Author: K.A. Tucker
Publisher: Atria, Simon and Schuster
Publication date: August 7th 2018
Target Audience: Adult
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Find It: Goodreads
Buy It: Amazon|B&N|Book Depository
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.
“Oh my God. Is this for real?” I blurt out, gaping at the tiny yellow-and-orange thing. A toy plane, more wings than body.
Billy looks back to smile at me. “What do you mean?” “I mean, there isn’t even a seat for me!”
“Yeah there is. It’s behind the pilot. Hey, Jonah!” Billy hollers in between his laughter, at the man whose broad back is to us while he fusses with something on the propeller. “I think you’ve got a nervous flyer!”
“Fantastic,” the man grumbles in a deep baritone voice, tossing a tool into a bag on the ground beside his feet before he turns with obvious reluctance to face us.
Diana would have a field day with this one, I note, taking in the thick, shaggy, ash-blond beard that covers the bottom half of his face, jutting out at all angles. Between that, the reflective aviators, and the black USAF baseball cap that’s pulled low over his forehead, I can’t see his face. I can’t even guess at his age.
And he’s big. Even in my three-inch heels, he towers over me. It’s hard to tell exactly how bulky he is beneath that checkered emerald-green and black jacket, but his wide shoulders make him look hulkish.
“Jonah … this is Calla Fletcher.” I can’t see Billy’s face from this angle, but I don’t miss the hidden meaning in the way he says that. An answer to a previous conversation. One I’d probably blush at if I overheard.
But I’m suitably distracted from wondering too much about any crude guy jokes, more focused on the plane that’s supposed to carry me through a mountain range and on the yeti who’s going to fly me there.
How the hell did he even fit into that plane?
I take a deep breath as I close the distance, trying to calm myself. To remind myself that it doesn’t matter, that this giant got here in that plane and he’ll get me back in that plane.
“Hey. Thanks for coming to get me.” “Aggie didn’t give me much choice.”
“I … uh …” I stumble over my tongue, searching for a suitable reaction to that response. And Aggie?
Jonah studies me from behind those impenetrable lenses for a long moment, and I get the distinct impression that he’s doing a head-to-toe once-over. “What are you? One-oh-five? One-ten?”
I feel my brows pop. “Excuse me?”
“How much do you weigh?” he says slowly, enunciating each word with irritation.
“Who asks that as soon as they meet someone?”
“Someone who wants to get his plane off the ground. I can’t take off if there’s too much weight, so I need to do the math.”
“Oh.” My cheeks heat with embarrassment, suddenly feeling stupid. Of course that’s why he’s asking.
“A hundred and thirty-five,” I mutter. I may be thin, but I’m muscular.
Jonah reaches into the plane and pulls out an empty black nylon track bag. He tosses it to me and I instinctively reach to catch it, dropping my purse in the process. “You can use that for your things.”
“What do you mean?” I frown at it and then at him. “My things are in these suitcases.”
“Those suitcases aren’t gonna fit in here. Billy, didn’t you tell her that already?”
Billy merely shrugs in answer, earning an annoyed head shake from Jonah.
“But … I can’t leave my things behind! There’s thousands of dollars’ worth here!” Clothes, shoes … I had to pay two hundred bucks in overweight fees to get them here!
“If you want to fly with me, you’ll have to,” Jonah counters, his arms folding over his wide chest as if getting ready to stand his ground.
I stare at my luggage with growing panic.
“I’m sure we’ll have a cargo plane flying to Bangor tomorrow. I’ll get the bags on the first one that can carry the extra weight,” Billy offers in a placating tone.
My shocked gaze drifts between the two of them. What choice do I have here? If I don’t go with Jonah now, I’ll have to find a hotel room and stay in Anchorage until I can get a regular flight. Agnes said it’s high season. Who knows how long that will take? “Why didn’t Agnes send you here in a bigger plane?” I grumble, not really looking for an answer.
“Because the bigger planes are out making money. Plus, no one knew you were planning on moving here.” His voice drips with sarcasm.
I’m quickly getting the impression that Jonah doesn’t want to be flying me anywhere.
And that he’s a giant a**hole.
I make a point of turning my back on him to face Billy. “Will my things be safe here?”
“I’ll guard them myself,” he promises, crossing a finger over his chest for added impact.
I have yet to read a K.A. Tucker book that I haven’t enjoyed and The Simple Wild was no exception. In fact, I’d dare say that The Simple Wild may be my favorite read of 2018 so far!I'd dare say that The Simple Wild by @kathleenatucker may be my favorite read of 2018 so far! Click To Tweet
There was not one single thing that I didn’t love about this read!
Calla though born in Alaska, has lived her whole life in Canada since her parents separated when she was two years old. When she’s suddenly contacted by a woman claiming that her father is ill, she decides to travel back to the Alaskan frontier to try to reconnect, make peace or perhaps just say farewell to the father she barely knows. Calla is a main character that is very easy to like and I loved following her journey.
The picture Tucker paints of life in a remote Alaskan town is beyond fascinating and makes a wonderful backdrop to the story she tells. So much of both Wren and Jonah’s characters are informed by the wilderness in which they thrive. And as Calla starts to understand and appreciate this lifestyle so she also starts to understand and appreciate these two very similar men.
Wren’s character is so simple yet so complicated at the same time that I had a hard time making my peace with him. Tucker’s amazing writing can be credited with the fact that by the end of the novel, I had forgiven him completely. There is a valuable lesson to be learned here about human nature and the power and peace of forgiveness both given and received.
Jonah and Calla were electric! And though I knew I perhaps should not have been rooting for them from day one…I could not help myself. I got sucked in along for the ride and quite a ride it was. From supporting characters to secondary plot lines to scenes of life on the frontier…The Simple Wild was a spectacular read that kept me alternately laughing, huffing in aggravation and crying throughout.
Don’t miss out on this one, I promise you’ll love it.