Title: The Simple Wild
Author: K.A. Tucker
Published: August 2018
Genre(s): Contemporary Fiction, Romance, Women’s Fiction
Summary: Calla Fletcher lives a busy and charmed life in Toronto, where she’s spent most of her life. She spends her days working at her office job, her nights going out clubbing with her best friend, and the in-between time working on her lifestyle blog, shopping, and enjoying her step-father’s morning lattes. It’s hard to believe that the first two years of her life, a time she can hardly recall, was spent in a remote Alaska town where her father, Wren, still lives. Calla’s mom left her dad when she was barely two after reaching the limit of what her city-girl sensibilities could handle in the rural, desolate, cold Alaska wild. Besides the location issues, Calla’s mom couldn’t handle the daily terror of wondering weather Wren would make it home from his dangerous job as an Alaskan bush pilot. Thus, Calla has come to know a life of the city and hasn’t spoken to her dad in 12 years after he let her down for the last time. When she receives a call from a lady friend of her dad’s informing her of his lung cancer diagnosis, Calla initially scoffs at the request for her to go see her dad. Her psychiatrist step-father, however, points out that recent events in her life have left her free to go and that she might regret not giving her dad another shot. This is how Calla finds herself in a two-seater plane with a horrible yeti of a man at the helm, trying to keep down her lunch as they make the connection from Anchorage to Bangor to see her estranged and ill father. Calla gets to know this strange place, the close-knit community, and her dad as she struggles not to make the same mistakes her parents made.
Why I Recommend: I haven’t loved other books by K.A. Tucker, but I still felt compelled to give this one a spin based on all of the rave reviews I have read. Obviously, since I am writing this up on my book recommendation blog, things turned out pretty well. The setting of this book is really unique, so that is the first thing that caught my imagination. I have never been to Alaska or really any place remote, so it was fascinating to read as Calla tried to navigate this foreign land. The next thing that gripped me was a satisfying beginning to what I knew would be a hate-to-love romance arc. It’s one of my favorite tropes, but often used and not always well-executed. The way K.A. Tucker wrote this version of the hate-to-love relationship was totally delightful and read like a slow-burn. And finally, the third thing that caught my heart was the relationship between Calla and her father. I felt angry at Wren on Calla’s behalf for how he did her wrong, but I couldn’t help but forgive him and learn to care for him right next to Calla. The characters in this town are also full of heart. It’s easy to understand how a town of people need to band together when they live in a place that is so simple, but so challenging. They focus on the things that matter most in life, each other and surviving, and focus less on material things and popular culture. It was refreshing just reading it vicariously through this fictional tale. This book really hit the mark for me, even making me cry a bit here and there. Although this is a romance, there is just really only once “steamy” part of this book, making the focus of this book on the story unlike many romance novels. I would call this mainly a contemporary fiction book with an undercurrent of romance. I also noticed on Goodreads that this book is the first in a series and the next one will be released in March 2020. I will definitely plan to tune into that to see where this story goes next. The ending of this book definitely leaves an interesting possibility and something that could make another compelling read.