjoy living in the Alaskan wilderness, Calla grew up without a father. And as The Simple Wild unfolded, it was clear that the feeling of being abandoned and not important was very strong for Calla. Her father even stopped calling her after cancelling a trip at the very last minute. However, Calla still had a happy childhood, with her mom and her step-dad. And I found Simon’s dry humor to be so spot-on. I think he was my favorite character!
As I said, The Simple Wild is all about Calla and her relationships, and one evening, just after losing her job, she got a phone call. From one of her father’s neighbors. Letting her know her father was dying of cancer. And suddenly, not having a job was a good thing – she could go to Alaska and try to figure things out. Get to know him. See why he stayed there while he let his young daughter and wife move across the continent from him.
The whole journey Calla had to take in The Simple Wild is not really unusual. However, Tucker managed to bring something more to everything in this story. More feelings, more beauty, more understanding, more tears…
Calla started out as more than a little spoiled, but still a strong character, with a good head on her shoulders, and as she opened her heart a little bit, she learned more about herself, but also the people close to her.
Jonah really didn’t like Calla. Or at least, the idea of Calla – and he had no qualms about letting her know that.
Wren was Calla’s father, and he lived for his planes, Alaska, and the wilderness.
Susan was Calla’s mother, and she definitely still had some unresolved feelings where Wren was concerned.
Simon, Calla’s stepfather, was a psychiatrist, and I loved him! His dry wit. The way he’d answer a question with another, more pointed question, the obvious love he had for both Calla and Susan…
Writing style :
The Simple Wild is written in first person point of view, present tense. The prologue is from Susan’s perspective, and the rest of the story from Calla’s. Beautifully written, the inner thoughts Calla shared with the readers, as well as the dialogues and phone conversation brought all the characters to life.
I think the strongest feeling I had was a lingering sadness – for Calla who only got to know her father when it was almost too late. And for the fact that she felt so out of place in Alaska – and even when she did show up, Wren didn’t pay all that much attention to her in the beginning. Which also made me a little mad at him. There were also some very nice, warm feelings where Jonah was concerned, because even if he started out like a tough guy, he showed his more considerate side very quickly.
Reading this book contributed to these challenges: